Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Book Review - Kingdom - Robyn Young

Kingdom is the last in Robyn's Insurection trilogy.  This series of books has been charting the life of Robert the Bruce.

By the time this book kicks off Robert The Bruce has murdered John Comyn (Edward I's puppet Scottish Vassel) at the monastry in Dumfries.  Bruce quickly claims the Scottish throne and begins to wage a war against the invading English.  Edward I, not known for is leniency against such uprisings throws his weight behind the war.

The book fictionalises the events from that point up to the Battle of Bannockburn (with a short couple of epilogues).  It is pretty good, a reasonable page turner keeping you interested although we all know the outcome of course which is true of any historical novel.  There is some tinkering with historical details, some due to lack of knowledge.  Early on in the campaign Bruce goes on the run and the author turns this into him building support in the Western Isles but there is no real solid evidence of this.  Some people's relationships are tweaked - an affair between Bruce's captured wife and her protector during her incarceration is purely fictional and some people and places are changed more for simplicity than anything else.  The whole Lancaster vs Edward II and the issue of Piers Gaveston is to a degree embellished - the author here assumes that they were gay lovers and the complexity of the barons revolt and subsequent murder of Gaveston is played down but... this is due to really the clock ticking the narration to get Edward II to Bannockburn with a disorderly bunch of knights distrustful of each other and tired and ill prepared.

All in all a good read but read the other two first to get you up to speed on the characters, I don't think it'll work in isolation.

 Overall a one thumbs up on the  FTUBRS*

* Furtheron Thumbs Up Book Review Scale - 
lowest is both thumbs down with a frown
two thumbs down, 
one thumb horizontal,
two thumbs horizontal, 
one thumb up, 
two thumbs up 
two thumbs up with a grin - very rarely awarded

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