Historical novels by Nigel Tranter set before 1286

Nigel Tranter was a British author who wrote many novels based on actual historical events and characters.

This page includes those of his books set in Scotland from earliest times until the death of Alexander III in 1286.

For other historical novels by Nigel Tranter see Historical novels by Nigel Tranter set between 1286 and 1603 or Historical novels by Nigel Tranter set after 1603

For other books by Nigel Tranter see here.

List of books in chronological orderEdit

Historical novels by Nigel Tranter
Title Published Setting Summary
Druid Sacrifice 1993 by Hodder & Stoughton. Paperback edition 1993. 518–543 tells the story of Thanea, or Denw, the daughter of King Loth (Lleuddun) of Gododdin, and mother of Saint Mungo. When she objects to her pagan father's druidical practices, and refuses to marry the man picked out for her, she survives an 'execution' on Traprain Law and is cast adrift on the River Forth in a Coracle. She seeks sanctuary with the monks of Saint Serf, where she brings up her infant son.

Tranter's tale blends historical detail from early manuscripts with Scottish folklore and Arthurian legend. According to the latter, Loth is King Arthur's brother-in-law, and father of Gawain and Mordred.

Columba 1987 by Hodder & Stoughton. Paperback edition 1990. 561–597 approx tells of Saint Columba.
Kenneth 1990 by Hodder & Stoughton. Paperback edition 1992. 832–843 approx title character is Kenneth MacAlpin, who united the Picts and Scots.
High Kings and Vikings 1998 by Hodder & Stoughton. Paperback edition 1998. 995–1006
MacBeth the King 1978 by Hodder & Stoughton. Paperback edition 1981. 1032–1057 tells of Macbeth, who acceded the throne of Scotland in 1040. Starting with the historical record, Tranter has fleshed out the story, and his final 'Historical Note' explains some of his suppositions. From historical record, it is certain that Macbeth was a young, well-liked king, and bore little resemblance to Shakespeare's fictional version.
Margaret the Queen 1979 by Hodder & Stoughton. Paperback edition 1981. 1069–1093 The story of Saint Margaret of Scotland and her husband, Malcolm III (Canmore).
David the Prince 1980 by Hodder & Stoughton. Paperback edition 1982. 1100–1153 The story of Queen Margaret's sons Alexander I and David I.
Lord of the Isles 1983 by Hodder & Stoughton. Paperback edition 1985. 1135–1164 Somerled
Tapestry of the Boar' 1993 by Hodder & Stoughton. Paperback edition 1994. 1160–1166 focusses on Hugh de Swinton and his relationship with Malcolm IV
Sword of State 1999 by Hodder & Stoughton. Paperback edition 1999 1214–1249 follows Patrick II, Earl of Dunbar in his dealings with Alexander II.
Envoy Extraordinary 1999 by Hodder & Stoughton. 1249–1286 continues the tale of the Cospatricks, by following the life of Patrick III, Earl of Dunbar and Alexander III.
Crusader 1991 by Hodder & Stoughton. 1248–1264 Alexander III and David de Lindsay
True Thomas 1981 by Hodder & Stoughton. 1265–1292 Based on Thomas the Rhymer, it follows the life of Alexander III, and the turmoil of the kingdom following his death.