This novel follows the lives of the sisters of Robert the Bruce. With the turbulent years of the Wars of Independence as a backdrop, events across Scotland, Norway and Orkney unfold, following historical references as closely as possible, but drawn with the broad brush strokes of imagination when facts peter out.
There are many heroes in this story: those who fought and died in pursuit of the dream of an independent Scotland, and the ordinary folk who perished, caught up in the machinery of war and its path of devastation and disruption. The juxtaposition of the sisters’ experiences across the landscapes of Norway and Scotland provides a counterfoil and balance to the spectacle and sadness of war.
It is a compelling story with many factual elements and a privilege for the author to explore its many dimensions.
1292 – 1306
Isabel Bruce (Isa; pronounced I-za) becomes Queen of Norway and her sister, Christina (Kirsty), the Countess of Mar. Both are resilient, feisty, privileged women who are well-educated for their times.
Embedded within the core of this medieval social history are the hopes and dreams, challenges and triumphs, and personal crises faced by these remarkable women. The female voice is imperative. Rarely is it heard within history’s dominant discourse of wars and battles where men fight and die.
To provide a balance, there are also letters written by their brother, Robert the Bruce, giving a first-hand account of his perspective. I do not claim authorship; these letters come from a mystery contributor, a Scot by birth, who does not wish to be named.
The drama unfolds as Scotland spirals into war.
Escape occurs for some, whilst for others death or imprisonment follow.
1306 – 1314
Five sisters – five stories, woven into a vivid tapestry of medieval life, which explores the human condition in the face of dire circumstances: tracing the themes of vulnerability, courage and tenacity and the inherent choice to adapt or perish. The Battle of Bannockburn brings a change in the fortunes of many.