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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars im left speechless by the excellent writing of Robert Low
Review:
As with book one im left speechless by the excellent writing of Robert Low, his obvious passion and love of the subject matter come across in ever page and every character, im quite jealous of the fact that he has obviously spent the last couple of years doing something he loves for a living, it must have almost seemed effortless.. (git).

The bit i...
Published on 15 Mar. 2012 by Parm

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the Oathsworn
I really like the Oathsworn series so although I struggled with the first book in the Kingdom I am trying the second but to be honest it's hard work. I think there is too much reality in the book too much intrigue and too many long term grudes.

It's probably very historically correct but ends up a bit dull.

Better than Lion Awakes but not a patch on...
Published 7 months ago by adamsson


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars im left speechless by the excellent writing of Robert Low, 15 Mar. 2012
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Lion at Bay (The Kingdom Series) (Hardcover)
Review:
As with book one im left speechless by the excellent writing of Robert Low, his obvious passion and love of the subject matter come across in ever page and every character, im quite jealous of the fact that he has obviously spent the last couple of years doing something he loves for a living, it must have almost seemed effortless.. (git).

The bit i have at the start and im sure other reader might struggle with is the Scottish "brogue", i found a similar experience with Julain Stockwins Kydd series, but if you give yourself over to it you find that you can make that mental switch and soon you find yourself thinking in the same "brogue" just for fun...or maybe that's just me?
As Lows books go and his character go i still think the Oathsworn is his best work, but the Bruce series is so well written and the plot so well constructed that it will be hard for any one to not love it.
Yes there are some Historical tweaks, but that's par for the course, this is FICTION, not a text book, and the flow is more important at times than the facts. As long as the story transports you to the time, and the period costume is right and the description of the locations is spot on so that you are not sat at home reading a book, you are there in the thick of it at the shoulder of the hero & villains, then that's a good book...and thats just what this book does.

Excellent work Mr Low.

Highly Recommended
(Parm)

Product Description (From back of book)
A NATION WILL FIGHT FOR ITS FREEDOM.

Scotland in turmoil. Robert Low at his best.

William Wallace fled to France after his defeat at the Battle of Falkirk, which ended his rebellion against the English King. He would have been slain at Falkirk but for the courage of Hal of Herdmanston, whose home was razed in reprisal by King Edward - but who has become a follower of the Earl of Carrick, known as the Bruce, now a friend of the English.

The Bruce is playing a dangerous game in submitting to Edward since his own ambition, fostered by his auld reprobate grandfather, is to be the King of Scotland. But bitter rivalry amongst the Scots nobility is as grave an obstacle to its independence as the forces of the English Edward Longshanks, and the Bruce has powerful rivals.

Wallace has returned home, though he still faces betrayal from his own. His loyalty is to the previous king, John Baliol, a prisoner of the Pope. Knights Templar, Cathar heretics, and a Curse laid on the Bruce's family all conspire against Robert, as well as Edward's forces. Murder and treachery will be crucial weapons in the long and bloody rise of the Bruce to his coronation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great and better than the first episode, 27 Feb. 2012
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JPS - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lion at Bay (The Kingdom Series) (Hardcover)
The first episode about Robert Bruce (The Lion Wakes) was good. This one is even better. This is partly because the "brogue", which was responsible for very mixed reviews of the previous episode, has been significantly toned down, although still present, and a glossary has even been provided for some terms. It also may have something to do with the gore, smells, squalor, poor hygiene and diseases, which are also still present, but also toned down. The result of this fine tuning is a much better balanced book where form does not distract from substance.

As usual with the author's books, the story is well told, engaging and "sounds and feels" real. One thing that I found particularly interesting was the author's descriptions of fights and battles, with fighters becoming quickly exhausted after half an hour (or less) of fighting and combattants being able to survive most blows, at least when armoured. Another interesting feature is that even "experienced" fighters such as our hero Hal seem to miss as often as they hit their target in fights. In other words, no "super-hero" and the author has clarly emphasized everything that may make the story feel "real". Another element which I very much appreciated was Law's description of "Longshanks" (aka Edward the First) and of his relationship with his much less capable and much weaker son, Edward II. It also felt very much "real", with the author having done some in-depth research and coming up with fully fleshed historical characters.

As to who betrayed William Wallace to the English, we will probably never know for sure. The author chose to have Bruce's henchman do it. This is plausible since Robert Bruce would clearly be one of the prime beneficiaries of Wallace's removal, a point that is well made in the book. Other candidates are possible but Bruce is probably one of the likeliest. This is also one of the book's strongpoints: there is no bias in favour of Robert Bruce who is presented with all his qualities, defects, naked ambition and lack of scruples. Even if he didn't contrive to betray Wallace, he was certainly capable of the deed. As for the murder of the Red Comyn, the author has chosen to make this into a spontaneous event, rather than an planned and organized assassination. His choice is very plausible since Bruce does not seem to have planned an uprising at this time. In all likelihood, he was forced into it after the murder because he had no other option left.

A couple of minor points, however. While the (fictional) love story between Isabel McDuff and Hal is interesting, I got a bit tired of Isabel being locked up and rescued "all the time" - although, to be fair, she has not been rescued from her cage by the time Volume 2 ends. This leads to my second (minor) gripe: as usual with series, the book tends to finish rather abruptly, leaving a number of elements unresolved.

A superb read worth four stars
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4.0 out of 5 stars The cut and thrust of the 13th Century, 29 Mar. 2012
This review is from: The Lion at Bay (The Kingdom Series) (Hardcover)
As with the Oathsworn,i thought that the second book in the series was the best and it looks as if this might be true with the Kingdom series,although i hope to be proved wrong when the third comes along. I really enjoyed The Lion Wakes,but for me the Lion at Bay is a bigger and stronger novel.Robert Low always brings to life his characters and he does so again as he paints a vivid picture of the 13th Century, you fill you are living in the time,in fact as i sat reading the chapters set in London ( i was sitting in Smithfield market at the time) i was sure i saw Kirkpatrick disappear down a side alley.Once again as a London boy i really enjoyed the language and the regional accents,in fact more so this time.For me this is Robert Low at his best and i hope it will not be long before the third book arrives,by the way i loved the listing of characters and the glossary at the back of the book.Also looking forward to the spin-off of the Oathsworn in October.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The chronicles of the North continue......, 7 April 2012
This review is from: The Lion at Bay (The Kingdom Series) (Hardcover)
Another beautifully written and thought provoking novel, the second of a series, further cementing Robert Low among the finest of writers from these isles. I sometimes think that reviews tend to be very concentrated on plot and would rather reviews be the impact of a novel on attitudes,thoughts and trains of thought.I find as with all Robert Low novels they leave me with a sense of wanting to know more or understand better how past deeds and times define who we are now. This novel is another fine example of another piece in the jigsaw of the history of our isles. The characters develop further and as ever the cracking story bristles with descriptive and lyrical episodes. I had no issue with the brogue language in the first novel and had no thoughts if there were more or less in this one, prefering to immerse myself in another time and another place when people may have spoken a little differently but acted very similar in all aspects of life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bruce, Longshanks and Hal of Herdmanston return..., 23 Feb. 2012
By 
FictionFan (Kirkintilloch, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Following on from The Lion Wakes, this book continues the story of Hal, laird of Herdmanston, caught up in the Bruce rebellion against Edward Longshanks.

Though fictionalised, the story is based on the actual events of the times and with a good degree of historical accuracy. Low relishes describing the horror of combat and in this bloody period of history he can and does give full rein to his imagination - each death, and there are many of them, is more gruesome than the last. Low is also a master at conveying the barbaric conditions of the time: the filth, the smells, the disease. As was true of the time, the lives of the fighting men are hard and often short, while the women are almost entirely subservient to their fathers or husbands. Mixed in with the fighting and politics is the continued story of Hal's love, Countess Isabel, who is based on a true character. Strong and wilful, Isabel has defied her powerful husband and he is now seeking revenge on both her and Hal.

Low writes well and powerfully and, while the book is laced with Scottish dialect, I feel this has been toned down quite a bit since the first book and should be more easily accessible to non-Scots. There is a glossary of Scots terms, though, if needed, and also a list of characters telling which are real and which fictional. I would suggest reading this after the book since it includes a potted history of some of the real characters which could be plot spoilers for anyone who doesn't know the ins and outs of the history of this period.

Overall, I found this a very enjoyable read - perhaps just a little bit too much fighting and gore for my personal taste, and as a Scot I missed the wonderful use of dialect and distinctive speech patterns of the first book though I understand the difficulties they caused some readers - but giving a real sense of the politics and personalities of the time, particularly Bruce and King Edward. I look forward to the next in the series. Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Lion at Bay, 20 Jan. 2013
Like the first book of the series, The Lion Wakes, this book gripped me from the beginning. Authenticity jumps off every page, from characterisation, how life was lived, what people then wore and ate, the weather, to the gut-wrenching battle scenes. Unlike some readers, I particularly loved the dialogue, especially the Lowland Scots dialect which reminded me of where I was brought up. There was no standard English spoken in those days, even in England; so the mixture of languages must be a true reflection of how well or otherwise people understood each other then. I can't wait for The Lion Rampant - the other two are brilliant reads!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another great result from Robert Low, 24 Oct. 2012
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The Kingdom Series is another cracker! Well done Robert!

The Lion at Bay is the second in the series about the Scottish Wars of Independence and the role that Hal of Herdmanston - a fictitious character amongst many real life heroes and villains. Like the Oathsworn Series, Low's use of the vernacular can make reading the book a bit difficult initially. I thoroughly recommend perseverance; it is worth it in the end!
Looking forward to the next episode already!

Keep up the good work!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read!, 13 May 2012
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This review is from: The Lion at Bay (The Kingdom Series) (Hardcover)
I have enjoyed Robert Low's books for a few years and have a big interest in this subject matter. The first book in the series took me a while to get in to as Mr Low uses authentic language and accent in his writing, which wa a touch difficult at the beginning. However, after having read that first book, the second was much easier to understand and I flew through it...great, action packed and now cant wait for the next one!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the Oathsworn, 8 Sept. 2014
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I really like the Oathsworn series so although I struggled with the first book in the Kingdom I am trying the second but to be honest it's hard work. I think there is too much reality in the book too much intrigue and too many long term grudes.

It's probably very historically correct but ends up a bit dull.

Better than Lion Awakes but not a patch on Orm the White Bear killer
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A good read ruined, 25 Dec. 2012
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The author is capable and has written much more enjoyable books than this. The story line is excellent but the book is ruined by the authors insistence on using dialecting speech in the text which is practically impossible to follow ! Suffice to say that IF the author had stuck to readable english and NOT insisted on french and broad scots accent I would NOT have thrown it away after struggling to understand it after many days going back and forth to try and make sense of it . In the words of my "old" school master Mr Robert Low must try harder !
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