Release Date: 14/04/11
A nation will fight for its freedom. The first novel in a major new series as Robert Low moves from the Vikings to the making of Scotland. In the dying days of the 13th century, Scotland is in turmoil. The death of Alexander III has plunged the country into war, both with itself and with Edward I of England. Determined to bring the north under his control, Edward instead unleashes a Scottish rebellion which unites the many warring factions against him - though the old hatreds are not easily put aside. Sir Hal Sientcler of Herdmanston, a minor noble of Lothian, finds himself caught up in the chivalry and honour, as well as the betrayal and murder that form these desperate days. As the rebellion gathers pace, Sir Hal is thrust into the maelstrom of plot and counterplot which shapes the lives of the great and good in both realms - including rebel leaders William Wallace and Robert the Bruce - as well as neighbours who now find themselves on opposite sides of the battlefield. Hal makes a powerful enemy out of the Earl of Buchan, arch-rival of the Bruces, and swears revenge. But first he must survive battles at Stirling Brig and Falkirk; the treachery of rival factions; and guard a secret that Robert the Bruce would protect from the outside world at any cost. When the lion wakes, everyone must fear its fangs!
Historical Fiction is a thing of interest and whilst most people tend to stick to safe and secure periods where there’s a lot of information to draw from, a few authors take the brave step to dive into a world of confusion where history is written long after the principle players have passed. Such is the case in this new series (and the first book in it) by Rob Low as we get his interpretation of the First War of Independence (1296-1328) from the English Throne.
It’s definitely a title of interest and whilst I’m not as well versed in this period as a lot of the later ones it was a book that certainly captured my imagination. Add to this some wonderful twists, a whole set of interesting characters (both real and imagined) which when backed with a mature writing style and some great prose really made this period come to life for me.
The only real downside was the use of dialect and whilst I can understand it to a certain degree each use too me a bit to translate as well as to get the hang of. It can be a useful tool for an author but overdone it can lose the readers interest and as such, in my opinion, should be kept to a minimum. That said however, the book really was a joy to read and as such I’ll look forward to seeing Rob’s humanisation of the characters return in the next thrilling instalment.