The Siege of Caerlaverock

Last week was the launch of ‘The Siege of Caerlaverock’ written by Barbara Henderson and I had the amazing opportunity of joining her launch party on zoom which was very well organized and the atmosphere was really friendly. Barbara shared the research behind her wonderful book and how a visit to the Caerlaverock Castle inspired her to write it. Barbara’s research was extensive and based on photographs of the site and studying the ‘Herald Poem’ which described those powerful days in the year 1300.


12 year old Ada is a laundress of little consequence, but the new castle commander Brian de Berclay has his evil eye on her. Perhaps she shouldn’t have secretly fed the young prisoner in the tower.

But when the King of England crosses the border with an army over 3000 strong. Ada, her friend Godfrey and all at Caerlaverock suddenly find themselves under attack, with only 60 men for protection.

Soon, rocks and flaming arrows rain from the sky over Castle Caerlaverock – and Ada has a dangerous choice to make.

About the book

Barbara Henderson is a writer, a puppeteer and a drama teacher. Her writing is aimed towards children. This particular book is aimed at children 8-12 years old. The cover of the book is gorgeous and the illustrations were created by Sandra McGowan who represented each chapter perfectly with beautiful drawings.

The publisher of ‘The Siege of Caerlaverock’ is Cranachan which is an independent publisher.


Wow… personally this book has everything that I love, it has medieval history, knights, strong characters and a perfect villain.

The book is set in Caerlaverock Castle which is located in Scotland and it was well situated for defence which makes the story exciting and adventurous. The main character is Ada who is a young laundress who works really hard. She is a very loyal, strong and brave. Her father is the cook of the castle. Godfrey de Heron is a page boy and soon becomes Ada’s friend. They have a very close and well developed friendship and rely on each other which is a big part of the book and which older children can relate with. The villain of the story is Commander Brian de Berclay and he is the main antagonist who keeps a close eye on Ada and will do whatever he has to in order to get what he is after including torturing the castle prisoner.

This book is so great for middle school age children as they would be able to learn history from the medieval period thought this story. The background of what happened at Caerlaveock is there, the castle, knights, prisoners, King Edward I of England and his battle to impose his rule in Scotland and they day to day life on people at the time.  It is clear that the writer did a lot of research around the period and has brought it to us woven into a story which, while fictional, could had happened at the time and which children will enjoy to learn about. 

The book contains 25 short chapters and each is represented by gorgeous illustrations. There is a glossary which explains some of the words that children couldn’t understand and they are explain in a simple way and that will help them to understand history and the words used in the medieval period at the end and I think this is an amazing feature that I absolutely love. 

Barbara Henderson was a new author for me and my boys and she has written a few books which we will be getting them after reading this wonderful book.

You can find ‘The Siege of Caerlaverock’ in the Cranachan site which I am attaching here.

This book can be enjoyed by older children and technically by anyone who likes stories about the medieval period as the writting is really good. I really enjoyed it and will go back to re-read it in the future.

Thank you so much for reading this review.

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