Insurrection by Robyn Young Book Review

1262 A.D. In the dusty heat of French fields, knights battle for supremacy in a fierce tournament. At its violent heart is Edward of England, who leads his men under the banner of the dragon, a potent reference to the legendary King Arthur. As heir to the throne, Edward has a vision for his future kingdom that will change the face of Britain forever. 1286 A.D. Scotland is in the grip of the worst winter in living memory. Some say the Day of Judgement has come. The king of Scotland rides out from Edinburgh into the stormy dark. On the road he is murdered by one of his own men, leaving the succession to the throne wide open. Civil war threatens as powerful Scottish families jostle for power, not knowing that Edward, now king of England, has set his own plans in motion. But all is not destined to go Edward’s way. Through the ashes of war, through blood feuds and divided loyalties, a young squire will rise to defy England’s greatest king. His name is Robert the Bruce. And his story begins in INSURRECTION.

Insurrection is a historical fiction novel with many liberties taken to fill the gaps between the facts. Bear this in mind when you read this book otherwise you won’t enjoy this book at all. Those who like their historical fiction to be 100% factual will find many points to complain about. Once you have this established you will know if this is the kind of book you want to read. My wife likes historical fiction and could not get into this book because of this. I read it as a pure piece of fiction and enjoyed it.
Insurrection is the first in a new trilogy, centring on the adventures of Robert the Bruce, and it follows on from the same author’s outstanding Templar series The Brethren trilogy. The book is well-paced, with visceral and believable battles scenes, and the characters are well enough rounded to make it thoroughly believable.
Robert Bruce is interesting because he equivocated so much over his support for rebellion against the English occupation of Scotland, notwithstanding his own claim to the throne. The story is set in the winter of 1286, and Scotland is in the grip of the worst winter ever known. The King rides out into the night and is murdered by one of his own men, and thus the story begins.
It’s a very personal story of one man’s journey towards self-realization, played out against a background of family conflict, political rivalry and dynastic ambition.
Young’s Bruce is a thoroughly human figure, battling various conflicting emotional ties and material interests to try and figure out just where it is he wants to go, never mind how to actually get there.

Young creates a world where the ties between the two countries are deep and often genuinely felt. The complex politics of the period are quite intricate and discussed in detail, with clan feuds and politics rife.

All in all, acceptable read, 3/5


Robyn Young was born in Oxford in September 1975, the only child of a civil engineer father and an artist and folk singer mother. She grew up in the Midlands and Devon and has worked as a festival organizer, a music promoter, an investment advisor and as a teacher of creative writing. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Sussex and she now lives and writes in Brighton full-time.

%d bloggers like this: