BOOK TOUR: Archibald the Grim Series by J.R. Tomlin #HistoricalFiction

The Douglas Bastard
Archibald the Grim Series
J R Tomlin
Publication Date: April 26, 2022

Young Archibald, the Black Douglas’s bastard son, returns from exile to a Scotland ravaged by war. The war-hardened Knight of Liddesdale will teach him what he must learn. And with danger on every side, he must learn to sleep with one eye open and a claymore in his hand because even their closest ally may betray them…

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Guest Post:

My fascination with James, Lord of Douglas, known as the Black Douglas, came early from my granny reading me stories of his fight beside King Robert the Bruce for Scotland’s independence. My first trilogy was about this great knight. I did not give much thought to his sons for a long time. His older and ‘legitimate’ son died in battle while still in his teens, leaving only young Archibald. But Archibald was not his heir.

Archibald, as the chronicler Jean Froissart put it, “was held of little account because he was a bastard.” They underestimated him. Archibald inherited his father’s appearance, a dark, large man, and his father’s skill in battle. Even so, in his youth, he followed the man who carried on in James’s fight, his cousin, William Douglas, the Knight of Liddesdale.

The Knight of Liddesdale made Archie his squire. With this great fighter, Archie learned all he needed to know, as Liddesdale had learned from King Robert and the Black Douglas who went before.

On foot should be all Scottish war.

Let hill and marsh their foes debar

And woods and walls prove such an arm

That enemies do them no harm.

In hidden spots, keep every store

And burn the plainlands them before.

So, when they find the land lie waste

Needs must they pass away in haste,

Harried by cunning raids at night

And threatening sounds from every height.

Then as they leave, with great array,

Smite with the sword and chase away.

This is the counsel and intent

Of Good King Robert’s Testament.

Against the English, Archie learned to use the tactics of night attacks, ambushes, escalades of castle walls, and simple deception as he and Liddesdale recaptured castles and drove the English from their land. To these skills, he added to his strong sword arm that soon struck fear into any enemy he faced. Even so, he was still held of ‘little account.’

However, Archie also had a good friend, King David of Scotland, who would make a big difference in his life. As soon as the King was old enough to rule in his own right, David returned from exile to Scotland, determined to lead the fight against the English. And at his side in that fight, he meant to have Archie. Archie would fight for his King, whatever it might cost—and the cost would be high.

About the Author:

J R Tomlin is the author of twenty historical novels.

Her historical novels are mainly set in Scotland. You can trace her love of that nation to the stories of Robert the Bruce and the Black Douglas that her grandmother read her when she was small and to her hillwalking through the Scottish Cairngorms where the granite mountains have a gorgeous red glow under the setting sun.

In addition to having lived in Scotland, she has traveled in the US, mainland Europe and the Pacific Rim. She now lives in Oregon.



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