‘Those who live in courts must mark what they say,’ warned Elizabeth I’s godson, ‘those who lives for ease had better live away.’ In the dawn of the seventeenth century, when Mary, Queen of Scots was dead and Elizabeth I grown old, the eyes of the English has turned from their glorious but ageing Queen to Mary’s son, James VI of Scots – the rising sun in the north.
Focussing on the intense period of raised hopes and dashed expectations between Christmas 1602 and Christmas 1603, Leanda de Lisle tells in dramatic detail the story of Elizabeth’s death and how the suffocating conservatism of her rule was replaced with that of the energetic, seemingly fair-minded James.
As James journeys south from Scotland, he is confronted with the extraordinary wealth of his new kingdom, but also with English contempt for his Scots entourage and a stubborn rejection of his hopes for the union of Britain. As the welcome turns sour those who are disappointed in James turn to intrigue and hatch plots against him before the crown is even on his head. Lives are lost and fortunes won in the struggle for power and influence.
As well as painting a superb portrait of Elizabeth’s court, de Lisle explores the forces that shaped James’s life, his separation from his mother and the violence of his Scottish kingdom; his marriage to the vivacious Anna of Denmark and the failed rebellions, government corruption and religious persecution which set the stage for James’s accession to the throne of England.
A story of shifting power and lethal politics, this vivid account of the cusp of the Tudor and Stuart centuries brings to life a period of glamour and intrigue that marked the beginning of a new age.