A TALE OF ROBERT THE BRUCE
The Renegade is a blazing, brilliant, new historical adventure in Jack Whyte’s Guardians series. Packed with action, heroism, and vibrant historical detail, The Renegade recounts the life of Scotland’s greatest medieval king, Robert the Bruce. Bruce was one of the most famous warriors of his generation, eventually leading Scotland during the Wars of Scottish Independence against the Kingdom of England, most famously at the bloody Battle of Bannockburn. Today in Scotland, Bruce is revered as a national hero, but during his lifetime, the rebellious leader and guerrilla tactician was a thorn in Edward Plantagenet’s side, earning himself the nickname the Renegade.
Set in the 14th century, The Guardians series features three extraordinary guardians of medieval Scotland, the greatest heroes the country ever produced. The exploits and escapades, high ideals, and fierce patriotism of William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, and Sir James Douglas are the stuff of legends, and the soul and substance of these epic novels.
w! Ye wee brute!” Marjorie Bruce, Countess of Carrick, arched her back and pulled away from the infant suckling at her breast, but her youngest was teething and was not at all inclined to relinquish his hold on the nipple. The baby’s nursemaid sprang forward, her face twisting in sympathy as she took the baby out of its mother’s hands.
“Take him away, the wee cannibal,” the countess said, adjusting her bodice to cover her breast. “He’s finished, anyway, so he’ll sleep all afternoon, and I have to start getting ready. Mother of God, what a morning. Make sure you break his wind, or he’ll howl like a wolf. And send Allie in when ye leave. I’ll need her to help me, for Earl Robert should have been here by now and I hae no wish to greet him looking as though I’ve spent the night in the byre wi’ the kine. The King himself will be here come tomorrow and our Nicol should be bringing young Robert and Angus Mohr this afternoon, and God knows there’s much to be done ere any of them arrives, so hurry you up, and be sure the rest o’ the bairns are fed and clean.”
The nursemaid bobbed her head and hurried away, clutching the baby tenderly in her arms, and her mistress stood up with both hands on her hips and flexed her spine, back and forth. She was pregnant again, and though it had not yet begun to show, she was starting to feel it, aware of the familiar changes in her body. This child would be her eighth, God willing, and there were times when she was tempted to wonder, slightly ruefully, if there had ever been a time in her adult life when she had not been heavy with child. She would never complain about that, though, for Marjorie of Carrick believed, with all her being, that she had been put on God’s earth to mother a large and happy brood in a time when many women despaired of ever birthing and rearing a single child successfully. In that, she believed herself blessed. She had spent too long a time, earlier in her life, fearing that she might never mother a child. Now, thinking about that, she lowered herself into a firmly upholstered chair by the big stone fireplace and looked around the comfortably furnished family room on the second floor of the castle keep, making a mental list of all that needed to be done to make the place clean, presentable, and welcoming for her husband’s return. A discarded garment caught her eye, and she bent and scooped it up, a tiny knitted woollen cap, still retaining a trace of warmth from the baby’s head. She sat staring down at it, kneading it with her fingers and smiling to herself, wondering about the ways of God and the futility of trying to discover what He had in store.
As the sole heir to Carrick, her widowed father’s only child, Marjorie had been married, at the age of eleven, to a man fifteen years her senior, and had then been abandoned before she reached the age of puberty, when her headstrong husband rode off with Prince Edward of England to join the Christian armies bound for the Holy Land in the ill-fated Ninth Crusade. He had died at a place called Acre, killed in some pointless skirmish against the Mameluke Sultan Baibars—a name still incomprehensible to Marjorie—leaving her both virgin and widow at the age of fourteen.
Devastated by the news of her husband’s death, she had come close to despair over her situation, isolated and alone as she was, miles from anywhere in her father’s remote seaside fastness of Turnberry with little prospect of ever meeting anyone else who might take her to wife. Her father the earl was a fine man, but...
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“If James Michener is the past master of sweeping epic, then Jack Whyte may well be the future one.”
— Calgary Herald
“Whyte [is] a master at painting pictures on an epic-sized canvas.”
“To read Jack Whyte is to surrender to a storyteller of the old school ... Strong characterization, effective plotting, and excellent writing.”
— Quill & Quire