In the dawn of the 17th-century when Mary Queen of Scots was dead and Elizabeth I grown old, the eyes of the English turned to Mary’s son, James VI of Scotland. Leanda de Lisle’s book focuses on the intense period of raised hopes and dashed expectations between Christmas 1602 and Christmas 1603, during which Elizabeth died, James was crowned and the ancient enemies of England and Scotland were ruled by one monarch for the first time. With its focus on a narrow space of time, this immensely readable history illuminates a wider period, telling in dramatic detail how the suffocating conservatism of Elizabeth’s rule was replaced with that of the energetic James. It is a story in which fortunes were made and lives lost as courtiers vied for wealth and influence. As well as painting a superb portrait of Court life, 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 and the failed rebellions, government corruption and religious persecution which set the stage for James’s accession to the throne of England. Drawing extensively from original sources and contemporary accounts, 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.
Reviews of After Elizabeth
‘This is an original, informative, absorbing account, written with verve and style.’ John Guy
‘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
‘Riveting…Brilliantly recaptures the uncertainty and intrigue rife in the country and court at the key moment when Tudor England became Stuart Britain…A well researched and well written book.’ Mail on Sunday
‘De Lisle brilliantly captures the atmosphere of dangerous uncertainty and furtive intrigue that characterised the last years of Elizabeth’s reign…yet there is far more to this account than well-observed period detail. In particular it recaptures the dangerously unrealistic hope that attended the Scottish king’s accession…there is much here to savour. “After Elizabeth” succeeds impressively in illuminating the moment that effectively creates British history.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Splendid…Manages skilfully to keep you hooked. This is a dense, dark story but one where the modern parallels are but one element that keeps you turning the pages.’ Independent