Scotland, 1306 – after slaying his lifelong rival to the throne in a chapel, Robert the Bruce is crowned king of Scotland at Scone. Yet even his own wife and countrymen laugh at his foolishness, calling him Mad King Robin. For the murder of the Bruce’s rival in a chapel has enraged the English king in London, who views himself as Scotland’s rightful ruler. An English army is sent north and through an act of deception, the Bruce’s forces are destroyed at Methven. After the Bruce’s narrow escape, his wife, daughter and sisters are captured by the English. The Bruce suddenly finds himself an excommunicated outlaw within his own realm, fleeing both his English and Scottish enemies with a mere handful of loyal men.
For eight years since Methven, the Bruce’s wife Elizabeth de Burgh, daughter of the most powerful man in Ireland, has hated every day of her captivity by the English. The walls of Rochester castle are a seemingly eternal prison, while rumour and gossip reaches her that the Bruce is out of hiding, and incredibly reclaiming castle after castle in Scotland. Yet word has also reached her that the English king is marching north, at the head of the largest English army ever assembled. All Elizabeth can do is cling to mad hopes of freedom, while her captors urge her to abandon her fealty to her husband.
Yet 1314 is indeed the year when the Bruce, long emerged from hiding, has crushed his enemies and taken every castle in Scotland except Stirling. His rise, inspired by a mere spider, is scarcely believable. But even the Bruce privately fears the incredibly large English force marching north to crush him, which is more than twice the size of his own army. It will take all of the Bruce’s ingenuity and insane bravery to attempt to end the English hold on Scotland once and for all. The last fight for his people’s future beckons along the Bannockburn, but can the Bruce’s army overcome impossible odds to win freedom?
Mad King Robin is a wonderful, riveting page turner, which tells the stirring tale of a nation’s desperate struggle against a much larger, brutal oppressor.