Sunday, June 12, 2016

Book 10 of 2016 -- The Guardian

I first met Jack Whyte's writing 20 years ago when (along with much of the rest of my family) I read through the Dream of Eagles cycle (his series positing how the Arthurian myth could have begun in post-Roman Britain). And then years later I read the three parts of his Templar trilogy. Then I have worked through this trilogy.  The first one was about the formation of William Wallace, the second was about the upbringing of Robert the Bruce, and then this one is about Andrew de Moray (or Murray), the partner of William Wallace at the Battle of Stirling Bridge -- which, by the way, looked NOTHING like how Mel Gibson portrayed it in his movie. [Which did surprise me a touch since I was expecting the trilogy to close with the Black Douglas, I am sure I had read that somewhere]

I really enjoy historical epic fiction. To be fair I really enjoy straight on history as well. But historical fiction in an interesting genre.  You can't outright contradict the historical record. But you can't just reiterate it either. Luckily official historical records often have lots of holes. Enter historical fiction, the chance to play "what if" and fill in the holes. It is sort of like the Jewish practice of midrash.

The first two books ended at roughly the same point in time. This book starts where they ended as we continue into the Scottish war of Independence (or rebellion if you follow the English logic of Edward).  And for a novel of Andrew Murray, there are about a dozen chapters before we actually cross north of the Forth and head up to Moray and meet the supposed protagonist.  Really, as with the book about Wallace, we are reading the account as told by Father James Wallace, cousin of William, seeing the events through his eyes.

I like Whyte's writing.  It serves as a nice escape from time to time.  I wonder what he might take on next....

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