BETRAYAL. Treachery. Dishonesty. Lies. Greed. Hubris.

For Scottish author Lynda Kristiansen, not only is this a list of some of the elements which make up her new book, but they are also apt descriptors of modern political life.

Originally from Eskbank just outside Edinburgh, Kristiansen currently works as an IT director and has just finished the second of her planned eight-novel historical fiction series set during the Scottish Wars of Independence.

READ MORE: Haddington: Ancient town that saw longest siege in Scottish history

And despite the work being set in the 14th century, she says she’s noticed a lot of parallels with how Westminster looks today.

“Things haven’t really changed, it’s just that they don’t use swords anymore,” she says.

“We’re doing it differently now and in a way that reflects the times. But looking at this period has given me ideas about what’s happening now and how they would have dealt with it back then.”

Speaking to the Sunday National, the author spoke about her journey into writing, what appealed to her about such a tumultuous period of history and which former prime minister inspired a moment in her latest novel.

Becoming an author

Kristiansen explains that she had been “hunting around” for an idea for years, but it wasn’t until lockdown that she was really afforded the chance to get serious with writing. 

Her first book, Raise Dragon, was released in October 2021 and set the tone for her historical-adventure series.

Set in 1306, it features a host of historical Scots figures, including Robert the Bruce and Bishop Wishart, but it also focuses on four knights setting off in search of a mysterious and ancient treasure.

Her second book, Revenge Of The Tyrants, will continue that story and is set to be released at the end of April. 

“The second book is about trying to get this treasure out of France, but in the background, we have all the things happening to Bruce and the political situation in France,” she says.

“It started out as a Scotland-England series but I feel like that’s been done before so I started to expand it into Norway and into France.”

Although this is only book two, Kristiansen (below) has a clear idea of what the rest of the series will look like.

The National:

She understandably doesn’t want to give too much away but she says that the seventh novel will be about Bannockburn before the eighth turns to what happens in the aftermath of the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton – in which England recognises Scotland’s independence.

Weaving in politics

Despite being set hundreds of years in the past, Kristiansen says she quickly spotted a number of parallels with our own time.

“The story is big enough for eight books, and what I’ve found is I’ve managed to weave some of the characters of the last 10 years in Westminster – some of the repulsive people – into the story,” she explains.

The National:

There’s even a nod to Boris Johnson’s (above) “let the bodies pile high” remarks during the Covid pandemic.

“It’s such an outrageous thing for anyone to say," she goes on.

"Some of the behaviour we see now is projected on to the villains. It’s not all black and white but I’ve used that to expand the book.

"Some characters in real life today are reflected in the 14th century.”

Despite these links, Kristiansen explains that she didn’t initially set out to make the novel political, but that it more or less became unavoidable.

“I’ve quite enjoyed getting the knife in when it’s appropriate,” she says.

Looking for more

There’s understandably been a diverse range of literature produced on the Scottish Wars of Independence, although Kristiansen says she’s surprised it hasn’t inspired more historical-fiction writing.

It’s a period that has of course inspired a number of Hollywood films, not least Braveheart or the more recent Netflix hit Outlaw King.

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“If we hadn’t had this period, we’d be a completely different place. It’s a part of our history we should be proud of,” the author says.

“There’s villains. There’s heroes. They all did some very clever things and showed a huge amount of character, integrity and we should expect that now.”

Revenge of the Tyrants published by Ringwood Publishing is currently scheduled to release on April 28 and Kristiansen’s first book Raise Dragon is available now.