“Mother Law” is Dundee Law, the ancient hill overlooking Dundee and the Tay. The story starts in the present, when postman David Christie finds a strangely carved box in his garden, containing part of a parchment, thrown up by the redevelopment of the City Centre. The parchment is the focus of an ancient battle between the Picts and the People of Peace, who were in Scotland before the Picts, with an eerie blend of timeless people and their modern descendants. The box had been buried in 1651 when Cromwell’s General Monck besieged and then destroyed the city, and there are vivid flashbacks to that episode. A fleet of ships carrying away the loot was wrecked in the Tay estuary, and David’s new career as a boatman takes him over the wrecks. Malcolm Archibald’s skill as an expert historian and gripping story-teller is beautifully deployed, to make a highly readable tale. Malcolm won the 2005 Dundee Book Prize for his novel “Whales for the Wizard” (Polygon).