This is a good novel, although in my opinion not as good as Scott's The Antiquary and the Heart of Midlothian. Scott writes at times in the Renaissance style, there are many references to Shakespeare and his contemporaries, which can put readers off due to its difficulty. However once you get passed the initial language abstruseness, the plot of the novel is well developed and leads up to an exciting climax. The characterisation is good, especially of Elizabeth I, her portrayal whilst it may not be historic, certainly is believable. All in all I would recommend this novel, which does require work, but like all good novels, you are rewarded for the effort you put into it.