Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles

Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles

4.2 59
by Margaret George

See All Formats & Editions

Part Two Of Two Parts

The "Age of Kings" - Henry VIII, Francis I and Emperor Charles V was followed by the "Age of Queens" - Elizabeth I, Catherine de Medicis of France and Mary Queen of Scots. Of all these rulers, however, it is Mary Queen of Scots who seems most elusive today. Margaret George's novel reveals a woman who is loyal, generous and spirited, clever but


Part Two Of Two Parts

The "Age of Kings" - Henry VIII, Francis I and Emperor Charles V was followed by the "Age of Queens" - Elizabeth I, Catherine de Medicis of France and Mary Queen of Scots. Of all these rulers, however, it is Mary Queen of Scots who seems most elusive today. Margaret George's novel reveals a woman who is loyal, generous and spirited, clever but not intellectually brilliant, impulsive but with the kind of charm that fits into any setting. George populates the novel with two hundred characters, all but two of whom are historically verifiable. But the central questions about Mary are burningly human: Was she really in love with James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell, her third husband? Who wrote the Casket Letters? Who planned Darnley's death? Did Mary wish Elizabeth to be assassinated?

"Exquisitely researched and finely constructed...It's no wonder that this story has withstood the test of time...Highly recommended!" (Library Journal)

Margaret George's exhaustively researched novel skillfully weaves both historical fact and plausible fiction in bringing the story of Mary Queen of Scots to life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Personal and political naivete lead to Mary Stuart's downfall in George's massive, painstakingly researched novel, a Literary Guild selection in cloth. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews
By the author of The Autobiography of Henry VIII (1986), another vast involvement with a legendary royal. The Scots queen (1542-1587), crowned at nine months, shipped out for a French marriage at seven, became queen of France at 16 for a year and a half, then returned to Scotland after the death of the French king—to four years of early triumph and then tragedy, two marriages, warfare, betrayal, power struggles, dazzling escapes, and, at the last, a flight to England—and doom. George has created a lively, gallant Mary of intelligence, charm, and terrible judgment—in outline true enough, and fictionally persuasive. Unlike cousin Elizabeth I of England, Mary enjoyed a richly cosseted and loving childhood and youth; arriving back in Scotland then—a Scotland bristling with religious ferment, plots, and a history of regencies—is a shock, at first bewildering, then exhilarating. But there are the trumpet blasts of Reformed Kirk theologian John Knox against a female ruler (and a Catholic to boot) and the obvious intent of the Queen's inner circle of lords to rule for her. There's also Mary's stubborn, disastrous choice of a husband—the "blue and gold lad," Lord Darnley, soon slipped into drink and debauchery and even murder. Mary's second husband after Darnley's murder (George absolves Mary of a conscious plot) is the Earl of Bothwell, here given an unusually heroic cast. Throughout, there are astonishing escapes, nick-of-time rescues by Bothwell, fleeting interludes of lovers' joys—as well as betrayal, sieges, and abuse, sadly from the people who once cheered her ("the people...with all their pitchforks, fervous and bad breath...mutable...but stronger thangranite"). At the last—another truly terrible decision—Mary flees to Elizabeth I for sanctuary, and is imprisoned for 20 years while the dismayed English queen makes up her mind. With a seamless use of original letters, diaries, and poems: a popular, readable, inordinately moving tribute to a remarkable queen.

From the Publisher

“The best kind of historical novel, one the reader can't wait to get lost in.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“A massive, erudite, and entertaining novel that skillfully weaves historical fact and plausible fiction.” —New York Newsday

“George has creative a lively, gallant Mary of intelligence, charm and terrible judgment...A popular, readable, inordinately moving tribute to a remarkable queen.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“A painstakingly researched novel that makes history live. The author's deep sympathy for her subject renders Mary an entirely real and unforgettable heroine.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

“An evocative portrait.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Dramatic...Romantic...George makes Mary a heroine to identify with because of her spirit, wit and charm...A triumph.” —Houston Chronicle

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.61(w) x 9.52(h) x 2.11(d)

Meet the Author

Margaret George is the author of The Autobiography of Henry VIII, The Memoirs of Cleopatra, and Elizabeth I, among other novels. Margaret first got the idea to write historical fiction when, after reading numerous books that viewed Henry VIII through the eyes of his enemies and victims, she found herself wondering if there might be another side to the story. She became determined to let Henry speak for himself, and it took fifteen years, about three hundred books of background reading, three visits to England to see every extant building associated with Henry, and five handwritten drafts for her to answer the question: What was Henry really like? Margaret was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and has traveled extensively. She and her husband live in Madison, Wisconsin.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
Brigit More than 1 year ago
To write about a ruler who had such a tumultuous life is one thing, but to take all of the historical information of Queen Mary's life, combine it with all the historical information of all the countries involved with her and weave all of it into a novel written from her point of view is quite an undertaking. I feel this novel did great justice to the time period, the history and most of all to Mary and all of those who had contact with her. This novel is beautifully written and flows so well. Right from the beginning, at Mary's birth you can almost feel that the die has been cast against her. Time and again, she makes errors in judgement that nearly cost her her life and narrowly she escapes with it. The story makes you feel her high-spirited rash side and how she was not one to really think and consider things before making a decision. Even when she realizes she will not be able to escape her own doom, she decides to defy all and make herself a martyr for the Catholic faith. This novel shows her as a truly brave and free-spirited woman who probably would have come to a bad end no matter what choices she made. This is a must read for any one who enjoys historical novels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Most people have a passing familiarity with Mary Queen of Scots, but it is Margaret George¿s eloquently written book that gives us a clearer and more fascinating picture of the much romanticized and controversial Queen. From her birth amidst Scottish tragic events, we are taken on an unforgettable journey with Mary as she sets out for France as the intended bride of the Dauphin, only to return to Scotland years later as the anointed Queen of a grief stricken country. Scotland in the 1560s was a place rife with religious wars and civil disputes Mary finds herself embroiled deep in political scandals and surrounded by untrustworthy nobles who only pray for her destruction. The book also tells us of Mary¿s doomed marriage to Lord Darnley, the father of her son, James VI of Scotland ( who would later rule both Scotland and England), and touched on the possibility that she finally found true love with Lord Bothwell, despite the attacks on their union. The last years of her life has Mary imprisoned in England while her supposed `saviour¿ Elizabeth dwells grumpily on what to do with her. Mary¿s enemies triumphs when the ill-fated Queen is implicated in the Babington Plot to murder Queen Elizabeth and the latter finally signs a warrant of execution. On 8 February 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots, resplendent in a ruby red gown, was led to the scaffold. After two attempts, the executioner held up the severed head of Mary for all to see- marking the end of a sad and tumultuous life belonging to a woman who could have been Queen of Europe¿s three powerful countries ¿ France, Scotland and England. This book was a perfect blend of fiction and historical prose. We are able to enjoy Mary from the cradle to the grave as the writer spins a delicate tale while depicting Mary as an infinitely flawed yet endearing young woman. Mary, Queen of Scots, has impelled questions for centuries : ` Was she victim or villain?¿ Author Margaret George has successfully weaved her into a complex character that neither confirms nor rebuts her as a villain or victim, but rather of a flighty woman who ruled with her heart, only to lose her head over it. A gripping and tragic story told with enthusiasm and attention to detail. As to its heavyweight size, historical freaks will certainly be too engrossed in the novel to be daunted by its 900 page volume. Readers will find themselves immersed in the most enlightening history lesson.
Jodie1307 More than 1 year ago
Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles is an amazing book! Do not be put off by how long the book is. It is an amazingly quick read because of the amazing storytelling of Margaret George. She truly has the gift of bringing her characters into life and her knowledge of the times is amazing. You can tell the extent of the research that was required to write this book. George does an amazing job of making history fun and even more interesting to learn. If only school books could tell history the way Margaret George does, then maybe we'd all be better off ?
EugeneTX More than 1 year ago
This is a really wonderful book that is a novel but adheres closely to historical fact. Margaret George has taken fragments and scraps of evidence and woven them into a word tapestry that allows you to visualize the scenes. It reveals the treachery and deceit this young woman had to deal with in trying to establish a viable and working kingdom. It dramatically reveals the price for allowing violent religious acts to infringe on areas belonging to the state and people. For example, the individual right to practice the belief of their choice without persecution. It also reveals what happens when a government becomes almost totally factionalized and those factions change sides from day to day. One knows not who to trust. It also clearly shows when she lost support of others, to include the good Queen Elizabeth, most of the clan leaders, and even her French family support. Cecil, in my opinion, committed Regicide by beheading Queen Mary when he had duped her to get the warrant signed. I do not believe Elizabeth ever intended for it to go that far. It must be remembered that Queen Mary came to England seeking help because she had been unlawfully deposed in her own country and believed she would be received by her sister Queen as a supplicant which she shoud have been by law. She was not. She was treated like a common criminal by being quartered in certain forts by Cecil and was never free again. If there is a Hell, Cecil should be right in the middle of it. Read this book. It is very easy to read and you will not want to put it down. It is a book that you read more than once.
mermaidchick More than 1 year ago
It didn't take me long to read this book. To me it was very good. So good that I found myself cursing Elizabeth for what she did to Mary, getting mad at the choices Mary made, and crying at the end. I would totally recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about Queen Mary. I'm still mad at Elizabeth! Lol but it was a great read I couldn't put down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a story. Who knew. A friend recommended it and I had reservations about reading some huge book about a queen. Wow. Glad I read it. It has everything in it that a fictional writer could cook up.(seriously..I had to google parts to make sure she wasn't making things up). I really enjoyed the story and history lesson. Could be shortend just a tiny bit, but other than that it was great!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am only partly through the book and I love it!!! I have always been fascinated with Tudor/Stewart history. Even more so now after starting this amazing book. I feel like I am there watching the byplay of these people. Mary Stewart's life seems to come alive again through the words. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Frisby More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book to read. She was an amazing woman, wonder how things would have turned out if she was let to rule. Well worth the time it took to read this story and see so much how the different countries looked at that time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
alice0309 More than 1 year ago
This started out really good and kept me entertained until Mary loses her title. It started to d r a g then I started to feel bored just thinking about picking it up again. I love this type of fiction but it has to keep my interest...maybe in the future I will try to finish it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jeanne Filippone More than 1 year ago
Good biography but too long and too detailed on unimportant side details....childhood, fashions, scenery, but important battles were conducted in a few parahraphs and deaths of some key figures in one sentence ! Over 1100 pages was just too much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wessagusset More than 1 year ago
Having read Margaret George's spectacular, Autobiography of Henry VIII, I looked forward to Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles. It lacks the depth of Henry VIII; the writing is superficial.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago