When reading a book, a lot of factors go in to the overall experience a reader has from it. There is, of course, the story, which is the biggest part. The physical book itself, cover, size, paper type, and font play a part as well, which with the advent of eReaders, that is somewhat taken out of the mix. The last part is to consider is the flow of the sentences and punctuation.
All that being said, when I read Celtic Blood I was immediately drawn into the story. I'm not a fact checker, and if the history seems to make sense, that is good enough for me. So, whether this book is historically accurate, I can't say. The story itself is top notch, and I can tell the author is very passionate about the characters and the telling of their tale. If I were to rate just the story, I would give it 4 out of 5 stars. It kept me very interested and I didn't want to put it down. It's not one of those books where you can't wait to get to the next chapter so you can stop for a while. This is a book you could easily sit down and read all the way through. The tale could readily get bogged down in the warfare, the political jostling, or overly descriptive narrations about the Scottish landscape. Mr. Loftus doesn't succumb to any of these temptations. He stays true to the characters and guides you into and out of their lives in a most comfortable way. There is a little of everything in this book, romance, intrigue, swashbuckling, supernatural, history, and politics, and it all meshes so finely together.
As I stated before, the other factors involved in the reading experience are where this falls short and detracts from the overall enjoyment of this story. Not everyone makes it to the large publishers, even if they should. So with the convenience of print-on-demand, many excellent stories make it to the public. However, proof-reading and editing shouldn't be ignored. There were a lot of punctuation and sentence structure errors in this book which drug down the flow of the story quit a bit for me. Also, the table of contents doesn't match the actual page numbers for the chapters. The story is written with some parts feeling like poetry, some like a screenplay, and some like a novel. When they are all put together, it makes the reader focus on the reading more and not on the mental images that are normally conjured as you read. This book would really benefit from an impartial party to edit and correct the issues listed above. It's hard from an authors perspective to edit your own book, because you are so attached the the story, you can't experience it the way a new reader can.
I look forward to Mr. Loftus' next book, whether he heeds my advice or not, as he has a gift for telling a good tale.