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"Novels on Marquis of Montrose" Topic

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Captain DEwell22 Apr 2010 2:14 p.m. PST

I recommend two books on the Scottish Royalist General Montrose. 'The Young Montrose' and 'Montrose: The Captain-General,' by the late Scottish author Nigel Tranter. The latter book is a fantastic read about his 'year of miracles.'
In fact, most of the books by Tranter are worth a look for historical Scottish battles and intrigue. Are there any other novels that capture the period?

Connard Sage22 Apr 2010 2:24 p.m. PST

Not a novel, but John Buchan's (yes, the 39 Steps John Buchan) biography of Montrose is worth a read.

aecurtis Fezian22 Apr 2010 2:29 p.m. PST

Huh. I thought Tranter's were about the most wretched examples of historical fiction I had ever encountered.


Timbo W22 Apr 2010 2:49 p.m. PST

He either fears his fates too much,
Or his deserts are small,
Who fails to put it to the touch,
To Win, or Lose it all.

mweaver22 Apr 2010 3:14 p.m. PST

Maurice Walsh, "And No Quarter" (U.S. title "The Dark Rose"). Walsh was a Irishman who joined the British civil service (mostly posted in Scotland) who became an extremely popular author from the 1920s to the 1950s. He is best known for the short story, "The Quiet Man", which rumor has it was made into a movie. Mostly he wrote romances, but he did do three historical novels, my favorite of which is "Blackcock's Feather", (1932) set during the Elizabethan conquest of Ireland. "And No Quarter" was published in '37. Not a particularly easy book to find, but if you have access to a good library, maybe. Amazon lists a couple of second-hand copies:


mweaver22 Apr 2010 3:16 p.m. PST

P.S., after reading "And No Quarter" I picked up the first of Tranter's Montrose novels, and didn't make it past the first few chapters. I don't remember what put me off, but I vaguely remember not liking it much.

Wizard Whateley22 Apr 2010 5:37 p.m. PST

The Tranter Montrose trilogy starts of slooooow. It gets better, stick with it.

1ngram23 Apr 2010 1:10 a.m. PST

Walsh's three historical novels – the third is "Sons of the Swordmaker" are excellent, far better then his mawkish 20th Century stuff and much, much better than the appalling Tranter.

If you live in the UK, especially Scotland its impossible not to find a copy in a second hand bookshop of at least one of the three.

mweaver23 Apr 2010 3:39 a.m. PST

Here is the U.S. "Blackcock's Feather" is easiest to find, since there was a cheap paperback edition that turns up in secondhand bookstores moderately often. To the best of my knowledge, neither "The Dark Rose" ("And No Quarter) or "Sons of the Swordmaker" were ever released in the U.S. in paperback. Indeed, I am not sure "Sons of the Swordmaker" was released in the U.S., although I imagine it was. In my experience, it is the hardest of the three to come by.

Captain DEwell23 Apr 2010 9:14 a.m. PST

I still think Tranter's "Montrose: Captain-General" is fantastic with excellent descriptions of battle and no love interest. It slows, certainly, when Montrose is in exile in Holland, but picks up for Carbisdale defeat. Read this one, if none other, methinks you'll like it but, yes I know, to each his own!
I hope when Warlord Games produces it's Montrose figure that he's suitably heroic.

HarryHotspurEsq23 Apr 2010 2:36 p.m. PST

I really enjoy Tranter, but it took me a couple of attempts to get through the first book of his read. Never, looked at the later novels, but his earlier period stuff is great, especially "Macbeth the king."

I'd be keen to check out "Blackcock's feather" though…

Captain DEwell23 Apr 2010 3:05 p.m. PST

Didn't the "Quite Man" star John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara?

mweaver23 Apr 2010 8:30 p.m. PST

Yes – I was joking about the "rumor" since I know it is a favorite film of many around here (including me). I think it was one of the stories that Walsh published in "The Saturday Evening Post", and can be found in the short story collection "Green Rushes".

1ngram24 Apr 2010 2:19 a.m. PST

Loads of them available on Abebooks for only a couple of quid in UK.


And No Quarter also readily available but Sons of the Swordmaker not anything like as cheap.

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