Uncaged Feature Author – Regan Walker

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The series is set in medieval Scotland and Ireland and spans the 12th to the 15th centuries. It tells the stories of the Clan Donald chieftains, the great sea lords who plied the waters of the Hebrides and the Irish Sea in their galleys, and the women they loved. The chiefs ruled the western Highlands and Isles for four hundred years and were men of great deeds. It’s my first venture into historical fiction where almost all the characters are real historical figures. I began with Somerled in Summer Warrior, and then Angus Og Macdonald, the friend of Robert the Bruce, in Bound by Honor, and my latest release, The Strongest Heart, tells the story of Donald Macdonald of Harlaw.
As for how many books will be in the series, I would say at least four. The fourth is Born to Trouble and that’s the one I am writing now.

Like most Americans, my ancestry draws from many countries but at least a third of mine is Scottish, in particular Clan Donald and the Isle of Islay. I first became interested in Somerled, the Norse-Gael who forged the Kingdom of the Isles. His parentage was noble, of the Kings of Dublin, the royal house of Argyll and the great Ard Ri, the High Kings of Ireland. His story and his love for a Norse king’s daughter are told in Summer Warrior. From there, I set out to tell about the chiefs who descended from him.

The most difficult is always the battle scene. Medieval battles were brutal and while I want to be realistic, I don’t want my readers to be put off. It’s a delicate balance at times. The easiest scenes are the ones where the characters reflect on their families, their times and the things they can’t change but want to. In the story I’m writing now, Born to Trouble, Alexander, the Lord of the Isles, has three women in his life as love interests and that will require some delicacy to get it right.

The Strongest Heart
Regan Walker
Historical Scottish Fiction

In the late 14th century, the Kingdom of the Isles was under assault from the ambitious Albany Stewarts, who were taking advantage of Scotland’s empty throne to increase their power. Jealous of the Macdonald lordship to the west, the ruthless Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, thwarted Donald of Islay, Lord of the Isles, at every turn.

A man of keen intelligence, strategy and faith, educated at Oxford and a frequent guest of England’s kings, Donald did not intend to allow a traitorous royal thug to rob him of his legacy. The Earldom of Ross was the buffer he needed to keep the Isles safe. Not unmindful of all that was at stake, he took as his bride Mariota, heiress to the Earldom of Ross.

What he could not achieve through diplomacy or marriage, Donald was prepared to claim by right of the sword. In the greatest battle Scotland has ever seen, he would demonstrate the power of the Isles to become the Hero of Harlaw.

Excerpt