Robert, Edward, William and sundry


I haven’t done much historical fiction reading this month, I have been reading other genres. This novel is definitely one for my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. This novel is set in Scotland at the turn of the 14th Century, the time of Edward I, the story being about Robert the Bruce.  

Renegade by Robyn Young is the second book in the trilogy called Insurrection.  Again I have read a book and I have failed to read the series in the correct order. 😦 In this case I really don’t think it matters that I haven’t read the first one.


From the book cover:

King Edward of England marches on Scotland, his campaign to unite the British Isles under one crown inspired by an Arthurian prophecy.  He has already crushed Wales: now he need only find the Staff of St Malachy, symbol of Irish nationhood, to achieve his implacable desire.

One man alone can thwart his plan.  Robert Bruce has sailed to Ireland, determined to find the Staff and keep it from Edward.  His own destiny – to fulfil his family’s claim to the throne of Scotland – burns in his mind.

But finding himself on the run, hunted by a relentless assassin, Robert seems a long way from his goal.  And there are other eyes on Scotland’s crown, old enemies gathering against him.

In this game of conquest, power and treachery, Robert finds that to survive he must first abandon everything he holds dear.  He was always prepared to die in battle – but what else must he sacrifice to keep his hopes alive?

This novel has brought history alive for me.  I have never been a keen reader of history but this particular book, probably because of the subject matter, seemed to make history really interesting.  I was enjoying it so much I felt sure the author must be fictionalising all of the story so I got out my copy of John Prebble‘s Lion in the North and read the relevant part to find that the author was indeed telling it as it happened.


Robyn Young has obviously romanticised some aspects of the story and included fictitious characters and interwoven the Arthurian legend but this only enhances the historical facts.  I loved how at the end of the novel she explains what she has done and also includes a bibliography for this extremely well researched historical novel.

My only criticism is that the novel jumps about a bit at the beginning with both time and characters but in hindsight I realise it has been done to fill in the background of the characters.  Apart from that small point I would have given this novel full marks.

If you want to learn a bit about Scottish history then this is the novel for you.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Going purely by the cover, it’s the sort of book I would never pick up but your review makes me think perhaps I should.

    1. suth2 says:

      I am interested to know why the cover of the book is one that you would never pick up.

      1. I suppose because it looks as if it’s about battles, which don’t really interest me, and going by the armour it looks as if it’s set too far back in history to catch my attention. I’m showing my prejudices here.

        1. On reflection, I retract that bit about it being set too far back in history, it’s more because I imagine the book will be filled with details of fighting. Any period in history can be interesting if the story grabs you.

        2. suth2 says:

          I will admit that I was drawn to the cover because of the flag!

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