Friday, April 6, 2012

Review: The Forest Laird by Jack Whyte

Title: The Forest Laird
Author: Jack Whyte
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publish Date: February 14, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the publisher. This did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You like your historical fiction with great characters and a splash of adventure.
What's the Story?:

From "In the pre-dawn 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 last confession, a priest who knows Wallace like a brother. Wallace's confession—the tale that follows—is all the more remarkable because it comes from real life.  

We follow Wallace through his many lives—as outlaw and fugitive, hero and patriot, rebel and kingmaker. His exploits and escapades, desperate struggles and victorious campaigns are all here, as are the high ideals and fierce patriotism that drove him to abandon the people he loved to save his country.  

William Wallace is the first heroic figure from the Scottish Wars of Independence, a man whose fame has reached far beyond his homeland. Wallace served as a subject for the Academy Award–winning film Braveheart. In The Forest Laird, Jack Whyte’s masterful storytelling breathes life into Wallace's tale, giving readers an amazing character study of the man who helped shape Scotland’s future."

My Two Cents:

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 in the church. Jamie and William are incredibly close so I thought that it was a really cool perspective to see William through the eyes of someone who knew him very well and had known him since childhood. Being a part of the clergy, Jamie also has a really interesting perspective on what's going on in the war between England and Scotland.

This book is perfect for historical fiction lovers who like a healthy dose of action with the human stories so often found in historical fiction books. That being said, even though there is some fighting in the book, the book really focuses more on what the motivation is and not a whole bunch of battle scenes (which I was very glad for because I'm not so much into that).

The book leaves you with a cliffhanger (this book is the first book in a planned trilogy, the Braveheart chronicles). After reading this book, I know that I definitely need to see where this one goes.

Bottom line: This is the beginning to what I'm sure is going to be a most beloved series. 



  1. I really liked this book too. I thought the author did a great job of creating a wonderful story with so little actual facts about Wallace known.

    1. Yeah, it's pretty amazing! I'm anxious to read the next one.

  2. I haven't been reading much historical fiction lately. I'm not sure why. I'm glad you enjoyed this one.

  3. You had me at the cover! Sounds like a great series!

  4. I wasn't wild about Braveheart, but this sounds like a thoughtful approach to the William Wallace story. Interesting narrative point of view.

    1. I really liked that the author chose to tell the story from the point of view of another character!


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