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After Flodden by Rosemary Goring

After Flodden

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Meticulous research and superlative writing brings to life the little known but important Battle of Flodden in 1513 and the consequences to Scotland and its people. Combining political intrigue and romance it is told through the eyes of several characters who either had a hand in bringing the country to war, or were deeply affected by the outcome. Louise has lost her brother in one of Scotland’s most bloody defeats against the English. She turns to Patrick Paniter, who orchestrated the war, for help but Paniter is wracked with guilt and grief. Louise goes into the wild border lands and gets caught up in espionage and skulduggery. This is a good swashbuckling romp covering a fascinating period of history and it makes for a compelling and educational read. Definitely one for fans of Rose Tremain and Hilary Mantel.

Click here to see the sequel to this book, Dacre's War, published in June 2015.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for After Flodden a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title.

  • Lucinda Fountain - 'Exquisitely told and wonderfully written Rosemary Goring transports you back to the past with such dexterity, as she captures meticulously such intricate detail and vivid ambiance...This fascinating fictitious romp though Scotland’s past is an unputdownable, addictive read and a truly triumphant accomplishment!' Read full review >
  • Lisa Redmond - 'After Flodden by Rosemary Goring is an outstanding fiction debut from a powerful and talented author... I cannot recommend this story highly enough; it is a must for all fans of Historical Fiction.' Read full review >
  • Sue Broom - 'She has quite a way with words - memorable descriptions, particularly of the wild countryside and 16th century living conditions.  Interesting characters, touching relationships, credible plot, fast-paced action - this book has it all.  Heartily recommended.' Read full review >
  • Barbara Goldie - 'A must read for anyone who loves a racy, historical, political or romantic novel, it ticks all these boxes and more to make it a must read for this year.' Read full review >
  • Barry Griffiths - 'Told in an extraordinary poetic language both engaging and thought provoking, that gives you an idea of the everyday life at the time the story is set.' Read full review >
  • Marion McCaffery - 'Rosemary Goring tells the story magnificenty, especially the battle scene...It is a fast moving tale of violent times. I recommend this book to anyone who loves historical drama.'  Read full review >
  • Kathy Howell - 'This is a very good read.  I was aware of the Battle of Flodden, even though I didn’t know too much about the actual event. This book, because of the excellent writing, is very evocative of the time and the area...' Read full review >
  • Vanessa Wild - I will start the review by saying that I loved this book and found it a very engrossing read...A real page turner and one I would recommend to all historical fiction fans.'  Read full review >
  • Joy Bosworth - 'After Flodden is very much concerned with the battle of Flodden and the fall-out from it.  I enjoy historical novels set in Tudor times and their sumptuous gowns and grand houses.  This is the other side of the war.'  Read full review >
  • Margaret Freeman - 'Well written, well researched this is a compelling and powerful book, bringing the characters and the Edinburgh and Borders of 1513 vividly to life.'  Read full review >
  • Debbie Patrick - 'This is a well written book, set mainly after the events of Flodden battle but also telling of the events in the characters life’s prior to Flodden that lead them to that place & time.' Read full review >
  • Janette Skinner - 'This book in really enjoyable and I learned a lot about history, military strategies and rules of engagement, but the book is much more than this.' Read full review >
  • Mrs C. A. Tuckett - 'A very enjoyable read with Scottish history as a background.' Click here to read the full review. Read full review >

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After Flodden by Rosemary Goring

Patrick Paniter was James IV's right-hand man, a diplomatic genius who was in charge of the guns at the disastrous battle of Flodden in September 1513 in which the English annihilated the Scots. After the death of his king he is tormented by guilt as he relives the events that led to war. When Louise Brenier, daughter of a rogue sea trader, asks his help in finding out if her brother Benoit was killed in action, it is the least he can do to salve his conscience. Not satisfied with the news he brings, Louise sets off to find out the truth herself, and swiftly falls foul of one of the lawless clans that rule the ungovernable borderlands. After Flodden is a novel about the consequences of the battle of Flodden, as seen through the eyes of several characters who either had a hand in bringing the country to war, or were profoundly affected by the outcome. There have been very few novels about Flodden, despite its significance, and none from this perspective. It's a racy adventure, combining political intrigue and romance, and its readership will be anyone who loves historical fiction, or is interested in the history of Scotland and the turbulent, ungovernable borderlands between Scotland and England.


'A well-told tale of a violent time; fast-moving and packed with incident' - Andrew Miller, Costa-winning author of Pure

'A well-crafted tale which drives forward with unremitting pace - Scotland on Sunday

'Very good indeed, and hugely enjoyable - Allan Massie, Scotsman

'A compelling story that weaves deftly amongst historical fact and fiction - We Love This Book

'A swashbuckling tale in the best tradition of adventure fiction ... charged with melancholy and menace - Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Rosemary Goring

Rosemary Goring was born in Dunbar and studied social and economic history at the University of St Andrews; and, after graduation, worked at W&R Chambers as a reference editor. Rosemary was the literary editor of Scotland on Sunday, followed by a brief spell as editor of Life & Work, the Church of Scotland's magazine, before returning to newspapers as literary editor of the Herald, and later also of the Sunday Herald. In 2007 she published Scotland: The Autobiography: 2000 Years of Scottish History By Those Who Saw it Happen, which has since been published in America and Russia.

Author photo © Rosemary Goring

Below is a Q&A with this author

1. What inspired you to write After Flodden?
When I first read about Patrick Paniter, one of King James IV’s closest advisors, I began to speculate about the role this man, who most of us have never heard about, had played in the events leading up to the battle of Flodden. Exploring that idea led to the rest of the story.
2. What keeps you motivated as a writer?
The pleasure and challenge of writing itself, and the fascination of immersing myself in the affairs of imaginary or long-dead people.
3. What’s your favourite book and why?
That’s impossible to answer, as my tastes change according to mood and time. However, I do keep returning to Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, Alice Munro, Charles Dickens, Muriel Spark and John Updike. I also frequently pick up John Galt’s Annals of the Parish, which I have read countless times.
4 .Do you have a routine when you’re writing?
I write and think better in the mornings, though sometimes I start so early I am barely awake. Probably because I’m a journalist I can write almost anywhere, though never to music, which is too much of a distraction.
5. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to be a writer?
Read widely, well, and constantly.
6. What’s the best experience you’ve had while writing a book?
My agent reading the first few chapters and telling me to finish it, fast.
7. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
If I had the brains, a vet.
8. If your book was a film, who would you cast for the lead character?
As a journalist my job is to describe events and people accurately. In a novel, however, a writer creates characters who are open to interpretation. By not imposing a fixed set of features on them, and leaving them only partially described writers allow the reader to imagine them for themselves. So while I have a fairly clear image of Patrick Paniter and Louise Brenier in my mind, it’s as if their faces have been pixillated, and to put an actor’s name on them would spoil the way I picture them.
9. Why are books important in your opinion?
They are the best way ever devised for disappearing from real life and forgetting who and where you are. Sometimes they let readers get into the minds and situations of people very different from themselves, but often their most important function is the pure enjoyment one gets from the language of writers whose prose is so pure or fluid, it flows over you like thoughts put to music. People like to make big ethical claims for the importance of books, but more than anything they are about pleasure.
10. Which authors do you particularly admire?
Other than those mentioned earlier, my very long list includes Javier Marias, James Kelman, Leonardo Sciascia, Edward Hoagland, Henry James, James Baldwin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Philip Roth, Rose Tremain, J M Coetzee, Giuseppe Lampedusa and Lucy Ellmann.

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Book Info

Publication date

6th February 2014


Rosemary Goring

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Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General


336 pages


Historical Fiction
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Historical fiction



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