Shakespeare’s Witches tell Banquo, “Thou Shalt ‘Get Kings Though Thou Be None”. Though Banquo is murdered, his son Fleance gets away. What happened to Fleance? What Kings? As Shakespeare’s audience apparently knew, Banquo was the ancestor of the royal Stewart line. But the road to kingship had a most inauspicious beginning, and we follow Fleance into exile and death, bestowing the Witches’ prophecy on his illegitimate son Walter. Born in Wales and raised in disgrace, Walter’s efforts to understand Banquo’s murder and honor his lineage take him on a long and treacherous journey through England and France before facing his destiny in Scotland.
What do you get when you take a book that includes Scottish history, makes me think of Shakepeare's 'Scottish play' *ahem* and has thoroughly engaging story? You get one very happy reader on the Back Porch (me), that's what!
While MacBeth was an historical person, Shakespeare's play took liberties with the history on which it was based, including apparently, the existence of Fleance, son of Banquo. Even the Stuart kings of Scotland claimed to be descended from Fleance, which would give them a genealogical connection to the fabled King Arthur. But then, the kinds and queens of that age were not adverse to rewriting history in order to strengthen their images or their claims to a throne.
I could really feel Fleance's fear in the opening scene, when he and his father Banquo are set upon by a trio of assassins. Fleance manages to escape but his father was not so lucky. Where one minute he had been the son of a good friend of the king, now he was a young man, practically alone in the world.
Ms. Rochelle has a good grasp of descriptive language. If there was a sound, I could 'hear' it. If there was a smell, my nose would twitch with it.
It was fascinating to experience the prophesy of the three witches wind its way through Heir to a Prophecy. Fleance's son, Walter, becomes Royal Steward ... and the rest is history. Or is it? Regardless, Heir is a wonderful narrative and it can enrich your reading history.
Born in St. Louis MO with a degree from University of Missouri, Mercedes Rochelle learned about living history as a re-enactor and has been enamored with historical fiction ever since. She lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they built themselves.
For more information please visit Mercedes Rochelle’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.
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(I received a copy of Heir to a Prophecy from the author and publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. As you can tell from the dates of the tour, I am late posting my review. This is entirely my own fault and regret any inconvenience this posed to anyone involved. It also had no bearing on the content or tenor of my review.)