The story of the stirring deeds of Robert the Bruce, Scotland's great patriotic hero and freedom fighter. This modern prose translation captures the vigour of the fourteenth-century original.
Robert the Bruce himself was famed for his courage, chivalry and humane treatment of those defeated. His military exploits are unmatched in Scottish history, but he was motivated not by personal ambition but by an inextinguishable love for freedom. He was accompanied in his great feats of arms by his faithful lieutenant, Sir James Douglas, the Black Douglas. Their friendship went beyond death. After the death of The Bruce, the Black Douglas carried his kings heart into battle against the Saracens.
Barbour wrote The Bruce during the second half of the fourteenth century, and it is one of the great achievements of Scots writing. The narrative, full of colourful personalities, carries the reader along from castle and court into the thick of battle. Ringing through it all is the theme of the importance of individual and national liberty. For too long this seminal work of Scottish literature has been available only to scholars able to read medieval Scots. This translation by Eyre-Todd into modern English prose (first published in 1907) fully captures the vigour and verve of the original. It is a vital book for everyone who cares about Scotland.
Their tales is epic, and frankly, would make a better movie than Braveheart. I love Wallace, and never would discount his part in Scotland's history and struggle to remain a country separate from England. However, he was a shooting star that lit the fires of rebellion; the hard role of forging Wallace's dream into a reality fell upon the shoulders of twenty-something Bruce and his right hand Jamie Douglas. Their struggle was longer and harder, for not only did Bruce have to fight Longshanks - and later his son Edward II, to see Scotland free - he had to fight the mighty clan Comyn who control nearly 2/3s of Scotland.
The language of Barbour's epic, translations edited by A.A.M. Duncan, is easy to read, and lends such wealth into seeing Robert the Bruce and James Douglas as men, not just heroes. It gives such strong imagery and insight into the medieval period of Scotland. This first accessible modern edition of Barbour's work and must for any lover of Scottish History's bookshelf.