Back when there was a print version of Black Gate, Bill Ward introduced a new author by the name of Robert Low in Issue 14 (2009). Bill had good things to say about The Wolf Sea (2008), the second book in the author’s Oathsworn series, which had appeared a year after the first, The Whale Road.
Bill went on to cover subsequent installments in the series, and his reviews impressed me enough to seek them out. The Oathsworn eventually rounded out as a five book series, including The White Raven (2009), The Prow Beast (2010) and Crowbone (2012).
I recently got to thinking of Robert Low and looked him up to see what else he’d published. This sadly revealed that this talented author of historic fantasy had passed away earlier this year.
Robert Low was a Scottish journalist and author who started on a long career at the age of 17. By 19 he was in Vietnam on assignment, an eye opening experience for sure. He returned to journalism in Scotland but occasionally went on other dangerous assignments in Kosovo, Sarajevo, etc.
Later in life an interest in ancient warfare lead Robert Low to delve into the re-enactment scene, which in turn encouraged him to write the excellent Oathsworn series. By no means done, he subsequently published three other series.
The Kingdom Series (HarperCollins, 2011-13)
The Kingdom Series
The Kingdom series covers events in Scotland circa 1296, the time of Robert the Bruce, William Wallace and Edward the 1st. The series consists of three books:
- The Lion Wakes (2011)
- The Lion at Bay (2012)
- The Lion Rampant (2013)
Brothers of the Sand (Canelo Adventure, 2019-20). Click for larger versions.
Brothers of the Sand
Brothers of the Sand is set in the Roman period, sometime after the initial conquest of Britain. It covers a group of ex-gladiators and rogues who have been dispatched on a secret mission deep into Caledonia. Reading the overview at the authors site, I cannot wait to lay my eager hands on this series. This is also a trilogy:
- Beasts Beyond the Wall (2019)
- The Red Serpent (2019)
- Beasts from The Dark (2020)
Border Reivers (Canelo Adventure, 2020-21). Click for bigger versions.
Robert Low’s final series is Border Reivers. Set in the debatable lands – a kind of no mans land between Scotland and England during the Tudor period of the mid 1500’s, this series also looks to be quite fascinating, drawing relative nobodies up into events of grand importance. Looking at the dates of publication, I am glad to see the final book in the series was published before the authors passing. This trilogy consists of:
- A Dish of Spurs (2020)
- Burning the Water (2020)
- Shake Loose the Border (2021)
The Oathsworn Series (HarperCollins, 2007-12)
I am saddened at the loss of this talented author, albeit thankful that he has left us a number of excellent looking books to soften the blow of his untimely passing.
Previous Black Gate reviews by Bill Ward:
Tony Den is an occasional Black Gate contributor. He has finally completed his own sites migration to Word Press. Check it out at www.RuneQuest.za.org