A BATTLE almost 400 years ago has inspired a writer, more than 4,000 miles away, to put pen to paper.

Pat Gemmiti, who lives in Florida, has released The Resilient Thistle, which is set at the time of the Battle of Dunbar.

The story, although fiction, has a place close to the writer’s heart, with a distant ancestor involved in the 1650 battle.

Released earlier this year, the book, which is available to buy online via Amazon, has already attracted plenty of praise from readers.

The author told the Courier: “I’ve always been intrigued by Scotland and once enjoyed driving all over its beautiful landscape. However, at that time I knew nothing of my family’s connection to the Battle of Dunbar and its horrific events, so I missed out on a lot that I hope to make up for in the future.

“The nightmarish tale of what befell 5,000 discarded men and boys shocked me and troubled my heart most personally.

“In 2008 I discovered that a distant, distant grandfather, Daniel Dill, was taken at Dunbar. The more I realized the pure horror of what Daniel, his comrades and friends endured, I felt strongly compelled to write their story and The Resilient Thistle was born.”

The battle was one of the most brutal and short battles of the 17th Century civil wars and afterwards thousands of soldiers were marched over 100 miles to Durham. About 3,000 soldiers were imprisoned in Durham Cathedral and Castle.

Others were transported to different parts of the world including Virginia and New England, USA, where they worked as indentured servants.

Mrs Gemmiti said: “I have always had an interest in history and frequently noticed various interpretations of the same story, so I decided to write about these brave men’s journey as historical fiction, and show their very real struggles as they may have perceived and felt them.

“The prisoners’ plight was not well known when I began writing in 2008, but the discovery of the sad bones of some of the prisoners on Durham Cathedral grounds in 2013 spawned outrage and interest in the death march and carnage.”