A KING ENSNARED By J.R. Tomlin (Book 1 of the Stewart Chronicles) a Review by Joan Adamak

     This is an historical novel, setting forth the life and events surrounding James Stewart, Earl of Carrick, Prince of Scotland and heir to the throne, eventually becoming James I, King of Scots.  James was the youngest son of Scotland’s King Robert III, an old man who let his son David be taken as hostage by the Duke of Albany, younger half-brother of King Robert II who intended one day to be King of Scotland.  While David was in the Duke’s care, rather than kill him outright, he starved David until he died.  James was about twelve years old then and he never forgave his father for letting it happen and then not punishing the Duke of Albany, not realizing that the King did not have the forces to capture the Duke.
     Loyal Scottish Lords to James, since he will be king of Scotland when his father dies, attempt to get him to safety in France, who is at war with England. But James is captured by the English and placed in the Tower of London by King Henry IV and spends many years there for one day King Henry IV intends to make Scotland part of England.  James does find a boy companion also imprisoned in the Tower, who is an heir to the throne of Wales. But he isn’t treated as well as James.  Through the years James learns to wrestle, use the sword, build his body so that he is strong and muscular, as he never forgets that one day, although he doesn’t know how, he will be King of Scotland.  But King Henry IV dies and although he had his son and heir to the throne swear  that he would free James, his son King Henry V did not do so. Instead he told James he would allow him to go home for a year as a probationer if he swore fealty to Henry V.  James wouldn’t do this but as time passed, Henry V, intent one way or another to have James and Scotland under his control kept James at his side to teach him about how to win a war as Henry V fought France.  Eventually Henry conquered enough of France that he made a pact with them that he would quit fighting if Catherine, a princess of France married him and Henry V would be ruler of both England and France.
     The author followed historical events as closely as he could and attempted to create the characters of his story to be as close to who they were, based on the little he could find out about them. He gave a bibliography and is writing a sequel to this book.  This story reads fast, is a page turner and fascinating.

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