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After Elizabeth: The Death of Elizabeth and the Coming of King James [Paperback]

Leanda de Lisle
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 May 2006

A brilliant history of the succession of James I of England, and the shifting power and lethal politics that brought him to the throne.

In the dawn of the 17th-century when Mary Queen of Scots was dead and Elizabeth I grown old, the eyes of the English turned to Mary’s son, James VI of Scotland. Leanda de Lisle's book focuses on the intense period of raised hopes and dashed expectations between Christmas 1602 and Christmas 1603, during which Elizabeth died, James was crowned and the ancient enemies of England and Scotland were ruled by one monarch for the first time.

With its focus on a narrow space of time, this immensely readable history illuminates a wider period, telling in dramatic detail how the suffocating conservatism of Elizabeth’s rule was replaced with that of the energetic James. It is a story in which fortunes were made and lives lost as courtiers vied for wealth and influence. As well as painting a superb portrait of Court life, 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.

Drawing extensively from original sources and contemporary accounts, 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.

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After Elizabeth: The Death of Elizabeth and the Coming of King James + The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: The tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey + Tudor: The Family Story
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (15 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007126654
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007126651
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 489,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I took a Master's degree in Modern History at Oxford University. Modern history begins in the seventh century at Oxford, so not as modern as some people might suppose! I then became a columnist for a number of high profile magazines and newspapers - the Spectator; Country Life; the Guardian amongst others. Some were funny columns, some serious. I soon returned to history, and I have spent the last ten years focussing on the Tudor and early Stuart period. I take time over my books - time to research and time to make that research as readable as possible. I hope I improve with each book. I live in a rural area with my husband of over twenty-five years and I have three sons - all of whom read history at university, although the youngest one read ancient history. We also have a huge brown labrador called Fitz. His full name is Fitz Pepsi - his father was called Pepsi and is still much missed. We don't own a cat, but we have a regular tortoiseshell visitor who stares at my husband in the garden as if he owns the place.

Product Description


‘This is an original, informative, absorbing account, written with verve and style.’ John Guy

‘A deep and fascinating account. Leanda de Lisle’s close focus draws us into palace corridors, country houses and city streets where the excitement, intrigue and danger of the times are palpable.’ Jane Dunn

‘Riveting…Brilliantly recaptures the uncertainty and intrigue rife in the country and court at the key moment when Tudor England became Stuart Britain…A well researched and well written book.’ Mail on Sunday

‘De Lisle brilliantly captures the atmosphere of dangerous uncertainty and furtive intrigue that characterised the last years of Elizabeth’s reign…yet there is far more to this account than well-observed period detail. In particular it recaptures the dangerously unrealistic hope that attended the Scottish king’s accession…there is much here to savour. “After Elizabeth” succeeds impressively in illuminating the moment that effectively creates British history.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Splendid…Manages skilfully to keep you hooked. This is a dense, dark story but one where the modern parallels are but one element that keeps you turning the pages.’ Independent

Scotland on Sunday

'a tremendous read, the political groupings...are deftly presented and the issues at stake clearly explained' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Setting Sun 26 Oct 2008
This book is really good, I couldn't put it down. It is an aspect that is given little considerable investigation in many books but this is an enlightening insight.

It follows the scramble for political favour with the new King as the death of the old Queen Elizabeth approaches despite her sturdy will against the inevitable. We encounter the reasons behind James's famous strange behaviour and his journey south to take the crown of England.
I was never very interested in the political side of the Elizabethan age until I read this book and it is fascinating to see the intrigue and back-stabbing that took place all in the name of royal favour.

It also brings to life the character of King James I, of which I had little knowledge before reading this book. It is possible to see the delight in the subjects for their new King slip away as his true character is revealed and I was surprised how quickly plots against him started cropping up.

It inspired me to want to learn more about James I and the Gunpowder Plot.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dark Side of the Sun 2 Jun 2005
'There are more that look, as it is said, to the rising than to the setting sun'. So said Elizabeth I as she faced her inevitable death and displacement as ruler of England by her cousin James VI of Scotland. And so begins Leanda de Lisle's compelling and elegantly written book. 'After Elizabeth' unravels the tangled skein of intrigue, plot and faction that surrounded James' accession and in doing so reveals the bloody and desperate politics of fortune that underpinned the dawn of the Stuart dynasty.
In telling the story, Leanda de Lisle demonstrates a masterly, accomplished understanding of the period, combined with a keen eye for those gems of historical detail that rev every good account into life. So we see the sorry demise of the once-glorious Elizabeth, now a black-toothed, bad-tempered old crone, festering to death, her cheeks stuffed with rags and her body almost physically incapable of carrying the burden of her own ceremonial robes at the opening of parliament. And as we journey south from Edinburgh with James - strange-looking, poorly dressed and physically weakened by a defect of birth - the whole of seventeenth-century England springs awake: riven by religious divisions; ravaged by plague; uncertain of its destiny under a peculiar new monarch.
Personalities, politics and places: Leanda de Lisle captures them all in style, and in doing so revives the last great story of the Tudors, and the first great story of the Stuarts.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This is a brilliant book to read, covering an area of history that's often mentioned in passing but not looked at in detail.
The author writes in detail about the last couple of years of Elizabeth I's life, with some fascinating insights to her interactions with her council and courtiers and her reasons and reluctance to name an heir.
The accession of James I, is written about in good amounts of detail also; looking at all the problems faced, the factions that couldn't agree on certain subjects (that endangered the stability and wealth of both England and Scotland), religion and the endless plots, which always make excellent reading.
There are some great insights into some of the famous courtiers of the time such as Sir Walter Ralegh(and his ultimate demise) and Robert Cecil et al. The author brings forward evidence and quotes from the time period to interpret the state of play with all the main "players" of the time, and how they dealt with the change from a Tudor to a Stuart monarch.
This is a fantastic, rounded and objective book. The reader gets a really good feel for the character that James was, and the way in which he dealt with situations compared to Elizabeth's reign.
A really enjoyable read, that was hard to put down. 5 stars!
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