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Cover painting detail. Tarbert Castle by Thomas Miles Richardson © Bridgeman Art Library


Nigel Tranter Published by Hodder and Stoughton, 2000, ISBN 0 340 73927 4

The following details of the story are taken from the book jacket.

At the dawn of the 15th century, both Scotland and England were presided over by feeble monarchs and a divided Royal family. With the new King, Robert III, ailing and weak, his younger brother, the Earl of Fife, as an unscrupulous as he was ambitious, seized his chance to become a Regent and Governor of the realm. Scotland was plunged into chaos.

Sent to London to appease the English King, Richard II, and seek to negotiate a renewal of the historic peace treaty between England, Scotland and France, George the Cospatrick, 10th Earl of Dunbar and March, forged a lasting friendship with Richard's cousin, Henry of Bolingbroke, who was to become King Henry IV of England.

On Henry's accession to the throne a remarkable situation arose. Robert III's wife, Queen Arrabella, asked Earl Cospatrick to use his influence with the English King in order to avert civil war. And so it was that Cospatrick found himself seeking help from the Auld Enemy to right affairs in Scotland.

But Cospatrick's links with the Plantagenets gave rise to wild accusations, and in due course his son, George, Master of Dunbar, was destined to pay the price of his father's alleged treachery. The future of the ancient royal house of the Cospatrick's, descended from Malcolm III, King of Scots, was in grave in jeopardy.

Would the 11th Cospatrick, Earl of Dunbar and March, be the last of his line?