by Margaret Mallory
My new Scottish series, THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS, takes place during the chaotic aftermath of Scotland’s crushing defeat at the Battle of Flodden.
Before the Battle of Flodden, Scotland seemed to be on the verge of a golden age. King James IV fostered the growth of universities, supported musicians and poets, and built palaces that rivaled those on the continent.
|The Great Hall at Stirling Castle|
The king, who learned to speak Gaelic, even gained the allegiance of the usually rebellious Highland chieftains. For a time, he also achieved “Perpetual Peace” with England by his marriage to Margaret Tudor, Henry VII daughter, in a union hailed as the Thistle and the Rose. Peace, perpetual or otherwise, proved difficult to maintain with Margaret’s aggressive, younger brother, Henry VIII. When France called on Scotland’s help in fighting the English, James IV honored the Auld Alliance and marched into northern England with perhaps 30,000 men.
|Henry VIII - 1509|
The king led the Scots to a crushing defeat at the Battle of Flodden in Northumberland. Thousands of Scots died in the battle. The king, who foolishly put himself in the thick of the battle as if he were an ordinary soldier, was among the many, many dead. His body was so mutilated that there rumors for years that the body was not his and that the king had escaped.
Unfortunately for Scotland, the king left a seventeen-month-old babe as heir to the throne. Pro-French and pro-English factions vied for power, and clan chieftains saw an opportunity to increase their lands and influence.
The young and handsome Douglas chieftain, the Earl of Angus, charmed his way into the queen’s bed almost before the king’s body was cold. The fact that Margaret Tudor was pregnant with the dead king’s child did not appear to give either of them much pause.
|Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus|
Douglas overplayed his hand when he married Margaret. The Council was leery of having their enemy’s sister as regent and was glad for an excuse to replace her with the Duke of Albany, a Stewart who was raised in France. Margaret, however, refused to hand over the royal children until Albany laid siege to Stirling Castle.
|Margaret Tudor Defying Parliament|
James IV was a Renaissance man, ahead of his time. In addition to supporting education, music, and new architecture, he unified his fractious country, skillfully negotiated European politics, and brought a period of relative peace to Scotland.
The four heroes of my RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS series left for France five years before the battle that changed everything. As soon as they hear the news of the Scot’s devastating loss to Henry VIII’s forces at Flodden, they hurry home to help their clan through the troubled times ahead.
And troubled times they were.
http://www.margaretmallory.com/. Leave a comment for your chance to win a signed copy of Ms. Mallory's new release: THE GUARDIAN!!!
THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS: BOOK I
Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can't prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.
After years of fighting abroad, Ian MacDonald comes home to find his clan in peril. To save his kin, he must right the wrongs from his past . . . and claim the bride he's long resisted.
As a young lass, Sìleas depended on Ian to play her knight in shining armor. But when his rescue attempt compromised her virtue, Ian was forced to marry against his wishes. Five years later, Sìleas has grown from an awkward girl into an independent beauty who knows she deserves better than the reluctant husband who preferred war to his wife. Now this devilishly handsome Highlander is finally falling in love. He wants a second chance with Sìleas - and he won't take no for an answer.
Photos courtesy of Wikipedia, with the exception for the photo of The Great Hall, which was taken by the author, the author's photo, and the cover picture.