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Nigel Tranter was one of the famous Scottish author and historian. He was born on November 23, 1909 and died on January 09, 2000, at the age of 90. During his career, he was considered as one of the prolific authors of the historical and architectural books, many of which were related to the different design aspects of the castles. He was also popular for his deeply researched novels based on the historical genre, covering the centuries of historical events of Scotland. Nigel was born in Glasgow, Scotland, The United kingdom, and earned his primary education from the George Heriott’s School located in Edinburgh. After finishing his academic studies, he received training as an accountant and began working in the National Insurance Company of Scotland, which was founded by his uncle. In the year 1933, Nigel married a woman named May Jean Campbell Grieve and later, got blessed with a couple of children named Philip and Frances May. After that, he went on to join the Royal Artillery during the Second World War and was asked to serve in the East Anglia.
Right from his childhood days, Nigel was very much interested in castles and the history associated with them. Due to this, he wrote and published his first book in the year 1935, when he was 25 years old. His wife gave him a lot of encouragement after which, he attempted to write his first novel. But, the publishers rejected the novel. After a little while, author Nigel wrote his second novel titled Trespass. Luckily for him, The Moray Press decided to publish this novel. However, after its publication in the year 1937, the company went bankrupt and Nigel did not get any payment. During the course of the next few years, he wrote a few more novels, most of which was written in a light-hearted tone and depicted romantic adventures about the imaginary main characters. The novels were based in a variety of settings, including the historical Scotland as well as the modern day Europe. In addition to that, author Nigel also wrote several novels based on the western setups. He used the pen name Tye Tredgold for writing some of his novels. Also, his intentions were to earn some extra money for his family. Nigel even wrote a few children’s books and adventure stories for the kids aged 8 to 10 years. He did not stop writing even when he went to serve during the Second World War.
A few of his novels were published at the time of the war, many of which were by his own life experiences during the war. Between the year 1962 and 1971, author Nigel published the five volume landmark series called as The Fortified House in Scotland. This series was written with the intention of covering the structure and history of primarily each and every domestic castle present in Scotland at that time. And it included 663 such castles in all. The series also included the history of some of the non-domestic structures such as churches, priories, communal defense buildings, etc. The five volume series was highly regarded at that time by many prominent authors and critics mainly because of its rich historical descriptions. It is still continuing to be read by those who have special interests in the subject. When author Nigel was working on his research work about the castles, he realized that there were a number of popular incidents and characters in the history of Scotland, which could be utilized as the base of his novels. Eventually, he tried and attempted to make the novels accurate enough, so that the readers can get a clear view of the rich history of Scotland.
The first novel that he chose to write was based on a famous character named Mary. It was followed by a couple of a trilogy series between the years 1957 and 1965. By that time, author Nigel had established himself as a noteworthy author of historical fiction novels. Later, he kept on dropping the fictional contents from his future novels as he kept on becoming more and more experienced. Author Nigel was also involved in several affairs other than writing. He used to deliver lectures from the year 1940 onward, which directed towards private organizations and groups. His speaking engagements kept on increasing with the increase in his popularity as a writer. He even toured the USA, where he was involved in setting up important community groups and committees. After the success of his five volume landmark series, author Nigel was consulted for regular advice on the matters of restoring a number of castles and tower houses. Under his guidance, a total of 60 historic castles restored, of which the most famous ones include the Menstrie Castle and the Fa’side Castle.
One of the popular novel series written by author Nigel Tranter is called as the MacGregor series, which is comprised of a total of 3 books published between the years 1957 and 1962. One of the initial novel of the series was titled as ‘The Clansman’. It was released by the Coronet publishing house in the year 1959. The plot of this novel revolves around the MacGregor clan and is set in the early 18th century. In the opening sequence of the plot of the novel, it is shown that Rob Ray MacGregor was declared as an outlaw by the by the State Secretary, the Montrose Duke, and the Cumberland Duke, in the year 1715. He was treated this way because he supported the Stuart cause in a steadfast manner. As a result, he decides to leave his home as well as the clansmen to as to avoid any disaster on them. After he is gone, his proud wife named Mary MacGregor gets attacked by the Montrose’s factor. Even Rob Roy MacGregor’s children get frightened and his house, the Inversnaid House, is set on fire. Following this, Rob MacGregor, vows to take a terrible revenge.
This novel was followed by another successful novel of the series, which was titled ‘Gold for Prince Charlie’. This novel was published in the year 1962 by the Hodder and Stoughton publishing house. The plot of this novel is set in the mid 18th century and continues to depict the heroic story of the MacGregor clan’s struggle to protect their Prince Charlie as well as survive the brutal attacks on them. In the opening sequence of the plot of the novel, it is depicted that the Highlanders had limped away from the Culloden field in the year 1745. Following this, the Cumberland Duke had offered a huge prize money for the one who captures and brings Prince Charles dead or alive. A small band of brave men, including the great nephew of Rob Roy MacGregor named Duncan MacGregor, volunteer to escort Prince Charles to safety. After just one day of the escape of Prince Charles, a huge amount of French Gold is discovered from his sailing spot. Considering it to be the fortune of his rightful Prince Charles, Duncan MacGregor makes a desperate attempt to protect it from the duke’s henchmen. He gets helped by the beautiful and headstrong lady named Caroline Cameron.
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