Brits on Bruce

Some time ago, before we launched into these recent website renovations, I wrote in here about the British version of The Guardians Trilogy and how, yet again, a publisher had changed the title of a series. At that time, two of the novels had been published in Britain, with The Forest Laird renamed to REBEL and The Renegade issued as RESISTANCE. The third book in the series, The Guardian, had not yet been named at that time.
I mentioned in that ear;lier post that the reasons underlying these name changes were valid and sensible, given that the British marketplace is very different from the one we have here in North America. There has been a plethora of books on Wallace published in Britain in the aftermath of the Braveheart movie, and they’ve pretty much exhausted every possible variation on the names Wallace and Braveheart, so Sphere Books opted for the simple, one-word title REBEL for the first book. Similarly, they chose next to go with RESISTANCE because a popular UK novelist called Robyn Young had already published a book on Robert the Bruce called “Renegade”…

UK UPRISING CoverThe third book, issued here in Canada as The Guardian, has now been renamed and released in Britain, with the title UPRISING, and once again the reason for the change makes sense in the British market. 2014 marked the 700th anniversary of Bruce’s great victory over England’s barons at the battle of Bannockburn, and it was supposed to be a massive celebration of Scotland’s national identity, with a huge Homecoming celebration planned for returning migrants visiting from other countries. It was sidetracked, though, virtually derailed by the unforeseen national referendum on separation from the United Kingdom, and nothing much came of either celebration internationally.

Initially, though, in the three-year build-up to the start of the anniversary year, public interest in the event was huge in Scotland and the excitement spawned a number of novels on and about Bruce and Bannockburn, and so, once again, my British publisher, Sphere Books, chose to go with a simple but provocative, one word title that invited examination without invoking the names of either Wallace or Bruce. The strategy seems to be successful, for I’m told the books are selling well over there, and until the royalty cheques start coming in, I’ll have to take that on faith…