The Forest Laird: A Tale of William Wallace

Jack Whyte. Tor, $25.99 (512p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3156-4
In this new take on the legend of Scottish rebel William Wallace, author Whyte (Order in Chaos) begins at the very beginning. The narrator, Wallace’s cousin Jamie, remembers him as an angry young orphan who grew up shaped by Ewen Scrymgeour, a once-outlawed archer, and Bishop Wishart of Glasgow, a kind but ruthless patriot who nurtured Wallace’s hatred of the English. Since little is known of Wallace as a historical figure and many of the stories about him conflict, Whyte uses all the myths in turn. First Wallace is a bereaved child abused by the English, then a lord’s son raised to lead men, then a happy outlaw in the greenwood with his beloved wife, Mirren. Although he is the book’s protagonist, Wallace himself is curiously remote, as if Whyte can’t bring himself to write about his childhood hero with much intimacy. Regardless, Whyte has produced a smart, no-nonsense work of historical fiction that will appeal to Scottish history buffs, readers of authors like Bernard Cornwell, and fans of Whyte’s Arthurian and Templar novels. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/02/2012
Release date: 02/14/2012
Paperback - 483 pages - 978-0-7653-3159-5
Ebook - 512 pages - 978-1-4299-2261-6
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