“The Steel Bonnets: The Story of the Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers” by George MacDonald Fraser.
From the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, outlaws reigned supreme on the contentious frontier between England and Scotland.
Feud and terror, raid and reprisal were the ordinary stuff of life—and a way of survival.
Power was held by the notorious border reivers (the “steel bonnets,” named for their flashy helmets), clan-loyal raiders, freebooters, plunderers, and rustlers who robbed and murdered in the name of family: the famous clans—like Elliot, Armstrong, Charlton, and Robson—romanticized by Sir Walter Scott.
They were the last opponents to the Acts of Union of 1707, and fought fiercely and fancifully to the end.
In The Steel Bonnets, George MacDonald Fraser, author of the bestselling Flashman novels and himself a borderer, takes us back through three centuries of conflict, telling the fascinating and bloody story of the reivers.
He relates their rise to power as ferocious soldiers on horseback, their important roles in the battles at Flodden and Solway Moss, and their surprisingly sudden fall from grace. The Steel Bonnets is a superb work of serious history and scholarship that is as irresistibly compelling as any novel.