A.D. 1305, an hour before dawn, London's Smithfield prison: In a dank cell, the outlaw William Wallace waits to be executed at first light. He is visited by a Scottish priest who has come to hear his last confession - the confession of a life even more exciting, violent and astonishing than the legend that survived. From internationally best-selling author Jack Whyte comes a story of brutal battles and high adventure, of heroism and redemption - the story of William Wallace as the world has never heard it before.
©2010 Jack Whyte (P)2012 Hachette Digital
I wasn't sure why this title caught my attention but I always enjoy historical titles. The book tells the story of William Wallace's life , from his childhood, to his inevitable entry into the war with the English Monarchy and throws a different light onto many facets of the story we all think we know.
Whilst the content of the book is excellent it can sometimes get a bit difficult to remember the names of all of the scottish lords that are referred to. That said, it is still easy to follow the plot and the main characters surrounding Wallace are vivid, facinating and believable.
For me though, the highlight of the book was the narrator. After after a vey short space of time you knew who was talking to whom simply by recognising the voices of the individual charachters. I was amazed at the array of accents used in the book which undoubtedly brought it to life.
The story line may not jump out at you from the cover but anyone with the slightest lean towards historical fiction will, I think, enjoy this title. Go on, give it a try, you may learn something. I know I did.
Was expecting something along the lines of Bravehart but found it to be nothing like it whatsoever. I found the story to have to much politics and could do with more pace. Will I read the next instalment? not sure. Maybe.
Starts with the worst bit, just in case you didn't know how William Wallace died. Very nasty!
The story is told by his cousin, who we know has become a priest. This book follows them through from childhood to Wallace' emergence as a nationally recognised leader. It tells of the emergence of a movement that could be termed Nationalism, in a country that had no real concept of that. It's lords were often Norman French, holding lands in England for which they owed fealty to the English crown. Edward of England had subsumed Wales and could see no reason why Scotland shouldn't go the same way. The Scottish peasants had even fewer rights than their English counterparts. The Catholic Church was more likely to listen to the English king, with English bishops having the right to appoint even senior clergy.
Whyte's books can be very complicated, and he requires concentration of his readers, but they are well worth it. I enjoyed the audiobook, but there where times when I wanted to re-read something. Never mind. I can always listen to it again. Probably before I listen to the next volume!
Unusual and detailed approach to this story, I assume well researched and historically accurate (?) but tedious to listen to, I kept going with frequent stops and enjoyed the accents and fretted over the 'in hindsight' historical ruminations, the character of William Wallace lived, no doubt about that, it was a labour of love (the writing and the narration), but it was hard work to keep listening; and then we came to the end, the book was transformed, it was haunting, moving, brutal, painful, and so understandable.....and I felt I had to write this review and be honest.
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