I agree with J Ballard that The Candlemass Road is the late George Macdonald Fraser's best book:
Amazon.com: The Candlemass Road: The Candlemass Road is by far George MacDonald Fraser's most powerful book. In a few short pages, Mr. Fraser sets the premise, the scene and the characters. While loaded with tense action sequences,this is primarily a study of character and of situational ethics. It is a study of a uncertain land in an uncertain time, told through the eyes of an aged, flock-less priest. The story is based on the horrors faced on a daily basis by the inhabitants of the Borderlands between Scotland and England at the end of the sixteenth century - the history of which was ably explored in Mr. Fraser's The Steel Bonnets. (If you enjoyed that book, you'll love this one.) The protagonist, young Lady Margaret Dacre, must use all of her wit and power to protect her folk from a band of Scots reivers - on the very day she returns to her ancestral seat after seventeen years at Court. Lady Margaret uses the tools available, and learns a valuable lesson about life on the borders, and the "custom of the country".
The previous reviewer felt that the story ended just when it was getting going. I could not disagree more strongly. The book ended because the story ended. One paragraph more would have been too much. The reader does not need to be told what happens next. The characters are fully developed; the action is intense; the interplay between the main characters is electric. This book grabbed me on page one, and left me shaking at the last word. This is a fabulous book. Buy it so Mr. Fraser will write more. Then read it. Then read it again. Five stars.
The story is Shane. I agree that the story ends at the right place for the book--any more would make it a worse book. But I do want to know what happens next...