Friday, June 25, 2010


Blue Bells of Scotland is both historical fiction and a tale of 'time-leap' redemption. The American author Laura Vosika has enjoyed well deserved success with this, the first in a trilogy - expect Book Two in September 2010. Here's an excerpt set the night before a certain battle and featuring a certain fabulous lyric - Scots among you will be able to hear the defiant music as you read! 

Just hum the tune, name the battle, and leave any nationalistic comments that you wish (within reason!).

"Beautiful," said Robert. "A finer tribute to my brave men I've never heard. Give us another."

Shawn nodded, smiled to himself at the irony, and started his father's favorite, a tribute and lament to Bruce himself. His father had changed the words to reflect a battle won. It was unthinkable to sing any others, now. These men would fight bravely, and if he couldn't change history, at least they would die with hope roaring like forest fires in their hearts.

O Flower of Scotland,
When will we see your like again
That fought and died for your wee bit of hill and glen,
And stood against him, proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward, tae think again.

Men nodded, grunting their agreement.

Those days are past now,
And in the past they must remain
But we can still rise now and be the nation again.

As he returned to the chorus, men joined, a solid wall of confidence. Chills shot up Shawn's arms. Was he feeding them lies, or giving them the morale that would change their futures? It didn't matter. He sang with the rest, louder and stronger, and heard the words taken up at the next campfire, rich with tenors and basses.

That stood against him, Proud Edward's army,
And sent him homeward tae think again.

And louder still, from more campfires, the treble voices of boys who should be in school, the creaky voices of men who should be fishing at their cabins, and the forceful voices of Hugh and dozens of powerful men who would ride their garrons or carry mighty lances in tight schiltrons tomorrow, against charging warhorses:

That stood against him Proud Edward's army,
And sent him homeward tae think again.

The song ended. Voices stilled, till only the chitter of insects remained, humming in the night. It was like the moment when Conrad stood frozen, arms suspended in midair; the moment when the orchestra finished, but the last notes reverberated invisibly, and no one was yet willing to break the magic. Hope crackled all around them.
The Bruce raised his head. "A man who sees the future, as I thought."
 Click on 'comment' and go for it!


Nan Hawthorne, Shield-wall Books said...


I read this novel.. it was terrific. See my review at That's All She Read

Nan Hawthorne

Carla said...

Murrayfield :-)

lordteaspoon said...

Well actually I like Carla's idea. The way the Scots walked out onto that hallowed turf in 1990 (was it) and have sent the English home to think again on many occasions, but not that often actually, is a sight to behold. I've never been to either battle site. But I will soon. "Oh Flower of Scotland...." (much better than the English national anthem!)
Alistair (-;

Carla said...

much better than the English national anthem!
Not hard :-)

Michael said...

Bannockburn, even though I haven´t read the book.