Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart (Hardcover)

The True Life of Mary Stuart

By John Guy

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780618254118, 608pp.

Publication Date: April 1, 2004



The eminent British historian John Guy has unearthed a wealth of evidence that upends the popular notion of Mary Queen of Scots as a femme fatale and establishes her as the intellectual and political equal of Elizabeth I.
Guy draws on sources as varied as the secret communiqués of English spies and Mary’s own letters (many hitherto unstudied) to depict her world and her actions with stunning immediacy. Here is a myth-shattering reappraisal of her multifaceted character and prodigious political skill. Guy dispels the persistent popular image of Mary as a romantic leading lady, achieving her ends through feminine wiles, driven by love to murder, undone by passion and poor judgment. Through his pioneering research, we come to see her as an emotionally intricate woman and an adroit diplomat, maneuvering ingeniously among a dizzying array of powerful factions — the French, the English, duplicitous Scottish nobles, and religious zealots — who sought to control or dethrone her. Guy’s investigation of Mary’s storied downfall throws sharp new light on questions that have baffled historians for centuries, and offers convincing new evidence that she was framed for the murder for which she was beheaded.
Queen of Scots, the first full-scale biography of Mary in more than thirty years, offers a singularly novel, nuanced, and dramatic portrait of one of history’s greatest women.

Praise For Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart

"Spirited and satisfying....Guy's account has all the twists and turns of a good thriller--and plenty of horror, too." Kirkus Reviews

"As enthralling as a detective story..." --Gerard Kilroy The New York Times Book Review

"Recent royal shenanigans look tame compared with what John Guy unearths in QUEEN OF SCOTS." --Claire Lui Entertainment Weekly

"Queen of Scots is a triumph of biography, artistry, and historical detective work. John Guy has produced a masterpiece, full of fire and tragedy." --Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana

"Rarely have first-class scholarship and first-class storytelling been so effectively combined." --John Adamson, Daily Telegraph

"[An] absorbing biography . . . meticulously researched . . . scholarly and intriguing." --Peter Ackroyd The Times of London

"A definitive biography. . . . Reads as thrillingly as a detective story, and is rich in detail and authoritative in its analysis." --Miranda Seymour, The Sunday Times

"I couldn't put this book down....Never before has [Mary's story] been told with such detail, accuracy, insight and drama." --Gerard DeGroot, Scotland on Sunday