- Hardcover: 544 pages
- Publisher: Macmillan; 1 edition (15 Aug. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0230753647
- ISBN-13: 978-0230753648
- Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 5 x 23.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 543,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Crown of Thistles: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary Queen of Scots Hardcover – Unabridged, 15 Aug 2013
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
' ... coolly crafting the authentic story of how Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I came to be, rather than simply who they were. This is Porter's unique selling point in a crowded field ... Her writing is bold, insightful and vivid.' The Times Saturday Review
'In focusing on the family rivalries that led to Mary's reign and fall, Porter has found a fresh approach to a familiar subject.' Mail on Sunday
'... the book is elegantly written, decently researched and, crucially will alert a new readership to a neglected subject.' The Herald
'... Crown of Thistles is to be applauded as a highly courageous, pioneering attempt to brush the cobwebs off the existing national histories. Linda Porter has a considerable talent for synthesis and in this genre she is likely to excel in the future. Always professional in conception and dispassionate in style, her book deserves a wide readership.' Literary Review
'This gripping account has as many over-lapping branches as a monkey-puzzle tree, but as she weaves those warring kingdom's affairs the author maintains a firm grasp ... The jacket blurb promised rape and violence, and the latter is delivered with regularity. But this many-layered book offers much more, including fresh insights into Mary's downfall, especially the parts played by James V's discarded mistress.' Country Life
'Mary's life was rich in incident and Linda Porter recounts it with judiciousness and verve.' --New Statesman
Mary Queen of Scots fervently believed she had a right to the English throne - a belief that cost her her head. A vivid account of why she came to this belief from an acclaimed Tudor historianSee all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
This history is a little too modern for me, I prefer medieval, but still an interesting book. I first read Mary's history many years ago with Antonia Fraser's book and nothing seems to have changed. Way back then Mary's rape especially was only just mentioned, whereas now it is a definite. Still so much is surmised, we will never know the true story. She had a sad, tragic life and death.
Porter goes back to Katherine de Valois who, after the death of her first husband, Henry V, married Owen Tudor, a very unlikely second husband for a French queen. From here she traces the intertwined destinies of the Tudors and Stuarts whose lines merged when Margaret Tudor, sister to Henry VIII, married James IV, grandfather to Mary Queen of Scots.
So much has been written about the Tudors, but the lives of the difficult James III, the charismatic James IV, and the unlucky James V are far less well known, and Porter does an excellent job of bringing them to life. A minor criticism is that, given the English bias in current history writing, Porter feels it necessary to spend so much time on the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII.
So this does cover Mary's life, and does it in a fluent and lively style, but places her within the contexts of her family and national histories. For anyone wanting a more detailed focus on Mary Stuart, there's Antonia Fraser's established biography (Mary Queen Of Scots) and the newer, superlative book by John Guy (My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots).
Two English Kings, Henry and his son Henry the Eighth were the major royal players, and their near contemporaries in Scotland were the Stuart Kings, James IV and V. Scotland at this time, also had its established Auld Alliance with France and the English always had a difficult relationship with that country, despite flowery political language and big ticket events such as the Field of the Cloth of Gold.
This complex back story produced strong family ties between the Tudor and Stewart families - Henry the Seventh's eldest daughter, Margaret, was married at age 13 to James the IV and subsequent Stewart marriages with French princesses gave the little daughter of James V of Scotland a shared English/Scottish/French ancestry. This little heiress became Queen of Scotland at the age of 6 days, and although her own story is well known, the background to it all is perhaps less familiar. No longer, however, as this pacy book, which reads at times like a novel, puts everything into sharp focus and greatly helps our understanding of the turbulent events that formed the backdrop to Mary Stuart's ultimately tragic life. It also demonstrates that the potential circumstances for a united kingdom were present many, many years before the Union of the Crowns actually happened.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent biography. Its interesting in that her story starts well before she is born and this book put Mary Queen of Scots in context of the logn rivalry (hundreds of years) and... Read morePublished on 29 Jan. 2015 by P. E. Lilley
Very interesting was very impressed with how this part of history was portrayed.Published on 25 Jan. 2015 by mrs jennifer mary carroll
Gives a good insight into the relationship between the English and Scottish courts; which is refreshing as so many authorities concentrate on the English court, neglecting what was... Read morePublished on 18 Dec. 2014 by Michael Huggett
This is an interesting book which tells what was going on in both Scotland and England from around 1485 to 1603, and explains clearly how Mary came to be Queen of Scots and why her... Read morePublished on 13 Dec. 2014 by markr
Really enjoyable book. I thought it was just going to be about Mary Queen of Scots but it was a history of her family as well. Read morePublished on 12 Nov. 2014 by Hazel Davidson
I enjoy reading about history. This book covers the areas that I didn't learn about in school. Or if we did, I wasn't paying attention. Read morePublished on 27 Jun. 2014 by Sammy