After Elizabeth : How King James of Scotland Won the Throne of England in 1603

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9780007126651: After Elizabeth : How King James of Scotland Won the Throne of England in 1603

A brilliant history of the succession of James I of England, and the shifting power and lethal politics that brought him to the throne. 'Those who live in courts must mark what they say' warned Elizabeth I's godson. 'Who lives for ease had better live away'. At the dawn of the seventeenth century, when Mary, Queen of Scots, was dead and Elizabeth grown old, the English turned from their glorious but ageing queen to Mary's son, James VI of Scots -- the rising sun in the north. Focussing on the intense period of raised hopes and dashed expectations between Christmas 1602 and Christmas 1603, Leanda de Lisle tells in dramatic detail the story of Elizabeth's death and how the suffocating conservatism of her reign was replaced by the energetic, seemingly fair-minded James. As James journeys south to claim his new throne, he is confronted with the extraordinary wealth of his new kingdom, but also with English contempt for his Scots entourage and a stubborn rejection of his hopes for a British union. His welcome turns sour, and those disappointed turn to intrigue, plotting against him -- lives are lost and fortunes won in the struggle for power and influence. In this superb portrait of Elizabeth's court, 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; the government corruption, religious persecution and failed rebellions which set the stage for his accession to the throne of England. A story of shifting power and lethal politics, 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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About the Author:

Leanda de Lisle was educated at Somerville College Oxford, where she took an honours degree in Modern History. A successful journalist and writer she has been a columnist for the Spectator, the Guardian, Country Life and the Daily Express as well as writing for Daily Mail and Sunday Telegraph. She lives in Leicestershire with her husband and three children. This is her first book.

Review:

'This masterly account recaptures superbly the edgy, wary feel of court and country at the key moment when Tudor England was transformed into Stuart Britain. In emphasising the faults of Queen Elizabeth I and the acuity of her successor King James I, Leanda de Lisle has brilliantly subverted the traditional story' Andrew Roberts "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 'Leanda de Lisle has done what historians, to date, have overlooked. She spots the story in the seemingly uneventful handover of power to James I after Elizabeth's death, and rediscovers its thrilling drama. James's accession was far from inevitable -- de Lisle vividly recounts the uncertainty, greed, intrigue and hypocrisy that defined the new age. We enter a slippery, twilight world where legitimacy is debased and conspiracy and corruption thrive. This is an original, informative, absorbing account, written with verve and style.' John Guy 'In After Elizabeth, Leanda de Lisle has brought Elizabeth I's court to life and asks questions about the history of the time. Elizabeth emerges from the book as fearful and isolated, not the confident queen we all learnt about at school. James I is a young, intelligent and astute man, not a fool as we all believed. Raleigh, a hero for schoolboys, was in fact a gross, ill-mannered man, who even plotted with Spain to overthrow James. A fascinating tale of intrigue and power struggles.' Jonathan Spencer-Payne, The Bookseller

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Leanda de Lisle
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