"On 7 June 1329 died Robert Bruce, of goodly memory, the illustrious King of Scots, at Cardross in the 24th year of his reign. He was beyond all living men of his day, a valiant knight" wrote a contemporary chronicler. Bruce's body was buried in Dunfermline Abbey, his heart removed to be taken on crusade to the Holy Land - at his dying request - but later returned to Scotland for burial, and interred at Melrose Abbey. For over 600 years, Robert Bruce has had his own place in Scottish history, his position almost that of patron saint, and that the story of his life as hero king has held the minds of the champions of Scottish nationalism for generations.
Yet behind this legendary figure is a complex, and in many ways, more fascinating picture, a man who not only led his nation to a famous victory over the English at Bannockburn, and who is commemorated in his followers' national anthem "Flower of Scotland", but who overcame great odds to win power for himself in Scotland and was determined to succeed in fulfilling his family's long-held ambition for political power.
This book takes the reader on Bruce's journey, from his birth in south-west Scotland to a family with strong connections in Annandale, Cumberland and north Yorkshire, to his kingship and triumph at Bannockburn. Here are the sites and settings associated with Robert Bruce in the years following the death of King Alexander III or Scotland in 1329 - the Scotland of Braveheart, of war with England in the 13th century and of political power struggles within Scotland itself.