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Marriage Game [Paperback]

Alison Weir
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 Jun 2014
Bestselling historian Alison Weir brings all her knowledge of Elizabeth I to vivid life in a novel of intrigue, sex, plots, mysteries and tragedies, amid all the colour and pageantry of the Tudor court. Their affair is the scandal of Europe. Queen Elizabeth presents herself as the Virgin Queen but cannot resist her dashing but married Master of Horse, Lord Robert Dudley. Many believe them to be lovers, and there are scurrilous rumours that Elizabeth is no virgin at all. The formidable young Queen is regarded by most of Christendom as a bastard, a heretic and a usurper, yet many princes covet Tudor England and seek her hand in marriage. Under mounting pressure to take a husband, Elizabeth encourages their advances without ever committing; a delicate, politically-fraught balancing act which becomes known as 'The Marriage Game'. But treading this dangerous line with Robert Dudley, the son and grandson of traitors, could cost her the throne. Played out amidst the splendour of the Tudor court and the most famous events of a great age, The Marriage Game is a dramatic, complex and deeply poignant tale of intrigue, love and loss. At its heart is our greatest Queen and the emotional truth of one of history's most extraordinary love affairs.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Hutchinson (26 Jun 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091930863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091930868
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alison Weir lives and works in Surrey. Her books include Britain's Royal Families, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Children of England, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry VIII: King and Court, Mary, Queen of Scots and Isabella: She-Wolf of France.

Product Description


"[Weir] gets right inside the head of the Virgin Queen. The reader has a blissful sense of seeing history as it happens." -- Kate Saunders The Times "Elizabeth explodes from the page, a full-blooded woman, all desire, passion and vulnerability ... a breathtaking story of secrets and lies." -- Kate Williams, author of BECOMING QUEEN and JOSEPHINE "Politics, historical detail and unfulfilled love in Alison Weir's endlessly fascinating account of Elizabeth I's attempt reconcile her personal passions with public life ... The sheer weight of Weir's scholarship underpins the narrative, making it endlessly fascinating." Sunday Express "With the vogue for Tudor history at its height, this is a brilliant novel that focuses on the volatile relationship with Elizabeth I and the charismatic Lord Dudley." Woman and Home "Alison Weir brings all her knowledge of Elizabeth I to vivid life ... The Marriage Game is a dramatic, complex and deeply poignant tale of intrigue, love and loss. Fantastic." Books Monthly

Book Description

Bestselling historian Alison Weir brings all her knowledge of Elizabeth I to vivid life in a novel of intrigue, sex, plots, mysteries and tragedies, with all the colour and pageantry of the Tudor court. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By EleanorB TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Alison Weir is uniquely placed to create fiction around the life of Elizabeth the First, given her extensive research and factual work on the Tudor period. In this novel she deals with Bess's infuriating (for her advisers) and frustrating (for herself and Robert Dudley equally) method of dealing with the pressure to marry and produce heirs for England. Her answer answerless continues for decades in a dance of courtships across the royal houses of Europe, all of which come to nothing, although the Queen herself clearly enjoys the 'game' and the gifts and flattery which accompany it. Weir brilliantly describes the utter panic that ensues when Elizabeth contracts smallpox: her life hanging in the balance and no acceptable heir in the frame makes the whole marriage game considerably more serious.

Weir's highly readable and very well written tale presents Elizabeth as part minx and part Gloriana. The vexed questions are all dealt with imaginatively: do she and Dudley have a full sexual relationship, is she so psychologically damaged by her mother's fate that marriage and motherhood are genuinely terrifying to her, or does she simply not want to share her power or be governed by a man? The other mystery of course is that surrounding the death of Dudley's wife, Amy, conveniently parked in the country and clearly unwell. If it were to look as if she has been murdered by Dudley, and not simply taken a fatal fall, one wonders who has most to gain and that is possibly actually not Dudley himself, as a man with such a tarnished reputation will not make good marriage material in the eyes of the world, and Mr Secretary Cecil no longer has the handsome Robert as a significant problem.

These conundrums are all addressed in a cracking work of fiction, which I highly recommend as a page turner that any fan of Tudor fiction will thoroughly enjoy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alison Weir on top form 3 July 2014
By TVgold.
After the awful endurance test of the Elizabeth of York biography, I had my doubts about buying this novel. I needn't have done. Her three previous novels were compelling page turners and this latest foray into fiction does not disappoint. It brings Elizabeth alive as a character, and is a fascinating study of the passionate relationship between Elizabeth and robert Dudley, the man that almost certainly she loved but could never bring herself to make love to. The novel attempts to address the mystery of the death of Amy Dudley while leaving it open for the reader to decide. The wider context of Elizabeth's reign is not neglected, and Elizabeth comes across as an infuriating tragic but humorous character impossible to dislike. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Marriage Game 16 July 2014
By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER
One of the biggest issues that always faced Queen Elizabeth I in her lifetime was the succession to the English throne. Before she became queen, her concern was whether she would live long enough or be able to succeed her father, her brother or her sister. And once she was queen, who would succeed her? Her councillors and indeed politicians all over Europe were quite sure she would soon marry and have children so as to ensure the Tudor succession. Who she would marry was considered just as much a matter for political consultation, not her personal gratification. Should she marry an Englishman or someone outside England? A Catholic or a Protestant? A King who would have his own loyalties to his country, or a Prince who could settle in England and be consort to England’s Queen Regnant? But given that Elizabeth’s sister Mary’s marriage had not been successful in this regard, there was understandable hesitation in committing the Queen to a marriage that would bind England also.

Elizabeth herself kept her people and her councillors guessing just about her whole reign as to the marriage question, or the “marriage game” as Alison Weir has rightly termed it in this novel. Elizabeth’s heart may have been given to Robert Dudley, but he was unacceptable to many for multiple reasons – he was married when Elizabeth became queen, and his wife’s fate only heightened Dudley’s unsuitability to be husband to Elizabeth. Politically Elizabeth could have chosen her sister’s widower, or a French prince, or any other suitably titled and acceptable candidate. But for many reasons, both political and personal Elizabeth ruled alone. All that is widely known, but Alison Weir has taken that and woven it into a magical novel of Elizabeth the woman, and Elizabeth the Queen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Marshall Lord TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"The Marriage Game" by Tudor historian Alison Weir is a clever and entertaining, if sometimes maddening, novel about the love life of Queen Elizabeth the first.

If you have read more than a few romances you will almost certainly have encountered some in which an infuriating heroine who cannot make up her mind leads the hero and often a host of other suitors a merry and highly frustrating dance. Both in real history and in this book, "Good Queen Bess" absolutely was that girl. Hence when I say that the book is sometimes maddening I mean that one identifies sufficiently with the characters to find Queen Elizabeth's behaviour maddening - as it was, although this book helps you get inside her thoughts enough to understand why she behaved the way she did.

When she came to the throne Queen Elizabeth already had good reason to be fearful and cautious about the dangers of love. She had been two years old when her father had her mother beheaded. A year after that the Queen for whom Henry VII disposed of her mother, Jane Seymour, died in childbed. When she was fourteen her last stepmother, Catherine Parr, also died in childbed. And shortly after that her stepfather Thomas Seymour who had married Henry VIII's widow Catherine Parr, was beheaded for High Treason on a number of grounds, one of which was that he behaved with improper familiarity towards Princess Elizabeth. This may have been part of a treasonous plot to marry her and gain the throne. Whether or not that was the case, the Regency council headed by Seymour's own brother were sufficiently convinced of it to have him executed.

Having seen so many of those who were close to her die in such circumstances, Elizabeth had every reason to know that love could be dangerous.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
An interesting novel, but sometimes laboured
Published 8 hours ago by peter clay
4.0 out of 5 stars Good buys
Can't review this book as I have not yet had time to read it.
Published 4 days ago by smudge
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
thank you
Published 6 days ago by rosie2
5.0 out of 5 stars Alison weir never disappoints
Amazing book, very well written and kept me gripped to the end
Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars I think I was disappointed in this
I think I was disappointed in this. It got very repetitive and sometimes the writing style became very peculiar, as if Alison Weir was forgetting herself and slipping back into her... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Miss E. L. Lawless
3.0 out of 5 stars A Royal Love Story
An interesting insight into the lasting relationship of Elizabeth and Robert Dudley. Not a great deal about Burghley and Walsingham who, I believe, played a very significant role... Read more
Published 8 days ago by David Norman
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight
Would fully recommend this book as an avid reader of history very well told and written

Have read all Alison Weir books find them very entertaining
Published 11 days ago by Nonna
1.0 out of 5 stars I usually like Alison Weir's books
I usually like Alison Weir's books, but I think this is very slow and rather boring. Every page seems the same and not a lot happens and there are a lot of pages!
Published 11 days ago by Marsha
4.0 out of 5 stars Love story...
As always, Alison Weir brings the scandal of the age alive with her usual skill and fine attention to detail. Read more
Published 12 days ago by jaffareadstoo
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating analysis of Elizabeth's aversion to marriage. good easy...
I liked the easy narrative of this story and, despite already knowing the outcome I was gripped by the twists and turns. Read more
Published 13 days ago by andypandy
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