This is the first of Antonia Fraser's books that I have read. Truth to tell I have hitherto resisted on the mistaken grounds that I thought her writing would be lightweight. This previous `thinking' I based on her popularity across the decades. Well more fool me!
Her writing is intelligent and accessible, a combination which makes for a good read.
This book is slim and thus represents somewhat of a fast canter through King James' life. It should be regarded as a good introduction, giving an overview from which one can dive deeper in other books - although these seem to be thin on the ground.
King James' contributions have largely been overlooked by later events in C17th, but it was he who gave us the beautifully written King James Bible and who `created' Great Britain, by the union of England and Scotland. He it was who first introduced Arab blood into racehorses and he had foresight in taking a very dim view of tobacco.
Fraser in her introduction tells us that she has attempted to portray James in the round, talking about both his good and his bad points and to put the latter, in particular within their context - primarily his cold, stern and at times dangerous upbringing and the debt that he inherited from his predecessor Elizabeth. I think she has achieved this; I detect no obvious bias.
It also reveals how James' reign, to an extent, set Charles I up on the collision course that became his reign.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in dipping his or her toe into the beginning of the Stuart dynasty.