The Crown in the Heather: The Bruce Trilogy: Book I

( 10 )

Overview

In 1290, Scotland is without a king. Two families-the Bruces and the Balliols-vie for the throne.

Robert the Bruce is in love with Elizabeth de Burgh, the daughter of an adherent of the ruthless Longshanks, King of England. In order to marry her and not give up his chances of someday becoming King of Scots, Robert must abandon his rebel ways and bide his time as Longshanks' vassal. But Edward, Longshanks' heir, doesn't trust the opportunistic ...

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More About This Book

Overview

In 1290, Scotland is without a king. Two families-the Bruces and the Balliols-vie for the throne.

Robert the Bruce is in love with Elizabeth de Burgh, the daughter of an adherent of the ruthless Longshanks, King of England. In order to marry her and not give up his chances of someday becoming King of Scots, Robert must abandon his rebel ways and bide his time as Longshanks' vassal. But Edward, Longshanks' heir, doesn't trust the opportunistic Scotsman and vows to one day destroy him.

While quietly plotting his rebellion, Robert is betrayed by one of his own and must flee Longshanks' vengeance.

Aided by the unlikely brilliance of the soft-spoken young nobleman, James Douglas, Robert battles for his throne. Victory, though, is never certain and Robert soon learns that keeping his crown may mean giving up that which he loves most-his beloved Elizabeth.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780982715802
  • Publisher: Gemini Sasson
  • Publication date: 5/12/2010
  • Pages: 298
  • Sales rank: 1,270,219
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The cost of a crown

    "Whenever we want something, we must weigh the cost of getting it. A farthing is a fair price for a loaf of bread. Two shillings for a yard of wool. But what price will a man pay to be his own master?"

    This question is at the heart of N. Gemini Sasson's debut, The Crown in the Heather - The Bruce Trilogy: Book I, and it is the primary concern driving the central character of Robert the Bruce. Heir to the earldom of Carrick, Robert grows up headstrong and impulsive. Under the tutelage of his grandfather and father, he learns to negotiate the politics of thirteenth-century Scotland. Yet he yearns to be more than one among many Scots held in the sway of the English King. Robert wants to be the ruler of a county free from the severity and abuses of its nominal leaders. His ambition is a direct threat to England and several of the Scottish nobles, who refuse to rally around his claim.

    As Gemi says in her Author's Note, folklore sometimes defines the truth of what we know about a character. Robert the Bruce has taken on an almost mythical status over the centuries, like that of King Arthur. I enjoyed so much of Gemi's portrayal, but foremost is that her Robert is a devoted son and brother, a loving husband and father. He is also a king passionately dedicated to the preservation of his people and their country. Where he wavers in his devotion, is when his own ambitions endanger the lives of those whom he loves most, particularly his wife Elizabeth and daughter Marjorie. I could feel the struggle inside of him, thanks to Gemi's skill. He became so real to me, conflicted by his desires, wanting the stewardship of his nation despite an easy temptation to capitulate and surrender the burden. His quest for the crown of Scotland almost guarantees that he will never have the comforts of home. Moments of joy with his wife and daughter are fleeting, snatched in brief interludes before threats arise. Robert's passion for Elizabeth, like everything else about him, is larger than life. Varied historical figures complete the cast of the Crown in the Heather, most notably William Wallace of Braveheart fame; the nemesis of the Scots, King Edward I of England and his beleaguered heir, Edward of Caernarvon; John the Red Comyn, a one-time Guardian of Scotland like Wallace, and a host of other characters.

    One among them truly stands out: James Douglas, whose story parallels Robert's own. He is in danger of eclipsing Robert as the hero of this story. James suffers losses early on, followed by a cruel exile in Paris. His experiences toughen him, but his innate goodness defies his otherwise wily behavior and a tendency to rush to confront his enemies. If I can liken the Bruce to King Arthur, then James Douglas is his Lancelot. It is only in the latter half of the book that James becomes one of the more trusted members of Robert's retinue, but he easily proves himself a capable fighter and constant companion. His portrayal left me so captivated that I promised Gemi I would just wait for Book II, rather than rushing off to learn more about him and his ultimate fate.

    I have had the pleasure of working with Gemi for a few years through critique groups, and from the start, she amazed me with her natural ability to convey human emotions, as deftly as a professional artist sketches landscapes. Her characters are vibrant and resonate beyond the pages of the book. Gemi has earned my respect and admiration for her enthusiasm and dedication to perfecting her w

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    In 1290, Scotland was left without a king and at the mercy of a

    In 1290, Scotland was left without a king and at the mercy of a ruthless English monarch, Edward I, who would become known to history as Longshanks, a moniker used by the author, although it was not used at the time of the telling of her tale, to help differentiate him from his son, Edward II, another character in the novel. More pertinent to the novel, Edward I is known to history as the Hammer of the Scots, and any reader of N. Gemini Sasson’s novel can begin to see why.

    This book is the first of a trilogy and covers the early shifting among the clans of the Scots as they ally themselves with one of two claimant for the throne of Scotland: Robert the Bruce and John Comyn. William Wallace, the legendary Scottish resistance fighter, is a peripheral character in the book, and James Douglas, another slightly later legend is a young man in this book, fast gaining respect and acclaim. This novel spans from 1290 until 1306.

    I have read many books on this subject, and while I think that Ms. Sasson is a good writer when one is discussing basic mechanics and prose style, I do not always think that she does a very good job presenting her history in a clear and orderly fashion. If I were not familiar with the people and events, I think I would have trouble-particularly with regards to following the beginning of the novel, after which she settles into her tale and things become a bit more clear. Another element which drove me absolutely crazy was her use of multiple first-person narrators, especially in the beginning of the novel when the book is also weaving around in time, as the reader is lost both in regards to time and teller. One of the disadvantages of choosing to write a book in first-person narration is that it is limiting. It used to be a cardinal rule that if you wrote a book in that viewpoint you could only have the one narrator; currently it seems to be in vogue with authors to break the rule, yet as I discuss it with readers, very few seem to like multiple first-person narration-it is simply too confusing to try to figure out who is speaking.

    Despite the irritation I felt with the choice of way to narrate the story, it is nearly impossible to finish this novel and not continue on with the series, as the characters in the fight for Scottish independence were such compelling men and women and their cause was such a just one, and, as I stated above, Ms. Sasson is quite a good writer. Also, to her credit, while her story was rather discombobulated in the beginning, she did pull things together in the latter half of the book, and I have confidence that the second book will be stronger. Based on other books that I have read, I also believe that the author has done her research and that these books are accurate in their history. For those interested in continuing the series, the second book is [b]Worth Dying For[/b], and the conclusion is [/b]The Honor Due a King[/b]. Overall, this is a novel I recommend for those interested in learning more about Robert the Bruce, his bid for the crown of Scotland, and Scotland’s fight for independence from England.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    Free and enjoyable

    I really enjoyed reading this book and have purchased the other two in the triology. It tells the story of Robert the Bruce and his stuggles, battles, and loves. Worth reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2012

    !

    To the posters leaving these loooooong reviews revealing every plot point and detail of the book, know that u have been reported to bn. They do not like that u ppl are ruining books for others and will work to ban u. To other readers sick of these ppl, report them, not only here, but call bn with the title of the book. They will ban them.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2013

    Very good

    Once I remembered to check the character name at the beginning of each chapter, it was a little easier to follow the first person narration. This was an enjoyable read and I look forward to reading the other two books in this trilogy.

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    Posted July 31, 2011

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    Posted October 28, 2012

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    Posted May 6, 2012

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    Posted February 11, 2012

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