The King's Swift Rider: A Novel on Robert the Bruce

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9780064472166: The King's Swift Rider: A Novel on Robert the Bruce

The perfect spy

While hunting for his family's dinner on the moor, sixteen-year-old Martin Crawford spies a lone man being hunted by five armed soldiers. He succeeds in rescuing the man, and is shocked to learn that he is none other than Robert the Bruce--rightful King of Scots. Martin wants to lead a quiet life; he is a scholar. But when the Bruce asks him to join his army and help to regain Scotland's freedom from the brutal English king, Martin cannot say no.

But he can refuse to fight. No matter what the Bruce or anyone else, says to him, Martin will not pick up a sword. Instead he will be the king's swift rider, a vital link in the Bruce's information network. Soon Martin is risking his life as one of the king's most trusted spies. For he knows that victory over the English will give the Scots their freedom, but defeat will kepp them slaves forever....

00-01 Tayshas High School Reading List

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About the Author:

Hailed as Scotland's most gifted storyteller and currently living in Inverness, Mollie Hunter has drawn many award-winning novels from her country's history. They include You Never Knew Her As I Did, a riveting tale about Mary, Queen of Scots, and her Carnegie Medal winner, The Stronghold. A Sound Of Chariots, her autobiographical novel, won the 1991 Phoenix Award from the Children's Literature Association.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 7 Up-Opening with a suspenseful chase scene reminiscent of Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped, Hunter plunges into the difficult task of bringing to life a hero of even earlier Scots history, Robert the Bruce. She tells his story from the point of view of the bookish and pacifistic Martin Crawford. Moved first by sympathy to distract the armed men pursuing a fleeing stranger and then by duty to join his king's war to free Scotland from English rule, Martin comes to admire the Bruce's ingenuity as a strategist as well as his religious piety. Over seven years, the young man and his brother follow the Bruce's forces all over Scotland as he consolidates his support before the final confrontation with England's King Edward. In the course of his service, Martin continues to refuse to lift a weapon but rises from king's page to swift rider, spy, and leader of a sham troop of banner carriers whose appearance at the turning point of a battle caused the final English retreat at Bannockburn and his brother, finally, to see him as a "soldier" in his own way. Late 20th-century readers might have difficulty understanding Martin's religious ambitions, and some may be turned off by the somewhat uneven pace. However, Hunter is a fine descriptive writer, giving a good sense of the battles and the period. She has, once again, provided a powerful sense of a very different place and time.
Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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