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Insurrection by Robyn Young
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Insurrection (2011)

by Robyn Young

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In the 13th century King Edward the First of England has conquered Wales and now sets his sights on Scotland. After the convenient death of the Scottish King Edward invades and sets up a new puppet monarch. The Scottish nobles are not happy but fight amongst themselves. One family of powerful nobles with a claim to the throne are the Bruce family and this book follows the story of Robert Bruce from childhood through service to the king and finally through to exile after supporting William Wallace.

As this is the 700th anniversary of the battle of Bannockburn there has been much about Bruce in the media and as someone with an interest in medieval history I thought to give this book a go. It's a weighty tome and obviously well-researched but it just didn't grab my attention as much as it could have done. The difficulty with historical fiction is melding fictional characterisation to historical facts and that is where Young's writing falls down for me. However I have bought the second book in the series so I will continue the story! ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
2.09
  johnrid11 | Feb 14, 2016 |
I received this book as a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

Unfortunately, though I tried, I wasn't able to finish this book.

When I saw this book on the giveaways page, I was so very excited. I love historical fiction, especially as it pertains to Scotland. I am not a history buff by any stretch, but give me some kilted men, some action, a little romance, and I am very much there.

However, this book had no kilted men, very little action, and next to no romance. To be fair, the kilted men is not the author's fault. (The kilt wasn't a big part of the highland dress until many years after the book is set.)

I started reading on August 10. By August 24, I had only read 230 pages. This in itself is very odd to me. I generally devour books, but I couldn't get into this one at all. It was dry, almost textbook-like in its style. Technically, the writing is excellent. But writing requires more than technical excellence to be good... it needs to grab the reader. I never felt grabbed by Insurrection.

I never felt drawn to the characters, and at certain points I was skimming pages, not knowing or really caring what happened. The story jumps around a lot, with large chunks of time passing (weeks to years) between most of the chapters. I think that, to me, that should have been my first clue as to what I was getting into. It was a very plodding, slow moving story.

I picked the book up again on December 27 to try and finish it off. I read another 48 pages of it, and it was soon apparent that I was not going to be able to finish it. While I wasn't reading the book, I never once thought "I really need to pick that book up again" except to fulfill my obligations as a Goodreads reviewer.

I really tried, but I just couldn't finish it. I may try and read it again someday, but I don't foresee that day being any time soon.

I would, however, recommend this book to people who are sticklers for historical detail above all else. I don't actually know how accurate the book is, but since it reads more like a textbook than a work of fiction to me, I would generally recommend it more to academics rather than kilt-loving romantics like myself. ( )
  erincathryn | Mar 31, 2013 |
This is an amazing book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or has an interest in Scotland. My only issue is that there are so many characters, often with similar names, so remembering their roles and loyalties can be difficult: Not that this is the authors fault, I think she made the right choice in keeping the historic figures and not attempting to amalgamate three lords in to one character or something similar.

It maybe that I read this over a period of time (three months) and at various speeds (I've read the latter half over the last couple of week) that the plot becomes deeper and richer near the end. While it is very interesting to hear about the training medieval knights would have received, the battles and politics that involve Robert later on, are much more evolving. I will say that the battle scenes are on par with Simon Scarrow's and are not drawn out but remain detailed and exciting.

While it is over 600 pages long, the novel needs to be this length to allow Robert, and some other main characters, to develop. However, with the amount of characters there is the inevitable lack of depth to some. For example, James Stewart's character traits are 'loyal to Bruce' and 'respected noble'. Perhaps Young could have used her poetic license to give these historical figures deeper personalities.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. I has also peaked my interest in both Scottish and the High Middle Ages. I would love to know more about them so that I can place this very detailed story into it's place in history. I look forwards to the next book of this series, as well as investigating Young's trilogy. ( )
  maccy_P | Dec 12, 2011 |
A good historical novel needs to be fairly faithful to history, whilst also, obviously being a good read. I think this book manages both really well. It's the life of Robert the Bruce, told of necessity by scenes from his life. I found it a compelling story, particularly because I knew nothing about what really happened at the time, so I wanted to know what happened next. As I approached the end of the book I realised that there was more to tell after this book, and sure enough, it's the first in a trilogy, so now I have to wait until the other books are written.

At the end the author explains how much of a liberty they took with the known facts, which should be compulsory in any historical novel. A few liberties were taken, but there are enough gaps in the history for the author to fill them with a believable story. ( )
  paulmorriss | Oct 1, 2011 |
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WorldCat has ISBN 904751601X for BOTH Insurrection by Robyn Young AND for Edge by Jeffery Deaver
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0340963654, Paperback)

The year is 1286 and Scotland is in the grip of one of the worst winters in living memory. Some believe the Day of Judgement has come. The King of Scotland is murdered by one of his squires, a deed pre-meditated by his own brother-in-law, the King of England, a thousand miles away in France. The Prophecy of Merlin has decreed that only when the four relics of Britain have been gathered will one man rule a united kingdom, and Edward I is determined to fulfil it. The murder of Scotland's king is thus just the first in a chain of events that will alter the face of Britain forever. But all is not destined to go Edward's way. Out of the ashes of war, through blood feuds and divided loyalties, a young squire will rise to defy England's greatest king. His name is Robert the Bruce. And his story begins in Insurrection.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:29 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The year is 1286 and Scotland is in the grip of one of the worst winters in living memory. Some believe the Day of Judgement has come. The King of Scotland is murdered by one of his squires, a deed pre-meditated by his own brother-in-law, the King of England, a thousand miles away in France. The Prophecy of Merlin has decreed that only when the four relics of Britain have been gathered will one man rule a united kingdom, and Edward I is determined to fulfil it. The murder of Scotland's king is thus just the first in a chain of events that will alter the face of Britain forever. But all is not destined to go Edward's way. Out of the ashes of war, through blood feuds and divided loyalties, a young squire will rise to defy England's greatest king. His name is Robert the Bruce. And his story begins in Insurrection.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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