Thursday, 10 January 2008

Nigel Tranter "Hope Endures"


One of the New Year Resoultions made by Ian was to list the books he read this year. First of all he had to read them and, more to the point, finish them. If I were to restrict this blog to books I finished (as was my original intention) Nigel Tranter's "Hope Endures" would not get a mention. I got as far as page 74 (of 198). I have read a tremendous number of Nigel Tranter books in the past but I found this a bit bland. I think I may just have outgrown the author now.

"The story of Thomas Hope, who counselled three kings through a tumultuous time in Scottish history. An age of change, violence and upheaval brought vividly to life in this gripping historical novel by one of Scotland's best-loved authors. "Hope Endures" is the last novel Nigel Tranter completed before his death in January 2000. The son of an Edinburgh merchant, Hope had a spectacular beginning to his career: at the age of seventeen, before he had even finished his legal education, he travelled to France to triumph in his first court case and caught the attention of his young king, James VI. It was the beginning of a life at the heart of the government of Scotland. From James VI and I to Cromwell, from John Knox to Montrose, Lord Advocate Hope was a rock in a fast-changing world. He witnessed the reigns of Charles I and Charles II, the founding of the East India Company, affairs of state and affairs of the heart, matters political and diplomatic, No dry-as-dust-lawyer, he was a friend as well as an advisor to the three kings he served."

NIGEL TRANTER OBE, one of Scotland's best-loved authors, wrote over ninety novels on Scottish history. "In November 1999, the well-known Scottish novelist, Nigel Tranter, OBE, celebrated his 90th birthday at his home in Gullane, East Lothian. He was in fine form on that occasion - regaling people with his stories, as he loved to do. He was still working away on his latest novels, taking notes during his walks on the sands at Aberlady Bay on the shores of the river Forth, east of Edinburgh, in his ubiquitous notebook. Unfortunately, he became one of the casualties of the influenza outbreak which gripped Scotland that year and he passed away suddenly on Sunday, 8 January. Magnus Linklater, the chairman of the Scottish Arts Council said that he popularised Scottish history more than anyone else in the last 100 years. Others commented that the only history many Scots knew had been learned from reading Tranter's stories, which were as historically accurate as he could make them. He disliked conventional "history" and brought the past to life by his storytelling. A short outline of his life and achievements can be found at"
His works include -

MacGregor Trilogy
1. MacGregor's Gathering (1957)
2. The Clansman (1959)
3. Gold For Prince Charlie (1962)

Master of Gray Trilogy
1. Lord and Master (1961)
2. The Courtesan (1963)
3. Past Master (1965)

Bruce Trilogy
1. The Steps To The Empty Throne (1969)
2. The Path of the Hero King (1970)
3. The Price of the King's Peace (1971)

1. The Young Montrose (1972)
2. Montrose, the Captain-General (1973)

House of Stewart Trilogy
1. Lords of Misrule (1976)
2. A Folly of Princes (1977)
3. The Captive Crown (1977)

James V Trilogy
1. The Riven Realm (1984)
2. James By The Grace of God (1985)
3. Rough Wooing (1986)

Mary Stewart Trilogy
1. Price of a Princess (1994)
2. Lord in Waiting (1994)

Novels -
Trespass (1937)
Mammon's Daughter (1939)
Harsh Heritage (1940)
Watershed (1941)
Eagle Feathers (1941)
The Gilded Fleece (1942)
Delayed Action (1944)
Tinker's Pride (1945)
Flight of Dutchmen (1946)
Island Twilight (1947)
Man's Estate (1947)
Colours Flying (1948)
Root and Branch (1948)
The Stone (1948)
The Chosen Course (1949)
The Freebooters (1950)
Fair Game (1950)
High Spirits (1950)
Fast and Loose (1951)
Tidewrack (1951)
Bridal Path (1952)
Cheviot Chase (1952)
The Queen's Grace (1953)
Ducks and Drakes (1953)
The Night Riders (1954)
Rum Week (1954)
Rio D'Oro (1955)
There Are Worse Jungles (1955)
The Long Coffin (1956)
The Enduring Flame (1957)
Balefire (1958)
Spaniards' Isle (1958)
Man Behind the Curtain (1959)
The Flockmasters (1960)
Nestor the Monster (1960)
Spanish Galleon (1960)
Kettle of Fish (1961)
Birds of a Feather (1961)
The Deer Poachers (1961)
Drug On The Market (1962)
Something Very Fishy (1962)
Give a Dog a Bad Name (1963)
Chain of Destiny (1964)
Silver Island (1964)
Pursuit (1965)
Stake in the Kingdom (1966)
Fire and High Water (1967)
Lion Let Loose (1967)
Tinker Tess (1967)
Cable From Kabul (1967)
To the Rescue (1968)
Black Douglas (1968)
The Wisest Fool (1974)
The Wallace (1975)
Border Riding (1977)
Macbeth The King (1978)
Margaret The Queen (1979)
David The Prince (1980)
True Thomas (1981)
The Patriot (1982)
Lord of the Isles (1983)
Unicorn Rampant (1984)
Cache Down (1987)
Columba (1987)
Flowers of Chivalry (1987)
Mail Royal (1989)
Warden of the Queen's March (1989)
Kenneth (1990)
Crusader (1991)
Children of the Mist (1992)
Druid Sacrifice (1993)
Tapestry of the Boar (1993)
Highness in Hiding (1995)
Honours Even (1995)
A Rage of Regents (1996)
Poetic Justice (1996)
The Marchman (1997)
The Lion's Whelp (1997)
High Kings and Vikings (1998)
A Flame for the Fire (1998)
Sword of State (1999)
Envoy Extraordinary (1999)
Courting Favour (2000)
The End of the Line (2000)
The Admiral (2001)
Triple Alliance (2001)
The Islesman (2003)
Right Royal Friend (2003)
Marie and Mary (2004)
Hope Endures (2005)

With a couple of exceptions I have read all of them up to about 1993, many twice as, second time around, I endeavoured to read them in chronological order. Of them all I would undoubtedly recommend the Robert the Bruce trilogy as being among the best of his works.

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