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The Forest Laird: A Tale of William Wallace (The Bravehearts Chronicles #1)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  753 ratings  ·  120 reviews
In the predawn hours of August 24th, 1305, in London’s Smithfield Prison, the outlaw William Wallace—hero of all the Scots and deadly enemy of King Edward of England—sits awaiting the dawn, when he is to be hanged and then drawn and quartered. Thisbrutal sundering of his body is the revenge of the English.Wallace isvisited by a Scottish priest who has come to hear his last ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published December 11th 2012 by Forge Books (first published September 1st 2010)
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Those whose knowledge of William Wallace begins and ends with Mel Gibson will be sadly disappointed with Jack Whyte's The Forest Laird. This is not the over dramatized Hollywood hero we all remember from the 1995 blockbuster. Whyte's Wallace has no bells or whistles. His story is that of a man who happened to stand up at a most opportune moment in Scottish history. Nothing more.

I think it is safe to say Whyte's depiction is
Well, that happened. For no particular reason whatsoever. I don't hold passion for this kind of books, but apparently that's all I can get my hands on lately, other than university manuals. College doesn't leave much time for pleasure reading, does it now?

Entertaining as it could be, fast-paced but with a firm grounding in detail work on characters and settings, "Rebel" captures the reader very well in its first hundred pages or so. Afterwards, it seems to dilute to a mere stumbling story, only
Steven Peterson
The title of my version of this book is "Rebel," but is appears to be the same volume.

This is an interesting take on the life of William Wallace.

First, it is a novel--not a biography. But the author has used historical sources on Wallace to try to provide a context that makes sense. How accurate the context is I do not know; this is not a period of history and a place in history of which I am conversant.

Second, if you want to reprise the battle scenes from the movie "Braveheart," forget it. This
Holly P
This book starts out by introducing William Wallace and his cousin Jamie as small boys when their home is attacked by English soldiers who brutally murder the rest of the family. Jamie narrates the tale and we follow the two boys as they grow into young men under the care of their Uncle who takes them in after their traumatic ordeal. While the boys are close growing up, it becomes clear that their lives will take different paths as Jamie becomes more interested in the Church and scholarly pursui ...more
Karalee Coleman
I had really been looking forward to reading this novel. The first in Mr. Whyte’s Guardians of Scotland trilogy, this is the story of William Wallace, an almost mythical figure who rose from obscurity to become a great warrior and leader of men in thirteenth century Scotland. Unfortunately, in order to understand what Wallace did and why he did it, it is necessary for the reader to see him in his historical context. The deterioration of the feudal system, the beginnings of the middle classes, th ...more
Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime)
Everything I've read says that this is a trilogy, and I'm having trouble figuring out how Whyte can wrap it up in three books.

This first volume follows William Wallace. The prologue begins with his execution, then we go back to see the life that led up to it. About as much is known about Wallace's early life as about Christ's, so Whyte has a lot of room to speculate, and he does it very well and believably.

Of course, there's a background history that is well-documented, though not much taught to
Andrea Paterson
This is a huge book, but I am thoroughly enjoying it. It's also helping to clarify why I was so disappointed in George R. R. Martin's equally huge volume, Game of Thrones. Both of these books are long. Both deal with wars and politics of an ancient realm and yet Jack Whyte weaves an emotionally charged story that moves along at a completely engrossing pace whereas Martin succeeded only in a plodding narrative with badly chosen points of description marring all the interesting parts. I read Jack ...more
David S.
May 20, 2014 David S. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who want action with their history; and Robin Hood lovers
On August 24, 1305, a Scottish priest is admitted into London's Smithfield Prison, in order to hear a condemned man's final confession. But, Father James Wallace has heard it all before. He is in fact there only to comfort his cousin, William, as he awaits the dawn's early light and his moment with destiny. William is not afraid of dying, he is afraid that the motivation behind his treacherous acts will be forgotten. Father James can only assure that they will not.

Decades later, the legend of "T
Chris F
For the first half of this book it was rating at 4 to 5 stars but the second half slowed up considerably, took way to long and ended in the middle of nowhere in particular. The other thing that spoilt the second half for me was the historically anachronistic ideas of patriotic nationalism and almost democratic ideas that the author puts in the mounths of some of his characters. That said the story is still good and the action well written, just too much thinking out loud between the examples of ...more
New book. First in a trilogy about the 13th Century Scottish war for independence from England. This book is about William Wallace. Think Braveheart.

Writer has been compared to James Michener. Good writer. Good book. I enjoyed this very much.
Finalmente l'ho finito. Non pensavo che un libro del genere potesse essere tanto tedioso. Di Whyte lessi la saga arturiana e devo dire che mi piacque moltissimo. Questo romanzo ha un unico grandissimo problema: cambia la narrazione in modo tempestivo facendo così perdere l'interesse al lettore, soprattutto i momenti di narrazione diretta sono una quisquilia di ovvietà e di momenti morti a livello di trama. Mentre sono molto interessanti le disquisizioni a livello politico e storico, che tirano u ...more
Spectacular! Much better than the movie Braveheart, though good it was. I'm eagerly awaiting the author's second book in this series.
well written, but not what i expected. i still do love jack whyte though.
Alex James
Rebel is a retelling of the story of William Wallace/Braveheart. I’ve read Jack Whyte books before and his style of character development was familiar to me. The story is told from the perspective of William’s cousin, Jamie, as they both mature from boyhood to adolescence. The bond between the cousins is strong, but their dreams lead them to take different paths. While William becomes fascinated by archery, Jamie excels at priesthood. From an early age William is depicted as strong, commanding, ...more
Although I'm English/British*, this was an area of history I haven't researched or read up on before. That said, you can't be British without having at least some knowledge of the vague details.

The thing that strikes me first about this book is the way Whyte, a Canadian of Scottish extraction, has decided to bludgeon the reader with the fact that the Scottish characters are, you know, talking with a Scottish accent! Cue a peculiar, persistent insistence on typing all their "Scottish" dialogue in
The first in a projected trilogy focusing on the Guardians of Scotland.After a few pages I was already engrossed : Whyte never disappoints.

This covers the early years of Wallace's life-despite the opening chapter taking place as he awaits execution, there is no focus on the battles, and the novel concludes in the run up to the Battle of Sirling Bridge. The final chapters of the novel are amongst some of the best Whyte has written, dealing as they do with the murder of Wallace's wife, infant son,
THE history of Scotland's 14th-century wars of independence are probably most remembered by a North American audience through Mel Gibson's 1995 epic Braveheart, where the hero William Wallace attempted to find peace for his countrymen and paid for it with his life.

B.C. author Jack Whyte, originally a native of Scotland, wants to capture those moments of strife, honour and warfare through his new Guardians Trilogy -- popular fiction centred around three of Scotland's most notable characters: Jame
I am a huge fan of Jack Whyte. I have enjoyed previous series by him and the way he really brings heroes to life and makes them very human. I first came across his writings in the Camulod Chronicles. I still pick them up time to time and find myself comparing all other King Arthur and Camulod accounts to this version. I still pick them up to visit that time and place once in a while and find myself working through the whole series.

In comparison I found the Templar series more difficult to dive i
Meg - A Bookish Affair
I knew about William Wallace and his fight for Scottish freedom before I read this book but I didn't know a whole lot of the detail of his life and how he fought for freedom. And oh, okay, I am probably one of the only people left that have not seen Braveheart, which seemed to be so many people's first taste of William Wallace. So I was very interested in reading this book since it was a new story to me!

This book is told from the perspective of Jamie, who is William Wallace's cousin and a priest
Another one for our sci-fi club - more of a historical fiction but we felt like a change.
And we all liked it.
Whyte is a Canadian author who has written a number of series
including one on the Arthurian Legend (Dream of Eagles) and the
Templar Trilogy. This is the first book of a new series on Scottish
history. His books are mainly historical fiction, with a bit of
fantasy thrown in.
The Forest Laird chronicles the life of William Wallace, a Scottish
hero from the 1200's. It's written in the first pe
Colleen Martin
This can't possibly be the same author who gave us Publius Varrus and Merlyn Brittanicus. Whyte's Camulod books are rich and engrossing, full of interesting characters and exciting sequences, and I'm stunned that he didn't give his native Scotland and its legendary historical figures the same treatment. That the book isn't even written from William Wallace's perspective should have been my first red flag...he's more of a secondary character, making appearances only when Whyte needs to advance th ...more
I was really torn about what to rate this book because there were parts of it that I really enjoyed and parts that made me want to just close this book and never open it again. The beginning and the end were the parts that I liked, and unfortunately the 500 pages in the middle of this 700 page volume were not very enjoyable for me.

The Forest Laird is "A Tale of William Wallace" - it's sort of like a prequel to Braveheart. It covers the life of William Wallace from childhood up to the point where
The Forest Laird tells the story of William Wallace, one of the most famous men in Scottish history. The story is told by his cousin James who grew up with William and was one of his closest friends. The story begins when they are young boys who watch William's parents and sister killed by the English and follows them on Williams road to outlaw, rebel, and eventually hero and patriot.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a fairly long book but it felt like a fast read. What I liked most about it w
Alex Telander
Jack Whyte has delighted audiences with his fantastic Arthurian series, The Camulod Chronicles, as well as his Knights Templar trilogy. He now returns with the first in his Guardians trilogy, as he begins the telling of the story of one of the most renowned people in Scottish history, William Wallace. Made all the more renowned by Mel Gibson’s incredible portrayal in the award-winning Braveheart, Whyte admits in his introduction that it was hard to tell another story about William Wallace that w ...more
Maryam Khawaja
Just amazing.
Why was this book so amazing yet so sad? I loved it all. But the anguish at the end nearly killed me. Oh why oh why Will. I ask a lot of Why questions, but really, maybe this novel wouldn't be as good unless what happened, really did happen, y'know what I mean?
Throughout this book, you see both Jamie Wallace and Will Wallace grow up to be so different and how and why and it's just so beautiful. However, knowing their adolescent years with Ewan and their uncle make you reall
For readers interested in Scottish history, specifically the Scottish Wars of Independence, you will be interested to hear about Jack Whyte's trilogy The Guardians. The Forest Laird is the first in the trilogy, and focuses on William Wallace. Books two and three focus on other heroes of Scotland, Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, and Sir James Douglas, also known as "Black Douglas". It's obvious that Whyte has a love for Scotland, as he does his home country credit by breathing new life into its ...more
Richard Radgoski
I saw Braveheart in the theater's multiple times. It spoke to me from many levels - partly from being a reasonably young man who liked movies like that - and patly because of the cause William was fighting for, despite eing Polish, not Scottish. From that time, I have been interested in Wallace as a historical figure. My wife and son's are all history buffs and I'm a neophyte in comparison. Still, there are a few key moments in history that interest me greatly - Hastings, Richard I, Scottish Ind ...more
Lee Fielding
A good history lesson

White has developed his writer's voice and writes in the vernacular which transports the reader into the Greenwood with Wallace and his community of outlaws. We feel the conflict that Father Jamie struggles with and we admire Will's commitment to family and Scotland in that order. The novel was helpful in clarifying Scottish history for this reader. It is easy to read and engaging as an historical novel.
Jack Whyte is a master at historical fiction! I loved this story about William Wallace's early days. From the time he and his cousin are put in the charge of their uncle and the church, to the time when Wallace becomes the beginnings of the warrior that everyone knows from the movie Braveheart, this book is action-packed, as well as full of political intrigue. William Wallace's story is closely tied to the legend of Robin Hood, I think, especially since Wallace's wife is called Mirren. The love ...more
I loved this book, as I love all Jack Whyte's books. It is about William Wallace the fabled hero of Scotland that the Braveheart film was based on. It is a purely fictional account of his rise and fall and is written with all the warmth and feeling that Jack Whytes weaves into all his books.
Written in the first person by Wallace's supposed cousin Father James Wallace it tells the story of the 2 boys at age 8 or 9 being badly used by English soldiers to the ignominious death of William, taken by
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Jack Whyte is an author and writer born and raised in Scotland, but has been living in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada since 1967.

Whyte's major work to date is the A Dream of Eagles series (as it is titled in Canada, but known as The Camulod Chronicles in the United States and elsewhere). This series of historical novels presents the tale of King Arthur set against the backdrop of Roman Britain.
More about Jack Whyte...

Other Books in the Series

The Bravehearts Chronicles (3 books)
  • The Renegade
  • The Guardian
The Skystone (Camulod Chronicles, #1) The Singing Sword (Camulod Chronicles, #2) The Eagles' Brood (Camulod Chronicles, #3) The Saxon Shore (Camulod Chronicles, #4) The Fort at River's Bend (Camulod Chronicles, #5)

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