Book summary: Fatal Majesty is the story of Mary, Queen of Scots--but this is no conventional retelling of a fascinating yet familiar tale.
Returning from the sophisticated court of France to take up her throne in a cold and backward Scotland, eighteen-year-old Mary found herself trapped in a web of ambitions and intrigues--those of her self-righteous brother, James, whose ambition was to rule in her place; of her brilliant secretary of state, Lethington, dedicated to placing the Stewarts on the throne of England; and of Elizabeth I, dazzling and unscrupulous, who feared Mary as a threat not only to her crown but to her life.
The intrigues of the men closest to Mary were to be responsible for shaping not only her tragedy but also their own. Yet the secretary stabbed to death at her feet, the murder of her husband, her marriage to his murderer, and even her own end on the headsman's block were not disparate events in an era of easy violence, but episodes in a grand, sometimes terrifying, and ultimately successful design.
Reay Tannahill's masterful control of characterization, pace, and plot combine to deliver a tragic romantic saga with all the complexities of a major political thriller.