Mary Stuart (Queen of Scots)

Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens

By Jane Dunn

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" In a rich and riveting narrative, Jane Dunn reveals the extraordinary rivalry between the regal cousins. It is the story of two queens ruling on one island, each with a claim to the throne of England, each embodying dramatically opposing qualities of character, ideals of womanliness (and views of sexuality) and divinely ordained kingship. As regnant queens in an overwhelmingly masculine world, they were deplored for their femaleness, compared unfavorably with each other and courted by the same men. By placing their dynamic and ever-changing relationship at the center of the book, Dunn illuminates their differences. Elizabeth, inheriting a weak, divided country coveted by all the Catholic monarchs of Europe, is revolutionary in her insistence on ruling alone and inspired in her use of celibacy as a political tool--yet also possessed of a deeply feeling nature. Mary is not the romantic victim of history but a courageous adventurer with a reckless heart and a magnetic influence over men and women alike. Vengeful against her enemies and the more ruthless of the two queens, she is untroubled by plotting Elizabeth's murder.

"Elizabeth, however, is driven to anguish at finally having to sanction Mary's death for treason. Working almost exclusively from contemporary letters and writings, Dunn explores their symbiotic, though never face-to-face, relationship and the power struggle that raged between them. A story of sex, power and politics, of a rivalry unparalleled in the pages of English history, of two charismatic women--told in a masterful double biography."

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Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart

By John Guy

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"Guy draws on sources as varied as the secret communiqués of English spies and Mary"s own letters (many hitherto unstudied) to depict her world and her actions with stunning immediacy. Here is a myth-shattering reappraisal of her multifaceted character and prodigious political skill. Guy dispels the persistent popular image of Mary as a romantic leading lady, achieving her ends through feminine wiles, driven by love to murder, undone by passion and poor judgment.

"Through his pioneering research, we come to see her as an emotionally intricate woman and an adroit diplomat, maneuvering ingeniously among a dizzying array of powerful factions — the French, the English, duplicitous Scottish nobles, and religious zealots — who sought to control or dethrone her. Guy"s investigation of Mary"s storied demise throws sharp new light on questions that have baffled historians for centuries, including whether or not Mary was framed for the murder she lost her throne over."

(From the publisher's description)

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