top of page

A Douglas! A Douglas! - an Editorial Review of "Trust and Treason"

Book Blurb:

Since the Scots' horrific loss at the Battle of Neville's Cross, the powerful English hungrily eye Scotland's lands.

Archibald Douglas, a landless bastard knight, will defend the kingdom until his last breath and with his life's blood. But in this fight, who can he trust? And who is the traitor? It may not be who he once thought.

Author Bio:

J R Tomlin is the author of nineteen historical novels.

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

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

Editorial Review:

Hugh was my father's last living brother. All his brothers had died in the war, but as the youngest child, he was sent to be a cleric. Some clerics were warlike, but Hugh was not one of them. In the war against England, the Lord of Douglas had a duty to fight. So, at last, he resigned the lordship of Douglas to my cousin, and he had added my name to the entail, making me the heir should all other males in the Douglas line die. Adding a bastard had shocked everyone, including me.

In the continuing story of Archibald Douglas from the previous first book in the series, “The Douglas Bastard”, Ms Tomlin engages the reader and builds this enthralling story of a young man, knighted in the first book, trying to discover the correct path of Scotland's future, a tenuous one between trust and treason. After escaping the horrific slaughter at the Battle of Neville's Cross, Archie gathers loyal men and his strength in an attempt to thwart pockets of English soldiers throughout the countryside. His loyalty to the King is fixed, even as he faces questions about his own family's loyalty, and his desire to create a future for himself with a beautiful young lass named Jonetta. Death ravages Scotland as the plague takes hold, sweeping up from London, and Archie continues to build on his chivalric life as a knight, fighting in tournaments and continuing to rout out the pestilent English. His own loyalty is tested when the man he viewed as a father turns traitor... and the result of Archie's decision will set his future course and that of Scotland.

Robert Stewart and the Earl of Dunbar ran from the battle like dogs with tails between their legs.” I leaned over and spit into the rushes on the floor to get the taste of treachery out of my mouth. “They left the rest of us to be slaughtered. Sir William was captured. I dinnae ken how many of his men escaped.... I crawled through the bodies of the slain to escape.”

Ms Tomlin again hits the mark in this splendid tale of Scottish history – the historical aspects and the Scottish brogue are woven into the storyline with skill, and the reader is taken even deeper into Archie's mindset and motivations. The descriptive passages of the landscape, of the ravages of the Black Death, and the battles raged paint a clear picture of life in medieval Scotland and the author's skill at world-building is excellent. While the narrative is easily read within one sitting, it is quite immersive with fleshed-out characters which a reader can connect with on a very human and personal level.

All the lords we could have depended on were captured or dead. Sir William pressured my cousin, the Lord of Douglas, to return to Scotland after Hugh resigned the title. I chewed my lip, wondering why Douglas had refused. Most of this part of Scotland was his land as lord. You would think he would want to be here to claim them.

While “The Douglas Bastard” is as smooth as a dram of Scottish whiskey, “Truth and Treason” is a chaser of rich hearty ale, and is 'highly recommended'.

It isnae like you are our Lord. If you were the Douglas, that would be different. You'd have the right to call me to your service. But you are nae.”

Aye. I am nae lord.” There was no point in mentioning I was a Douglas. I was not the Douglas. “I take your meaning, that your family cannae lose you. Aye, they would turn freeholders into villeins if they could, but driving them out is the only way to stop that. That ends their maltolt as well.”


Trust and Treason” by JR Tomlin receives 5 stars from The Historical Fiction Company and the 'Highly Recommended” award of excellence.


bottom of page