“Book of the Month” November 2018

“Dick the Devil’s Bairns”

Jon Tait

Dick the Devil's BairnsDick the Devil’s Bairns – Historic true crime at its rawest and finest

Jon Tait gives readers of “Dick the Devil’s Bairns” an insight into life at the Anglo-Scottish border when it used to be a warzone for centuries.

For almost 300 years, life at the Anglo-Scottish border was anything but pleasant. Scottish and English didn’t think much of each other, and fights between the two nations were more common than not. The whole area was basically a war zone which created a lawless society known as the Border Reivers. In 1597, the English and Scottish authorities took a huge step towards brokering some sort of peace in the area. They signed a treaty at Carlisle. In this treaty, 54 men, representing the wildest reiver clans, were demanded as ‘pledges,’ or hostages to keep the clans and families from continuing with their violent crimes. The original plan was to lock them up, and hope this would keep the peace. But did it?

The historic crime novel “Dick the Devil’s Bairns” by Jon Tait tells the story of these men. They were the worst of the worst. The book follows the fate of those selected by the respective nations as doing the most damage by raiding, while examining the historic criminal activities carried out by those families, and others, in earning their outlaw reputation and status. The story also explores the criminal gangs’ roles within the context of the wider Reiver society and the part played by their ‘Godfathers’ in creating the first Mafia-style organisations – and their eventual downfall. Dick the Devil’s Bairns is historic true crime at its rawest and is written by a sports journalist who hails from the Coquet Valley.

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