I have been a bit slow recently with my chronological Nigel Tranter re-reading project. In part, although this book covers some of the most stirring events in Scottish history, it is also three books and over 1,000 pages.
The first book, The Steps to a Vacant Throne, deals with the period before Robert became King of Scots. Note, not King of Scotland, an important Scottish monarchial difference. Tranter takes a sympathetic approach to Robert's actions in this period, which, while conceding that he supported Edward I against the Scots, also has him as a supporter of Wallace. He even has him rescuing Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk. This history is contested, and some chroniclers have him fighting on Edward's side in this battle. On balance, he was probably not present on either side. Modern nationalism played no part in these struggles, as the landed elite in both countries (outwith the Highlands) largely came from the same Norman stock.
The second book, The Path of the Hero King, covers his accession to the throne after murdering his rival, Comyn in Dumfries church. He was caught napping in the Battle of Methven and was forced to flee to the Isles. Tranter doesn't avoid his romantic interlude with Christina of the Isles while his wife and family were imprisoned by Edward. She is a character in her own right, and I highly recommend a visit to her Castle Tioram in Moidart.
|Islesmen get stuck into English bowmen.|