THE WALLACE As close as fiction can get to the facts!
The late and greatly missed Nigel Tranter (b.1909-d.2000) was not only one of Scotland's leading
historians, but was also the premier writer of Scottish historical biographical fiction. If you were to organise his books chronologically they would form an almost complete biographic history of Scotland from the earliest times to the Highland Clearances. I started to collect his books as they were published in early 1970s and acquired each new title until the last in 2007.
This fictionalised biography of William Wallace of Elderslie was written in 1975 and is still considered by most academics of Scottish history to be the work of fiction to come closest the historic facts. The author relies heavily upon meticulous research and, as with all his works is full of historical detail and minutiae giving his stories a feeling of truth and reality that very few authors of fiction ever achieve. This is the only work of fiction to my knowledge that is not based upon 'The Acts and Deeds of Sir William Wallace, Knight of Elderslie', a poem by the 15th Century bard Blind Harry thought to have been written around 1470, and long considered an almost total fiction.
My only small critique of this particular book is that as a work of fiction it sometimes is overly close to historical correctness. History does have long periods of boring nothingness between the more interesting events and in a couple of places Mr. Tranter's usual flowing prose slows down....but certainly not enough to spoil the enjoyment of this excellent novel.
Thank you Mr.Tranter for your contribution to literature, your prolific output which would keep any reader content for years, and your determination to bring readable Scottish history to the people.
You are sorely missed.