Witch Wood is a 1927 novel written by the Scots author and politician John Buchan. It is set in the 17th century, at the time of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The protagonist, David Semphill, is a newly-ordained minister of the Church of Scotland, who has recently arrived in the parish of Woodilee, in the Scottish Borders.
Set against the religious struggles and civil wars of seventeenth century Scotland, John Buchan's Witch Wood is a gripping atmospheric tale in the spirit of Stevenson and Neil Munro.
As a moderate presbyterian minister, young David Sempill disputes with the extremists of his faith, as all around, the defeated remnants of Montrose's men are being harried and slaughtered.
There are still older conflicts to be faced however, symbolised by the presence of the Melanudrigall Wood, a last remnant of the ancient Caledonian forest. Here there is black magic to be uncovered, but also the more positive pre-Christian intimations of nature worship.
In such setting, and faced with the onset of the plague, David Sempill's struggle and eventual disappearance take on a strange and timeless aspect in what was John Buchan's own favourite among his many novels.