On the 11th June in 1488, two armies meet in battle at Sauchieburn, near Stirling. One fights for King James the Third of Scotland, the other is loyal to his eldest son, Prince James, Duke of Rothesay.
Soon, James the Third is dead, murdered as he flees the field. His army is routed. Among the dead is Sir Thomas Sempill of Ellestoun, Sheriff of Renfrew, whose son and heir, John, escapes with his life.
Once John’s career as knight and courtier seemed assured. But with the death of his king, his situation is fragile. He’s the only surviving son of the Sempill line and he’s unmarried. If he hopes to survive, John must try and win favour with the new king.
And deal with the ruthless and powerful Lord Montgomerie…
Praise for Fire & Sword
“Louise Turner skillfully brings to life the conflict-ridden world of 15th century Scotland. Based on the true story of John Sempill, the narrative takes us from near ruin to an uneasy but satisfying final triumph. Thomas is a wonderfully flawed character, not your typical knight-in-shining-armor, but a young man plagued by uncertainty, prone to dark moods, and keenly aware of the ax hanging over his head. Hugh Montgomery, at once John’s nemesis and eventual ally, is simply delightful in his charisma and ruthlessness. The principle women of the story, Mary, Margaret, and Helen, bring fresh and varied perspectives to the events at hand, each one admirable in her own way. Honestly, I found nothing to complain about in this novel. It is expertly written, kept me turning the pages and reading late into the night. A fantastic debut, recommended for all fans of historical fiction, medieval times, and romance. I look forward to seeing what Turner has to offer next.” – Karin Rita Gastrich, Amazon Reviewer
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About the Author
Born in Glasgow, Louise Turner spent her early years in the west of Scotland where she attended the University of Glasgow. After graduating with an MA in Archaeology, she went on to complete a PhD on the Bronze Age metalwork hoards of Essex and Kent. She has since enjoyed a varied career in archaeology and cultural resource management. Writing has always been a major aspect of her life and in 1988, she won the Glasgow Herald/Albacon New Writing in SF competition with her short story Busman’s Holiday. Louise lives with her husband in west Renfrewshire.
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Release Date: 19 September, 2013
Publisher: Hadley Rille Books
Review Written: 16 June, 2014
Historical accuracy is a wonderful thing many times. It gives a firmer base, show that the writer spent a lot of time investing in understanding what they're writing about. However, sometimes historical accuracy can be taken too far. While it is common for multiple people to have the same name, especially in eras where the church's influence shows through the need for saintly names, it gets a bit confusing.
John Sempill seemed destined to be a knight. He was his father's heir, though often deemed too weak and useless by his father to do anything, and yet... With the downfall of King James the Third of Scotland, nothing seems certain anymore. Everywhere one turns, there's a conspiracy; another plot to under mind and overthrow his precarious position as the sole heir and survivor his father's army that has been vanquished. In a time of such great strife, one has to be careful lest you tempt fate.
John must find a way to deal with his father's killer, Lord Hugh Montgomerie, and get in good with the new king, King James I. Within this attempts, he must try to remain neutral for as long as possible without consequence.