The Forest Laird
Being Scotch-Irish and fascinated with the history of Scotland, I was happy to have the opportunity to read and review Jack Whyte’s latest novel. The Forest Laird is a retrospective of the life of patriot William Wallace beginning with his death on August 24, 1305, and going back to his early boyhood. It is told in the first person by his cousin and closest friend, Father James Wallace, who wishes to reveal the real William Wallace to those who have been taught only legend and myth.
After many years of relative peace, King Alexander dies and the leadership of Scotland is up for grabs. The magnates or powerful leaders of the land implore King Edward of England to step in and negotiate the choice of a new king. Edward jumps at the opportunity to put into place his desire to take over this proud land. His gradual movement of English soldiery into the region begins to take a toll on the citizenry. When William can no longer face the injustice to his people, he takes action. With a handful of rebels, he moves to Selkirk Forest and undertakes forays into the towns to mete out his own justice. Soon his numbers grow, and dispossessed men and their families are living and thriving at his forest hideout. Reminiscent of Robin Hood, William soon has a price on his head. When his growing family takes priority in his life, he vows to fight no more, but tragic events transform him from noble patriot to a merciless outlaw with no thought in mind but to wipe the Scottish landscape free of English occupation for all time.
The history of Scotland is tragic and intriguing, and this story of William Wallace is the same. The balance of action, interesting characters, and history makes this an excellent read.
Early Medieval (to 1337)
Rebel: The Bravehearts Chronicles
512 (US), 464 (UK)