Published : 2011
UK Price : Kindle £2.14 Here
US Price : Paperback $8.99 Here & Kindle $2.99 Here
"Freedom's Sword" by J.R. Tomlin was probably always going to appeal to me. I am Scottish after all and can't help but enjoy a good story about the Scottish Wars of Independence. This is especially true when it is about the "forgotten" man of Scottish Independence, Sir Andrew de Moray.
Basically, this book follows the life of Sir Andrew de Moray, who was one the Scottish leaders at the battle of
alongside the more famous William Wallace. The story takes us from the initial English invasion of Stirling Bridge Scotland, through Andrew's incarceration in an English cell, before he returns and helps to build an army to re-take Scotland and defeat the English at Stirling. If you have seen the movie Braveheart or know your Scottish History then you should already know the basic premise to be honest.
I was a little bit worried at first, as some aspects of the Scottish Wars of Independence have had a little bit to much fiction added (The aforementioned Braveheart for example!). I didn't need to worry though because the book had obviously been well researched and the fictional elements were implemented in to the story well and don't contradict the "known" facts of the period.
As well as mixing historical fact and fiction well, the book is also quite simply, a very enjoyable and entertaining read. It captures the feeling of the age and the location well, with the use of Scottish dialect throughout the novel being a nice touch. Andrew and the supporting characters are also all developed enough to make them feel real and believable. Andrew himself actually draws in the reader as he grows from an inexperienced youth into a seasoned warrior.
The book can a times be violent, cruel and ugly, especially in it's portrayal of the various battles that occurred. However, it was a violent period and I think the author has kept the blood and guts to parts of the novel where it is actually needed and warranted.
One minor note that I will make is that there are some misspellings, missed words and grammatical errors in the text. However, it doesn't detract from novel, and some of these could be me just not realising it is an American spelling etc. I have to admit that I always feel a bit cheeky commenting about this type of thing as I have to get my wife to pre-check every post on here due to my terrible grammar etc.
Overall, the story is a great piece of historical fiction, it is entertaining and I don't think anyone who reads it will be disappointed. I am actually hoping J.R Tomlin decides to write some more Scottish History novels, something following on with Andrew's son and the 2nd War of Scottish Independence would be nice.