Macbeth the King (Coronet Books) Paperback – 6 Jan 1994
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He has an amazingly broad grip of Scottish history (Daily Telegraph)
One of Scotland's most prolific and respected writers (The Times)
An accomplished writer of compelling and unforgettable historical novels (She magazine)
Through his imaginative dialogue, he provides a voice for Scotland's heroes (Scotland on Sunday)
Tranter's popularity lies in his knack of making historical events immediate and exciting (Historical Novels Review)
The 11th century tale of MacBeth mac Finlay, King of Scots: the amazing true story behind Shakespeare's playSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Nigel Tranter has put much meticulous research into this work, which most likely traces events close to how they really were. Nowhere do we read , in this book, about the vicious and bloodthirsty tyrant portrayed by Shakespeare.
MacBeth is here revealed as a strong and courageous ruler, who together with his beautiful young queen Gruoch (much maligned by Shakespeare as 'Lady MacBeth), are commited to the unity and freedom of Scotland from England, the Danes, the Roman Church and self-serving and arrogant nobles.
Together MacBeth and Gruoch rule justly and fairly, and MacBeth is helped by his half-brother the redoubtable Nordic Prince, Thorkill Forsterer, Earl of Orkney.
Duncan is revealed as not the benevolent and just king in the Shakespeare play, but a worthless and scheming coward, who MacBeth kills in battle.
The saga takes us all over Scotland, and to Norway, Denmark and Rome.
MacBeth's battle for the sovereignty and welfare of Scotland is brought to an end by Duncans' son Malcolm and the jealous Duncan MacDuff.
Interestingly MacDuff, in this volume, is not even a great warrior, and in the final chapter has MacBeth dispatched by a Norman knight, rather than fight him himself.
Obviously historical novels depend of imagination and deduction, as well as research, but a study of the subject would certainly verify the portrayal and events in htis novel as more authentic.
Enthusiasts of millitary histor and wargames will enjoy the detailed battle descriptions, and lovers of historical fiction will find this rich and rewarding.
This book follows the historical myths and legends faithfully. All the favourite characters are there but in a more realistic historical setting.
The book tells the well known story of the last of the highland Scottish Kings from the killing of Duncan I in 1040 through to the fabled defeat at Dunsinane in 1057 by Siward fighting for Malcolm, son of Duncan. Then finally ambush and death in 1058 the following year - as in the true history. I hope that hasn't spoilt it for anyone but lets face it we all know that he gets killed.
A fantastic story that I couldn't put down and the book that rekindled my interest in history. This books is in quite a different league when it comes to historical fiction.
Shakespeare's play is a great work but personally, in large part because of the more accurate historical background, I prefer this work. You can enjoy reading this book whereas the only way to really appreciate Shakespeare's Macbeth is to go and see the play.
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, issued posthumously in 2007.
For most people outside of Scotland the name Macbeth is synonymous with a blasted heath, witches and a bloody dagger, the legacy of Victorian school boy history which taught Shakespeare as historical fact and extended well into the 20th century. Tranter's biographical novel Macbeth, The King paints him as a strong ruler at a time when his country was in desperate need, who struggled to be more than just a brave and effective soldier but also fair and honourable, but often confronted with the need to put his duty before his personal conscience.
As always when chronicling Scottish history this is a tale of terrible violence from the slaying of Duncan I in 1040 through Macbeths continuous battle to hold his land together and keep his throne against internal strife and the constant threat from the new Norman kingdom in England, to his shameful death in 1058. As Tranter himself once remarked, the Scots have an absolute talent for killing their own kings.
As usual Mr.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
At last the Shakespearian/Hollywood image of Macbeth is put to sleep. Nigel Tranter never fails to capture the feeling of the times, and always geographically accurate.Published 8 months ago by Ernie Proudfoot
Great book which gives a very different insight to a historic character much maligned by ShakespearePublished 9 months ago by kevin thorn
The cover was torn but that was probably in keeping with book pricePublished 18 months ago by Tumshie
I have just finished reading this book - another wonderful book by the late, lamented Nigel Tranter. This Macbeth is nothing like Mr. Shakespear's version. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Benmaric
This historically accurate version of Macbeth's story is going to leave one in little doubt as to the correct Scottish history.Published on 19 Mar. 2014 by AmazingGrace
I do love a good Nigel Tranter yarn. He evocatively brings to life ancient and Mediaeval Scotland like no other. Read morePublished on 28 Feb. 2014 by Benjamin Amponsah
A first class read for anybody who's interested in Viking, Anglo Saxon and Scottish history, certainly puts a different spin on it after reading Shakespeare's Macbeth.Published on 20 Oct. 2013 by ACSpectre