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Jacket illustration by Val Biro


©Nigel Tranter
Published by Hodder and Stoughton, 1977 ,
ISBN 0 340 20864 3
The action of this book is set Circa 1390 to Circa 1402

The text of this synopsis is taken from the bookjacket.

If Robert the Second's weaknesses stemmed from laziness, blindness and senility, his son Robert the Third's were more endemic, being born in him, and aided by piety and the kick of a Douglas horse. And Scotland ever needed a strong hand on the helm. The King's son and the King's brother were both possessed of strong hands, but that scarcely solved Scotland's problems at the turn of the 14th -15th century - since they pulled the helm in different directions, neither greatly concerned with the ship-of-state's course. Whilst the Douglases waited, biding their time.

Sir Jamie Douglas of Aberdour was, somewhat doubtfully, young Prince David Stewart's man, with a whole skeleton of bones to pick with the Earl Robert Stewart of Fife and Menteith, Governor of the Realm - an awkward and dangerous situation. Being married to the King's illegitimate sister held its own complications. But having a conscience was worse, and cost him dear in that company. Serving Stewart, like Mammon, demanded a single mind.

From the public carnage of the great clan fight on the North Inch of Perth to the turn-of-the century's revelries in the King's Park of Stirling, from the siege of Edinburgh Castle to the victory of Glen Arkaig, from the terrible death-by-starvation at Falkland to the disasterous field of Hamildon Hill, Jamie Douglas picked his hazardous way, while the power-struggle raged, the Scot's people paid, and the King prayed. England's King Richard the Second and Henry the Fourth were less religiously inclined and took a hand, inevitably.

In this, the second of his trilogy on the rise of the House of Stewart, Nigel Tranter paints a colourful and dramatic picture of a comparatively little known period's story with the blend of historical knowledge and personal enthusiasm which makes for the great story-telling expected by readers of " The Wallace " and " Lords of Misrule "