Scotland in the late 13th and early 14th centuries was firmly under the heel of England’s King Edward I, who was not called the Hammer of the Scots for nothing. Kingdom is the third book in a trilogy narrating the battles the Scots fought to regain their independence after the death of Alexander III left them without a clear heir to the Scottish throne. This final part of the story deals with the wilderness years after Robert Bruce’s coronation, through to the victory of Bannockburn in 1314, the subsequent ruling by the Pope recognising Bruce as the rightful King of Scotland, and the Treaty of Edinburgh, when Scotland was finally recognised as a sovereign state once more, 32 years after the war was begun by Edward I.
The intervening years between Bruce’s coronation and Bannockburn were brutal for the Scots, and Robyn Young has admirably described this time and the hardships suffered by both the supporters of Bruce and the common people. Most of the characters are the real people of the day, and their stories are well documented, but the few minor fictional characters blend in well with the story. Although the author has admitted to using some poetic licence to help the story along, the main theme is accurate enough.
Although I know the events of this struggle well, I still found it a fascinating book and would recommend both it and the first two in the series to all who are interested in this period of medieval history.