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Hardcover Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley Book

ISBN: 034543658X

ISBN13: 9780345436580

Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

On the night of 10 February 1567 an explosion devastated the Edinburgh residence of Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. Found naked amongst the destruction, the bodies... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A Hollywood life in Old Scotland

This book plunged me into the late 1500's Scotland. Though it did take me a bit of time, there is enormous detail, I still enjoyed every minute. As the story is told, I feel as if I recognize many of the charactors involved - they are so akin to people today (friends and/or celebrities) Mary could be one of my crazy friends. Weir has made her so real, Mary could be plopped into the 21st Century and thrown onto a therapist couch with no one the wiser. I recommend this book to anyone fascinated by the era, or Mary in particular.

Weir's Interpretation of the Mystery

Like many people, I'm aware of who Mary Queen of Scots is, how she died and the death of her husband. But, I knew little about the actual details of the case, the atmosphere of the time, and the specific evidence against her. In this book, Alison Weir reveals her theory of what happened to Lord Darnley and how his wife Mary was involved. Since this mystery is many hundreds of years old, there is no concrete forensic evidence to lay it to rest. Some historians and readers will no doubt disagree with Weir's solution. She doesn't present new "facts," she provides her interpretation of the existing ones. However, she has done meticulous research, which is readily apparent, and presents a solid circumstantial case for Mary's guilt or innocence (I won't ruin it!). In one way, Weir's conclusion is irrelevant. Some reviewers have already mentioned Weir's take on the Casket Letters. Weir is not the only historian to doubt their validity, so I had no problem seeing that viewpoint. What makes this worth reading is learning what evidence was used at the time, the placement of people and events, and an examination of it all. I appreciated learning more about this famous, ill-fated woman. Weir's trademark easy writing style makes this flow like a novel, while still remaining non-fiction. It is a long book, but I don't feel it was bogged down. Readers need more details on the political mood, Mary and the events leading up to Darley's death to get the full picture. I don't think this is as good as The Princes in the Tower. That read like a true-crime novel, and I found myself convinced by her argument at the end. I'm still uncertain what I think really happened to Darnley, but I found Weir somewhat persuasive in her view. Most of Weir's books are worth reading, but this is definitely one of her best efforts via a vis a mystery. Highly recommended.

Real Life the Stuff of Romance

This meticulously researched story of Mary Stuart reads like the very best of historical novels. Weir creates a finely woven tapestry of fact, pacing and style. A thoroughly satisfying and absorbing read.

Mary's Beauty And Innocence Survive The Ages!

Alison Weir does a superb job detailing all the evidence that Mary Queen of Scots was unjustly accused of murdering her husband, the cruel and weak-willed Lord Darnley. While the weak, unfaithful Darnley was recovering from a lingering illness, (possibly caused by his sexual escapades among the lower orders) a group of nobles loyal to Mary used gunpowder to blow up his residence late one night, then strangled him when the dazed and injured Darnley ran out into the garden. Stunned by the news, Mary was overcome by grief. Weir compiles decisive evidence that the murder was a total shock to her. Indeed, the very fact that she was so tearful and dazed in the days following prevented Mary from acting swiftly to capture the real murderers. All she could seem to do was to fall into the arms of a strong, protecting male -- and the nearest one just happened to be Bothwell, the chief of the murderers. Historians still debate whether Mary was truly in love with Bothwell or merely hopelessly over her head in the turbulence and scandal that followed her weak husband's murder. Weir suggests it was merely a political marriage, but also acknowledges the way Mary clung to Bothwell's arm in public, allowing him more and more authority in her name, as if literally leaning on him for strength. Though recognized by his peers as a fearless soldier and a natural leader of men, Bothwell in the end was beaten by the combined nobles and driven out of Scotland. Soon after, Mary herself was tricked into resting at a castle across the English border, then treacherously captured and put on trial for Lord Darnley's murder by corrupt agents loyal to Queen Elizabeth. Weir makes it clear that the trial was a sham from beginning to end. Most of the evidence -- the famous "casket letters" -- were out and out forgeries. Mary never wrote them, except for a few that were deliberately taken out of context. Weir shows the ridiculous side of the proceedings, where a tender letter Mary wrote about her baby son (the future King James I) was twisted to seem like a love letter to James Bothwell! But the sadness of the trial comes through on every page -- beautiful Mary, weeping in front of stone-faced men, begging for just one more chance to see the flowers and the fields of Scotland again. Sadly, the beautiful queen's health soon began to break down, as the cruel English kept her from exercise and the outdoors. Still more vile was the way Queen Elizabeth encouraged Mary's doctor to treat her early illness with medicines compounded from addictive opium powder -- the source of modern day narcotics. While Mary never became an addict in the modern sense, her imprisonment seems to have sapped her of strength so that she made less and less resistance to her captors. In the end, she was executed -- but on flimsy evidence. And whatever people think of Elizabeth, who was actually the more "successful" ruler, Mary's beauty and innocence survive the ages. Read this book if you are ready to h

Very interesting perception

This proves to be a pretty interesting book. Alison Weir make an excellent case in stating that Mary, Queen of Scots was not involved in murder of her husband. Her condemnation of the Casket letters appears to be the center point of her case. Since these letters damned Mary, they must be forgeries or else the whole book is meaningless. I am sure that there will be many historians out there who will not agreed with Weir's interpetation and perception but her reasoning appears to be quite fair. Weir does a good job in portarying Mary as an immature, over stressed, under educated and extremely incompetence ruler but not a murderess. Her actions at times were so illogical that it really do defied common sense. Alison Weir does some excellent research and I would considered this to be an excellent supplemental work along with Antonia Fraser's Mary, Queen of Scots book. And its excellent reading material all the way.
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