Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Scottish Chiefs” as Want to Read:
The Scottish Chiefs
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Scottish Chiefs

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  762 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
A romantic, suspenseful novel of Scotland's 14th-century heroes, Sir William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. First published in 1809 to spectacular success throughout Europe, this new edition captures the grandeur of the earlier edition, with Wyeth's glorious paintings reproduced from the original canvases.
Hardcover, 520 pages
Published September 30th 1991 by Atheneum Books (first published 1809)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Scottish Chiefs, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Scottish Chiefs

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 31, 2013 Kemaria rated it it was amazing
I learned about The Scottish Chiefs from the same person from whom I learned about many old-fashioned books: Louisa May Alcott, in her book A Garland for Girls. One of the stories contained therein is called Pansies, and in it some teenaged girls and Mrs Warburton, the elderly lady of the house the girls are staying at, discuss books they've read and their tastes in literature. The books mentioned in this story are all real books, and I've had the pleasure of hunting for and finding many of thes ...more
Jan 16, 2009 Miriam rated it liked it
Shelves: adventure, celtic
In her introduction to her 1810 novel The Scottish Chiefs, Jane Porter reminisces about her own childhood on the Scottish Border. She emphasizes the widespread familiarity of the denizens with stories and songs about Wallace. This concurs with Walter Scott’s comment that the Scottish populace had recent experience of medieval life, “whereas in England civilisation has been so long complete, that our ideas of our ancestors are only to be gleaned from musty records and chronicles…” Contemporary Fe ...more
Jun 21, 2010 Dave rated it it was amazing
Great book about the real William Wallace. A man of faith, courage, purity and honor. He was a warrior for his kingdom and the kingdom of God. This book stirred something deep inside that calls me out of complacency into battle- against all odds, and to the death; for my King. That battle is for those He loves and desires to free from all oppression from false authority; bring them together in unity and out of darkness and into the army of light. All the major battles fought by everyman are laye ...more
Feb 02, 2009 Jaclynn rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
The story of William Wallace and his followers, of Robert the Bruce and the fight to free Scotland from England’s grasp. Full of heroes and heroines worthy of praise, full of virtue, and followers of the one true God. The devotion of Wallace to his God and country is an example well worth remembering. Especially as he dealt with the unwanted passions and deception of the Lady Mar (Joanna of Strathearn) He refused the crown many times despite the people’s insistence that it was rightfully his, in ...more
Oct 20, 2008 Dianna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: action-packed
Love this book about Sir William Wallace It has actually been a long time since I read it, but it's a family favorite. Growing up my dad would read to us at night- this was one our our favs. We also read Anne of Green Gables and A Mountain Europa, among others, but this was #1! SO much better than the movie- (Braveheart)!
Apr 08, 2009 Relstuart rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
I liked this book. Which is one reason I was disappointed in Braveheart. The movie is a pale shadow of the story here. :)
Sep 28, 2010 Sylvester rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-book, classic
One of my brother's favorite books - so I had to give it a try. Very interesting time in history. Porter's prose borders on purple throughout, but she gives Wallace the most rousing speeches ever - if that's the way he really talked, no wonder his men were so ready to follow him to the death. Porter makes Wallace out to be a paragon of everything virtuous and faithful and manly, and sometimes that grated, but he was a real man in history and his role was pivotal and the Scots were the underdogs ...more
Jan 29, 2008 Angelyn rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite classics. My grandmother was a Wallace and descendant of the William Wallace's family although William had no descendants. This a romanticized version of the story of Wallace. It is a little hard to get into the language at first but you get used to it and it is a lovely book. It was banned one time from England (I believe) because of it's Scottish patriotic theme.
Sep 24, 2014 GV rated it really liked it
I liked the book for its deeply Christian insights into the virtues of enduring love, loyalty, mercy, courage, honesty, and justice. As this story is generally about the Scottish-English wars of the 1200's, and particularly about William Wallace, these virtues are often illustrated in the context of war. Jane Porter, through Wallace, addresses the following questions:
"Is war ever justified? If so, when?"
"Is all really 'fair' in war, or are there Godly standards that Christians must honor?"
Sep 12, 2010 Michael rated it liked it
Shelves: history, history-war, own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 02, 2016 Marguerite rated it it was amazing
The title of this book doesn't give you anything to go on. It sounds more like a boring history. It's not. It is a beautiful, well written historical drama about William Wallace and the events in his life and the fight for Scotland's independence. It is also a tragic and beautiful love story. Read it.
Graham Cracka
Jul 04, 2013 Graham Cracka rated it it was amazing
I got this at my local library and loved it! The formal writing style of the author gives a feel of antiquity to the story that you don't get from modern authors. It wasn't the easiest read, but I highly recommend reading it if you can track it down.
Aug 14, 2014 Wanda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
14 AUG 2014 -- William Wallace! I will download and read the ebook from Project Gutenberg; however, I will be on the lookout for the illustrated book. How can I possibly resist Wyeth illustrations? Could you?

Find/download here --
May 13, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book- truly, I did. Where was the Scottish brogue? Och,I dinna ken. After Helen's 3rd or 4th swoon I started to speed read. I did appreciate the scene where Wallace sounds the pibrochs. It's a good book to have around the house to throw at intruders.
Oct 01, 2010 Bettie☯ marked it as to-read

Here I go - slurping those shelves clean
Jan 28, 2009 Kaitlin rated it liked it
This book is good, but the good guys are sooooo good and the bad guys are soooo bad that it's hard to find someone that's just a ordinary gray person.
Dec 11, 2012 Megan rated it really liked it
Inspiring chivalry, exhilarating speeches and one battle after another! A long but good read with a bittersweet end.
Mar 21, 2011 Alger rated it really liked it
I am becoming enamoured of Scottish literature and this novel only strengthens this sentiment with its wonderful, moving descriptions of feudal Scotland and her sons and daughters, under the yolk of English rule, bursting forth with hereditary pride and valor that could not be constrained by foreign imperialism. The character of William Wallace is very strong and compelling as depicted in this rendition of the struggles for Scottish independence and those persons of note who follow him, such as ...more
Feb 12, 2017 Kurt rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Excellent book about William Wallace! It is definitely romanticized, and perhaps not 100% historically accurate, but still a great book. Excellent lesson on honor and doing what you know to be right, even in the face of great opposition.
Apr 23, 2013 Ange rated it it was amazing
Enjoying this book about William Wallace.

"No country is wretched, sweet lady," returned the knight, "till it consents to its own slavery. Bonds and death are utmost of our enemy's malice: the one is beyond his power to inflict, when a man is determined to die or to live free; and for the other, which of us will think that ruin which leads to the blessed freedom of paradise?"

"...when a whole people take up arms to regain their rights, what force can prevent restitution?"

"All warfare that is not d
Apr 30, 2012 Emily rated it liked it
This is a novel about William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. It is full of chivalrous knights, devious femme fatales and lots of violence. I felt like I was watching an Errol Flynn movie from the early 1940's because the dialogue was so flowery! William Wallace is described as the ultimate male, strong, beautiful and noble. But really he is still a flat character as are most of the people in the novel. I admire the author tremendously though because this novel was published in 1809. Her research ...more
Tiago "Salvador" Souza
Well, historically accuracy, even considering the resources available at the time (and mysteries that are still unsolved today) is very low. The story in itself starts very slowly and to me it was a drag to read up until two thirds of the book were done.

Characters are very black and white, either they are pro-Scotland/Wallace, and therefore good and virtuous, or they were against, thus being evil. That greatly bothered me. Even Jane Austen's novels have some grey in them.

I would have rated this
Aug 15, 2012 Erin rated it liked it
I had a hard time rating this book, because parts of it were kind of pathetic and there was a lot of sentimentality. (It was written in 1809, after all.) Yet other parts of it I really enjoyed, and some passages, especially towards the end, were exceptionally beautiful and moving. So, over all, I think I would give it 3 and a half stars. It was very enlightening (assuming that it was true, which I think most of it was) and I enjoyed the characters, even though some of them were a little over the ...more
Dec 31, 2013 Sgtshaf rated it liked it
Finally fished this book. Took me awhile to get used to the style of English writing of this era. After a while was able to read at a faster rate with better comprehension. As for the story, I found this to have more historical accuracy than the movie Braveheart. it still was far from an accurate account of history, but still very enjoyable. Was highly upset with the change of the death of Wallace and how Helen Mar willed her own death.
Nov 10, 2011 Dorothy rated it it was amazing
This is a compelling novel written at about the same time as Jane Austen's and in the same style. it is a romanticized version of the Scottish war of independence in 1300. My uncle was named Robert Bruce and my granddad was William Wallace. We take our Scottish history seriously. The history in this is not always accurate, but the story carries the feel.
Mandi Murphy
Mar 07, 2012 Mandi Murphy rated it it was amazing
Whew! I won't lie, this book was a workout. But I loved it! It is somewhat difficult to follow at times because of the introduction of so many different characters. Also, the kindle edition is possibly the most poorly edited book I have ever had the pleasure of reading. But don't hold that against the author.
Jul 15, 2010 Patrick is currently reading it
So far I have learned how historically inaccurate Braveheart is. Also, it is wonderfully written, with colorful choices of vocabulary, enticing storyline, and excellent composition. I definitely recommend this book to those who find their interest in Scottish history and a good war story of a "reluctant hero."
Feb 21, 2012 Steven rated it really liked it
I read this book right out of high school. I love it as much for the N.C. Wyeth illustrations as for the story. Yes, it's Victorian and over-romanticized, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Even though Porter found a way to spare Wallace the gruesome death of hanging, drawing, and quartering, it's still closer to real history than Braveheart by a long shot.
Jul 18, 2011 Dale rated it really liked it
This was a long and sometimes difficult book to read, but I did really enjoy it. It tells the story of William Wallace and I thought it was a little like an old western. The heroes wore white hats and where above reproach and the villains wore black hats and everyone booed when they made an entrance.
Daisy Buchanan
Nov 07, 2013 Daisy Buchanan rated it it was amazing
Enjoying the history and the relationships that are developing. Want to find more time to read it.
Just finished it and loved it. My kind of book. History and relationships, perfect! And as for the language, once I got into the flow of it I really enjoyed reading in this style. Need to find more Scottish historical novels now.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Westward Ho! or, the Voyages and Adventures of Sir Amyas Leigh, Knight, of Burrough
  • Men of Iron
  • To Have and to Hold: A Tale of Providence and Perseverance in Colonial Jamestown
  • In Freedom's Cause: A Story of Wallace and Bruce
  • Jezebel's Ladder (Jezebel's Ladder, #1)
  • Jade
  • Slab City Blues: The Ballad of Bad Jack (Slab City Blues ,#4)
  • David Balfour: Being Memoirs of the Further Adventures of David Balfour at Home and Abroad (David Balfour, #2)
  • Convergent Space
  • The League Of The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • House of Corruption
  • Glastonbury: The Novel of Christian England
  • The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Volume Two (Miss Temple, Doctor Svenson, and Cardinal Chang #1.2)
  • Snap
  • Brambleman
  • Chained to the Barbarian (Palace Brides #2)
  • The Wallace
  • Mr. Midshipman Easy
Sometimes credited as "Miss Jane Porter."
Jane Porter was an English romantic novelist of Irish descent who co-wrote many works with her sister, Anna Maria Porter.
She was born in the Bailey in Durham City.
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
More about Jane Porter...

Share This Book

“All warfare that is not defensive is criminal.” 5 likes
More quotes…