Bannockburn was far from the end for Robert Bruce and Scotland; not even the beginning of the end - only the end of the beginning. There remained fourteen years of struggle, savagery, heroism and treachery before the English could be brought to sit at a peace-table with their proclaimed rebels, and so to acknowledge Bruce as a sovereign king.
In these years of stress and fulfilment, Bruce's character burgeoned to its spendid flowering. The hero-king, moulded by sorrow, remorse and grievous sickness, equally with triumph, became the foremost prince of Christendom - despite continuing Papal excommunication. That the fighting now was done mainly deep in England, over the sea in Ireland and in the hearts of men - his own not the least - was none the less taxing for a sick man with the seeds of grim fate in his body, and the sin of murder on his conscience. But Elizabeth de Burgh was at his side again, after the long years of imprisonment, and a great love sustained them both.
Love, indeed, is the key to Robert the Bruce - his passionate love for his land and people, for his friends, his forgiveness for his enemies, and the love he engendered in others; for surely never did a king arouse such love and devotion in those around, him, in his lieutenants, as did he - even though, in the famous Declaration of Independence, at Arbroath in 1320, the same devoted comrades swore that they would put even their Lord Robert from them were he to fail in his adherence to the burning concept of freedom.
Freedom, then, with love - here is the theme and trumpet-call of this, the final volume of Nigel Tranter's triumphant trilogy about Robert the Bruce.