I adore good books. Since I first learned to read those many years ago I’ve always been an avid reader. Sure, I’ve had my share of literature famines, in which I don’t read for some length of time, but it isn’t often that I haven’t at least one book that I’m reading through at a time. I just recently read through another book, actually. It was titled The Stone of Destiny, by Ian Hamilton, and I certainly found it to be a ‘page-turner’. It’s actually a non-fiction piece, written by the gentleman involved in the very circumstances the volume is written about.
Basically, the Stone of Destiny is a Scottish relic. Said to have been brought up from the Holy Lands, supposedly it is the stone which Jacob lay his head on while he dreamt of Angels ascending and descending ladders into heaven. Farfetched or not, the legend remains and is exactly what makes the Stone so special. Scottish kings were crowned over it for years and years, until an English king invaded Scotland and forcefully took possession of the stone. He had it brought back to England, where it sat in Westminster Abbey for a very long time.
Ian Hamilton was a Scottish youth, who wanted nothing more than to give Scotland back her pride and excite her people. He wanted the Scottish to realize how very special it was to be… well… Scottish. But what could a college student, barely scraping by with expenses and everyday living, do about all that? His people needed an icon to rally them. A symbol to boost their moral. The Stone of Destiny was just sitting in Westminster Abby gathering dust, when instead it could be exciting a people who had forgotten what it was to be who they were. So, with the help of a few friends, he constructed a fairly simple plan to regain the Stone. He would retake the Stone of Destiny, and return it to its rightful owners. The Scottish people deserved their icon, and he would give it to them.
And thus he and his companions attempted, on Christmas 1950, to break into Westminster Abby, bundle away the Stone, and somehow lug it all the way back to Scotland with them. It’s really an incredibly delightful tale, about youthful impulse and fearless patriotism. Ian Hamilton’s way of telling the story is wonderfully rich with a charming sense of humor and plenty of intrigue. I’ve found that often non-fiction work can be dry and dreary-some, but The Stone of Destiny is, instead, quite alluring and amusing. Personally, I found the entire thing enthralling. Not a bit of it did I consider dull or plodding. On several occasions I laughed out loud, either because of Mr. Hamilton’s clever wit, or the pure preposterousness of the tale. But as unbelievable as the story may prove, the factual evidences remain.
Personally, I found the book to be riveting, and certainly would recommend it to any who might like a humorous ‘fact is more unbelievable than fiction’ read. It really is an extraordinary tale, and why not hear it from the fellow who orchestrated and undertook these very happenings?