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

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,174 Ratings  ·  157 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. This brutal sundering of his body is the revenge of the English. Wallace is visited by a Scottish priest who has come to hear his l ...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
Mercedes Rochelle
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember Jack Whyte’s Arthurian Skystone novels very fondly, so I thought I’d give William Wallace a try. As expected, Whyte’s writing is very fluid and we get an earthy, rustic character easy to relate to. This novel covers the early part of Wallace’s life, before he gets involved with the uncooperative nobles of Scotland. It is told after the fact, from the point of view of his cousin Jamie, a quieter, less impulsive lad who eventually became Wallace’s resident priest for his forest hideaway ...more
The people of Scotland were that way (innocent of war) in the springtime of the year of our Lord 1296. They heard the talk of war with England and they knew that matters had been set in motion that were beyond their control, grave matters that would affect them and change the very way their land was governed. And yet they did not grow unduly alarmed. An entire generation and come to middle age without ever knowing the dangers, the risks, or the enormous tragedy of extensive warfare, and the men ...more
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
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
Steven Peterson
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ana  Vlădescu
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
Mark Halse
I'm a Jack Whyte fan. THE CAMULOD CHRONICLES are one of my favorite series and I even enjoyed his TEMPLAR series though it was less popular. This book however was a bit of a disappointment.

I was excited to read the story of William Wallace however after the first half of the book The Wallace didn't appear much. The book follows his cousin Jamie who spends most of his time away from William and we learn about his adventures second hand. Not too cool.

Whyte's stories are usually dominated by long,
Krista Baetiong Tungol
Picture William Wallace as a brave, young patriot, who—in his final moment when he was being hanged, drawn and quartered—never wavered in his idea of a free Scotland and died screaming “Freedom” to foreign domination. Picture him as a man of resolve, a man of certainty; always passionate to the Scottish cause and ever ready to give up his own life for his country. A perfect hero respected by his noble allies and venerated by the common folk of his time or even the future generations to come.

David S.
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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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