Mandragora (novel)

Mandragora (novel)

Mandragora (1994) by David McRobbie (ISBN 0749712651) is a contemporary novel with links to a historic shipwreck, the sinking of the Dunarling. Adam and Catriona have found a cache of four small dolls made from mandrake roots. The dolls were left in the cave by two other teenagers, James and Margaret, who had survived the wreck of the Dunarling. Transcribing a diary from that same voyage, Adam and Catriona learn the power of the cursed mandrake roots, power that destroyed the Dunarling in 1886 and that is resurfacing in the town of Dunarling today.

Plot summary

These dolls have been around since 1886. According to the novel, a ship called the Dunarling was carrying 85 passengers wanting to migrate from Scotland to South Australia, but also four dolls, each named and cursed: 'Swith' was cursed with fire (bleeze), 'Agley' with mischance, 'Smeddum' with foulness, and 'Snell' with the final destruction (otherwise referred to as All fa' doon!). These mandrake dolls were set upon the Dunarling by Marie Catherine de Lairgo because she is jealous and wants to get revenge, which she bids the mandrake dolls to do: she was the former 'wife' of one of the passengers, Adam Colquhoun.

100 years after the shipwreck of the Dunarling, two youngsters, Adam Hardy and Catriona Chisholm, discovered the dolls. Along with them were the school bullies, Richard Vernon and Mike Carter, but they did not seem to care much about the finding of Jamie Ramsay's cave, where the dolls were secretly hidden. Richard Vernon and Mike Carter then took two of the dolls.

Adam and Catriona form a bond with each other as time unfolds and Adam starts having visions of the past and realised that Catriona looks just like Margaret Colquhoun, the fiancée of Adam Colquhoun. Adam tracks down two of these dolls that were held by Mike Carter and Richard Vernon. These dolls made Mike and Richard insane, saying that they had failed their masters in destroying the town. The dolls possess Mike and Richard into setting fire to the hardware store, crashing a bus and also poisoning a water system with white ant killer. Tam Dubh, the fifth mandrake doll, warns Adam what is going to happen, so he manages to stop the last two events from completely unfolding. Adam then destroys all of the dolls by throwing them over a cliff into the ocean.