The Douglas Bastard by J. R. Tomlin

Welcome to The Book’s Delight and a book tour stop for J R Tomlin’s The Douglas Bastard. We have an amazing excerpt for you today so get comfy and let’s get reading!

 The Details

 Book Title: The Douglas Bastard

Series: (A sequel to The Black Douglas Trilogy)

Author: J R Tomlin

Publication Date: 26th April 2022

Publisher: Albannach Publishing

Genre: Historical Fiction





The Blurb


The Black Douglas is dead. With Scotland's greatest knight no more, the throne is up for grabs as enemies try to devour the kingdom.

 An orphaned youth returning from exile, Archibald, the Black Douglas's bastard son, fights for a land being torn apart from within and without. If Archibald is to survive, he must learn to sleep with a claymore in his hand and one eye open because even his closest friend might betray him...

 This is an adventure set in the bloody Second Scottish War of Independence when Scotland's very survival is in question.

 Buy Links:

 Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Amazon CA:

Amazon AU:

Barnes and Noble:


Apple Books:


Meet J. R. Tomlin:         

 J. R. Tomlin is the author of nineteen historical novels.

 She has close ties with Scotland since her father was a native Scot, and she spent substantial time in Edinburgh while growing up. Her historical novels are set for the most part in Scotland. Her love of that nation is traced from the stories of Robert the Bruce and the Good Sir James her grandmother read to her when she was small, to hillwalking through the Cairngorms where the granite hills have a gorgeous red glow under the setting sun. Later, her writing was influenced by Alexander Dumas, Victor Hugo, Nigel Tranter, and Sir Walter Scott.

 When JR isn't writing, she enjoys hiking, playing with her Westie, and killing monsters in computer games. In addition to spending time in Scotland, she has traveled in the US, Europe, and the Pacific Rim. She now lives in Oregon.



Follow J. R. Tomlin on Social Media:





Amazon Author Page:



The Excerpt:

Storm clouds boiled in the east, rolling over each other. Distant rumbles of thunder warned of what was to come.

 William Fraser and Joachim Kinbuck had brought some of their men to add to Liddesdale’s. We were two hundred warriors, including Sir William and myself, although as a squire, they did not count me. All of us crouched, packed together, on the deck of William Curry’s cog, except for Simon Fraser and my cousin John. Disguised in shabby clothes as traders, they had entered Edinburgh on horseback.

 We all wore armor and carried weapons. My lord had made sure we wore dark cloaks that covered us from head to foot. A tall pile of bags of coal and oats along with kegs of ale was in the middle of the deck.

 It was a dark, miserable day and the waves tossed the cog like a toy. There was a high crag ashore in the distance, and the clouds were low enough to graze the dark fortress at its top. The garrison on the north ramparts might even be able to make out the ship, but they would hardly suspect we were the enemy come to call if they could.

 It was nearly nightfall when Curry turned the cog toward shore. The crew threw lines to the two longboats that met us to tow the cog to the dock. When Sir William raised his eyebrows, Curry said, They’re paid well to keep their mouths shut.”

 On the quay, Bullock, John, and Fraser waited with a string of a score of sumpter horses. Once the cog was docked, Sir William and Bullock jumped ashore, not waiting for the gangplank. I followed on their heels, eager to leave the heaving vessel.

 The castle porter swallowed the bait like a hungry trout,” Fraser said. He agreed to allow us entrance to deliver the goods tomorrow.”

 Sir William clapped his shoulder. Braw news.” 

 Bullock turned to the men filing off the ship, Unload with yon goods! We need to go back through the Netherbow Port before it is shut for the night.”

 The horses stamped and fidgeted, ears pricked. A fork of lightning crashed down into the brooding hulk of Castle Rock, and the crack of thunder made a horse kick, making Fraser jump out of range.

 They rushed, loading the horses.

 We will meet you at Holyrood,” Bullock called to them as they were off.

 The dark clouds rolled in as we waited for full dark. A cold, soaking rain set in. Soon water was dripping down the back of my neck and from my hair. The darkness was absolute except for smears of light on the distant ramparts from the garrison’s fires.

 Hold on to the cloak of the man in front of you,” Sir William said, and dinnae get separated. I will be going slowly. We have all night.”

 My dagger hung from my belt, my only weapon so I would be treated as a noncombatant. All the others carried a spear and a sword hanging from their belt. Sir William led us away once it was utterly dark, and at first, the trek was easy enough. We worked our way south as the land slowly rose. The trees had been felled when the English rebuilt the castle, so we felt our way between the stumps, and I clung with one hand to Sir William's cloak. I kept the other out like a blind man because that was how I felt. Gorse and brambles covered the ground, snagging and scratching us as we went.

 A great bolt of lightning whipped across the sky and outlined the castle above me. I prayed that the men on the ramparts could not see us in the sudden, dazzling light. A deafening crash of thunder came a moment later.

 The slope grew steeper and under our feet was nothing but slick mud. My feet went out from under me, and I went down on my knees with a grunt. Sir William was sliding around like a drunken man. There was a low hill to our right, and the rain was sloughing off it to wash around our feet. But we slid and scrambled our way until Sir William cracked his spear against the city wall.

 Bullock,” he said in an undertone, you had better be right that there is a break in the wall.”

 We need to go to the right,” Bullock whispered.

 We will wait a moment to be sure everyone has caught up.”

 Far-off lightning flickered across the clouds, and I shivered. Then we inched our way to the right, scraping our hands against the rocks of the city wall and slipping in the sloppy muck underfoot. It seemed to take forever. Suddenly another splinter of lightning zigzagged across the sky, illuminating a narrow opening littered with fallen stones. Thunder rumbled like the end of the world as we scrambled through.

Another peal boomed, but the Sir William leaned against the wall and counted the men as they crouched and ran through the little opening. I strained my eyes to try to pick out anything through the pounding rain and the darkness, but everything was just darkness except that the looming castle rock was a deeper darkness. I tried to imagine being on those ramparts in the pounding rain and lightning. I shivered again. The damp seemed to have seeped all the way to my bones. Even my fingertips felt wrinkled.

Now we had to reach the abbey.

We groped along the dark houses. Their jutting upper stories at least cut off some of the rain. I could not understand how Sir William could tell what direction we were going in with no moon or stars to guide him, but he never paused in our creeping progress. It felt like an eternity until he tripped and fell to one knee. Here,” he said.

I reached out and felt the stones of a low wall. It took more blind searching to find the opening into the abbey's grounds. A small fire flickered beneath some trees, which he headed for much faster.

Curry kicked out the fire, then we waited, huddling and shivering, under the dripping trees. Another rumble of thunder rolled farther to the south. The rain abated to a steady shower. I tucked my hands into my armpits and wondered how long it was until sunrise.

Peering through the trees, I strained to make out Edinburgh Castle at the top of that massive crag. A little fire flickered at the top, but the rest was just darkness. We were so cold and soaked through I wondered if we would be able to fight. Every possible disaster danced through my head.

The rain finally ceased altogether. In a while, gray light spread across the horizon above the Forth. A slash of red showed through the thinning clouds, and then it was a gloomy, murky daylight. Sir William threw off his cloak to expose a worn and faded tunic beneath it. He handed me his spear and swordbelt, leaving only a long dagger hanging from the leather belt and a hunting horn hanging from his shoulder. He squeezed my shoulder hard enough to hurt. Your only task is to hurry those to me once I sound the horn.”

 William Fraser, William Bullock, Joachim Kinbuck, William Curry, and half a score of their men were doing the same.

 Ramsay said, We will be ready when we hear the signal.”




  1. Thank you so much for hosting the blog tour for The Douglas Bastard.

    All the best,
    Mary Anne
    The Coffee Pot Book Club


Post a Comment

Popular Posts