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THE GUARDIANS—Book Two Coming Up…

For those of you Constant and Faithful Readers who have been questioning my lengthy absences from these pages in the past while . . . not to mention my lacklustre performances as an absolute tyro on Twitter and FaceBook . . . I can only claim that I’ve been working hard on your behalf, cobbling the next book together. It’s not done yet; I have a couple of weeks remaining to my hard Deadline, but I’m feeling sanguine about making it.

It’s been an Odyssey, putting this one together, because it has taken me far out of my way along paths I hadn’t dreamed about before I started writing, but I can say with complete honesty that I’ve enjoyed the journey and I’m excited (perhaps foolishly and only the passage of time will reveal that) by what I have. You, of course, will cast the votes on whether or not I’ve succeeded in what I’ve tried to do…

I’ll post a sample chapter for your exploration in a day or two. It will, of course, be raw and unedited—exactly as I set it down in the first place—and it will be subject to change and perhaps even to Editorial shears before the book actually appears on bookshelves. But it’ll give you a small taste of what’s upcoming. This novel’s title in Canada and in the UK will be "Renegade", though the American publishers insist at this point on going with the more prosaic, "Robert the Bruce" for the U.S. Edition, and it deals with Robert the Bruce in much the same fashion as its predecessor, "The Forest Laird", dealt with Sir William Wallace: it examines his boyhood and young manhood in the light of the little we know about the shapes and influences that moulded him into the Champion he became… As a personal aside, I found myself in utter disbelief over the way in which so many of the astoundingly powerful influences brought to bear on the young Bruce have been completely ignored by academic historians who then go on to say they they have no idea how or why Bruce could conceivably have done some of the things he did in later life… Of course, as academic historians, all they can do is record and comment upon the existing written evidence. I, on the other hand, as a novelist, can look at what’s indisputably there and go on to speculate about all kinds of things…

One thing has emerged for me as certainty—the single most powerful influence in Bruce’s young life, the catalyst who made him what he became, was his amazing grandfather, another Robert Bruce who died at the approximate age of eighty when his grandson the future king was twenty-one, and who has been marginalized and eclipsed ever since by the huge success and undying fame of his grandson. Not so in this novel. Robert Bruce grandpère is a huge character in "Renegade". You’ll like him, I promise.

"The Forest Laird" (Its Title is "Rebel" in the UK, where it’s published by Sphere Books) ends in May, 1297, at the point when William Wallace is set to launch his great uprising against the English occupation of Scotland.

"Renegade", not quite a sequel but more of a change of perspective, also ends in May, 1297, when Bruce defies and turns his back on England’s king, goes over to join the Scots “rebels” and meets William Wallace—a nearly accidental encounter that will have grave and far-reaching consequences for the conquest-hungry English.

Book Three, then, currently nameless, though I’ve started working on it, will begin at that point as the continuation of Father Jamie Wallace’s chronicle of the life and exploits of his famous cousin Sir William. It will examine, through Father Jamie’s curious eyes, the remarkable relationship that grew up between the two young champions, Wallace and Bruce, for again, though there is no hard, empirical evidence existing that the two were ever friends—or even met for any lengths of time—no rational (wouldya believe speculative?) examination of the influences each had on the other leaves any room for denial of the probability that each of them must have known, and in all probability admired, the other. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Bruce’s admiration for Wallace must have been immense, because he based his entire style of warfare, after the Guardian’s death, on Wallace’s techniques, strategies and tactics. This novel, whatever its name, will end in 1306, a year after Wallace’s execution in England, when Bruce seizes the Scots throne and is crowned at Scone, with the 16-year-old James Douglas in attendance, as Robert I, King of Scots.

The story will then continue from that point, seen through the eyes of the brilliant Sir James Douglas, The Black Douglas to his enemies and The Good Sir James to all of Scotland. It will detail the reign of the King, through his painstaking establishment of the King’s Peace and the unification of Scotland as a nation, through the victory over the English at Bannockburn, against odds of more than three to one, and on to Bruce’s death at the age of 51, when Douglas took the King’s embalmed heart on Crusade into Spain against the Moors. There Douglas himself was killed defending and protecting the casket containing the royal heart, earning for himself and his descendants the undying honour of displaying a Crowned Heart in red and gold on a white field, as the centrepiece of the Douglas coat of arms…

There, then; that’s as up to date is I can bring you, and now you all know just about as much as me.


I am very excited to get my hands on "Renegade". When I finished "The Forest Laird" I went out and bought Nigel Tranter's "The Wallace" and his Robert the Bruce trilogy. This was in an attempt to make the wait for "Renegade" seem shorter, but it backfired and I've been dying to get my hands on this book more than ever. Is there any news about the audiobooks for your novels? Also, I like the new layout for your website. Best yet I think.

Fifer's picture

So looking forward to this one,he was a neighbor of mine when I lived in Dunfermline and this May I will visit Melrose and have a heart to heart with him.

lolvickib's picture

Love the new look of the site. I'm always of two minds when offered a "sneak preview" of a book (especially one of yours) when I know it won't be available for a while yet. Should I wait so that I can keep reading, or give in and read the chapter, knowing that I will be in agony awaiting the publishing of the book. Needless to say I caved in to the temptation and now will be counting the months, weeks, and days till I have the book in my hands.

Nice to hear your introductions in the various could only be better if you read the excerpt...but then I am greedy!


Good afternoon; seems like I waited years to be able to buy the 1st book here in the US. When will the 2nd book be available in the US?
Love all your books. Have read the Arthurian and Templars sagas.

Robert.. I refused to let the American Publishing industry force me to wait so I have already ordered my copy of The Renegade from Amazon Canada... you might want to think about that as well...

Cathy's picture

Hi Jack,

Just wondering. Since the series is now going to comprised of four books, will RENEGADE still be indicated as being a part of 'The Guardians Trilogy', or will the covers of the books now indicate them as being a part of 'The Guardians' - sans the 'Trilogy' indicator?

KrispinZ's picture

I have it all planned out. I will be finishing the Arthurian Saga for the second time soon. Then I'll work my way through the Templar trilogy. By then the Guardians Trilogy will be ready to go. After that I might just start the cycle over again. I find re-reading the books allows me to pick up on things I missed the first time around.

When approximately do you expect the second book in the guardian series the renegade to be released in the USA? Is there any possibility of a book signing in Mpls,Mn in the future? It would be a blessing or say dream.

jack's picture

Sorry to have taken so long to get back here, Folks, but the Tax Man has been claiming a lot of my attention recently, on top of which I'm heavily involved right now in the Story editing of "Renegade", working on what I hope will be the last additions to/amplifications of the manuscript with Catherine Marjoribanks, my Substantive Editor. As soon as that's completed (and, I hope, with a couple of weeks grace time between) I move on to the nit-picky Copy Editing process with the brilliant Shaun Oakey whose prowess never fails to leave me awe-stricken... Pub date in Canada will be late July to early August this year, but I can't say with any kind of certainty when the US edition will see daylight... They'll have the edited manuscript as soon as it's finished for the Canadian edition, but I've no idea how or when they're scheduled to produce it... Ditto for the folks at Sphere Books in Britain. From what I gather, though, and despite the fact that the novel will be called "Renegade" in Canada and the UK, it will appear in the USA as "Robert the Bruce"...

And as an aside, in response to Cathy's earlier question about the impact of the fourth book on the "Trilogy", I have to say I honestly don't know. Penguin Canada is already promoting the series as "The Guardians Trilogy" and they'll probably want to stick with that and add the fourth book as "The Conclusion to the Guardians Saga" or some such title. The Brits have renamed the series over there as "The Bravehearts Chronicle", so there's no problem there... And I can't speak yet for Forge/Tor in the 'States. However it turns out, though, I only realized very recently that there had to be four books in the tale. It wasn't something I decided consciously until it jumped up and bit me, in the middle of the current book, and then--and only then--the inevitabilities made themselves abundantly clear. So now we have a Quartet...

andersm's picture

Jack, you will join the Nobel Prize winning author Henryk Sienkievicz whose own trilogy, With Fire and Sword, The Deluge and Fire on the Steppe, came in a set of four books. Readers of well-written books are always delighted when more are added.


"How you do anything is how you do everything."

Cathy's picture

I remember when Douglas Adams came out with "So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish", they decided to call his Hitchhiker series "A Trilogy In Four Parts".

Of course, after "Mostly Harmless" was released posthumously, it was changed to "A Trilogy In Five Parts".

Maybe you could coin a new term, and call it a quatrilogy.

lolvickib's picture

About there being another book to the series. Well written, interesting characters are tough to leave after the last page is read. To find that the saga continues is music to my ears.
Know what you mean about taxes taking over your life. Paul is a dual citizen so has to file in two countries. Makes ya want to pull out your hair!

Eric Rappe's picture

I am ashamed to admit that I have walked the wrong path for some time. I have been up to my neck in writing my first book, and rereading your templar books and the Arthurian Saga that I was unaware until finding this website that you had a new series happening. Needless to say I ordered book one today. I am looking forward to reading it. I am going to publish my book independently, unless you can convince me why I should not, so I have no deadline, and reading your work will be a wonderful break from writing mine. I am a huge fan. Thanks for what you write!

Eric Rappe's picture

I have never been someone who could sit down and read a book in a hurry. I am simply a slow reader, but I think that this might work in my favor. I received The Forest Laird in the mail on friday, and simply can not put it down. I am glad that I am so slow to read, because this book will last longer! So far Mr. Whyte, another home run!

jack's picture

Thanks for this, Eric:

I've often said the the most tragic day in a writer's life is the day he first realizes that there are people out there who read faster than he can write... So don't let yourself feel constrained to hurry.

Eric Rappe's picture

I would never try to hurry. If you want to enjoy something, you should never hurry it, and I enjoy your writing immensely.

Eric Rappe's picture

I just noticed that there are many different covers to your books, including at least 2 for "The Forest Laird". I was wondering if this is due to different countries they are printed in and a decision made by publishers, or if there is some other reason for it. Just wondering.

Cathy's picture

I see that Penguin Canada has now got an October 2, 2012 date for the book on their website.

Redcoat7121's picture

I can't wait to read these books...just found out today! YAHOO

GoofyGrin's picture

I know I'm coming late to this conversation, but about 1 AM last night I finished reading The Forest Laird and my hoest reaction was "WHAT??? IT STOPS HERE???"  So glad you are writing more books to fill out this story.  Love your writing - it's kinda addictive - looking forward to the next release.

jack's picture

Hi, GoofyGrin. I'm glad you enjoyed the story and want more. The second book in the series has just been released. It's called "The Renegade"  and it's not quite a sequel. It's a tale of Robert the Bruce's boyhood, very different to Wallace's, and it ends in the same month and year as Will Wallace's tale, just in time for the two future champions to meet in Book Three, "The Guardian," which I'm writing now. "The Renegade" came out in hardcover here in Canada on October 2nd, about three weeks ago, and it's selling in Costco, I'm told, for $19.99.
Of course, if you're American (because I've no idea where in the world you are) then the book won't appear down there until August next year, and then it will probably be published as "Robert the Bruce" because that's what the U.S. publisher wants...
And just to confuse things farther, the UK edition won't come out in print until January, 2014--don't even think about writing to ask me why--and it will have the one-word title "Renegade."
But thank God for ebooks, because the Kindle/Cobo/Etc version will be widely available for download long before any of the print editions hit the bookshelves.

Mr. Whyte I am loving The Renegade so far. I live in the US but refused to wait until a US Publisher decides to release it, so I ordered my copy from Amazon Canada. I will end up doing the same thing for the next book once lists it for pre-order.
GoofyGrin.. I would recommend you do as I did and order from to get The Renegade right away.

GoofyGrin's picture

<p>This will likely make me sound like a whiner...but, I prefer to read softcovers due to bad arthritis in my hands and arms. It is not a cost thing. Do you know when Renegade will be in soft cover in Canada - or does that depend on sale figures?</p>

jack's picture

It's a formulaic thing and it varies from country to country, but here in Canada my publishers like to leave the hardcover version out there on the bookshelves for a year, before bringing out the mass-market paperback... Makes sense, when you think about it, for once the paperback appears, that's the end of harcover sales. So you can expect the "Renegade" paperback to show up next July/August.

Cathy's picture

Have you any idea if Penguin is going to produce a trailer for THE RENEGADE, like the one they created for THE FOREST LAIRD?
They definitely need to update their website for the Guardians series, to reflect that it is now called a series, and not a trilogy.  And add a page for THE RENEGADE while they're at it.

jack's picture

Very valid points, Cathy. I'll follow up on them.

Jack in the News!
  • The Globe and Mail 1/2/2105
    Author Jack Whyte on why he wrote his new book, the best advice he’s received and more
  • Edmonton Journal 12/5/2014
    Book review: Engrossing Jack Whyte trilogy culminates in battle
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