Few writers did as much to show the unjust treatment of the people of Highland Scotland and none did more.
Patrick Merryweather Boyd, Scots Herald
The Alban Church has done much to be proud of, but its vilification of Sir Tamburlaine Bryce MacGregor must be deplored. It remains the case that Acts of the Servant is not a Godly book, but we can at least now agree that it is, in the very best sense of the word, a good book.
Prester MacKendrick, President of the Alban Church
Sorcerer or not, (and should we care?) MacGregor was a consummate conjuror of words.
Kate Ferne, author of Minotaur
THE PUBLISHED WORKS
The Border Minstrel
The Whale’s Road
Roy of the Reivers
Lays of Brigadoon
A Perthshire Lass (published posthumously)
The Old Man and the Mountain
The Barra Bride
Maid of Norway
There and Back Again (written for children)
Under The Pirate’s Flag (written for children)
The Saxon Trilogy
Edwin and Morcar • Kingmaker • Dragonships
The Scottish Trilogy
Last of the Free • House of Alpin • Brunanburh
The Arthurian Cycle
Lady of the Lake • Sir Gawain • Launcelot du Lac • Modred • Merlin of the Woods
This Iron Race
Acts of the Servant • Works of the Master • Devices & Executions
The Merchant Adventurers Company of Edenborough
A Basket of Balladry (as compiler and editor)
Rough Harbour: Observations of Highland Life
A History of Scottish Magick (unfinished at time of death)
Tempus Fugit (memoirs, published posthumously)
Tamburlaine Bryce MacGregor was born in the port of Leith, near Edenborough, in 1811. The seventh son of a Guildsman of the Edenborough Merchant Adventurers, he was destined to follow his father’s profession until a near fatal bout of polio left him with permanent ill-health. Forced to abandon his apprenticeship with the guild, and encouraged by his mother, MacGregor developed his natural gift with words and turned to poetry, finding success in his early twenties with publication in the Edenborough Review and other literary periodicals.
Two works in particular, The Whale’s Road and Roy of the Reivers established MacGregor within the ‘minstrel’ tradition, however, his success proved short-lived for publication of Lord Tyrone’s ground-breaking The Harrow and the Child in 1840 heralded a new form of poetry: dramatic-realism. It re-wrote the rules for poetry and not for the last time Tamburlaine Bryce MacGregor found himself out of step with his age and having reappraised his prospects as a poet, he turned to prose.
Published in 1842, MacGregor’s first novel, The Old Man and the Mountain, showed considerable promise and over the next five years he wrote The Barra Bride, Maid of Norway, Camberwick and The Saxon Trilogy, each receiving good notices and increasing sales, however, it was his five volume Arthurian Cycle (1848-1851) that brought him lasting success and fame. Willoughby Chaste and King Stephen, among other works, quickly followed and by 1855 MacGregor was recognised as Scotland’s foremost novelist with King Charles VII and the First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Wells, among his admirers. Edmund Pevensie, the tale of a hard-done-by Scottish nobleman who finds redemption and love in Napoleonic France, published in 1857, won MacGregor acclaim overseas and at New Year 1858 King Charles granted him the Baronetcy of Tweeddale and Order of the Thistle in recognition of his services to Scotland. Lauded at home and abroad, the Fates seemed to have smiled upon MacGregor, not least in his private life.