In protestant Scotland, Mary was to be confronted with fire and brimstone preacher, John Knox, an ardent calvinist, who would brook no tolerance towards papists. Mary, an ardent catholic and well educated woman, wanted everyone to worship as their conscience dictated. Her benevolent posture and entreaties for religious tolerance fell upon the deaf ears of the rigid John Knox, a fundamentalist fanatic of the worst sort, who would prove to be the bane of Mary's existence. Moreover, her older half-brother, James Stuart, was a cold and calculating man of great ambition whose bastardy was the only thing standing in his way of claiming the crown of Scotland for himself. The book reveals his perfidy and the machinations that he set into play in order to obtain by stealth and intrigue what was Mary's by right. He would secretly work with the English, as well as with the Lords of the Congregation of Scotland, to ensure that he would eventually be the power behind the throne. Meanwhile, Mary would enter into a disastrous marriage with Lord Darnley, a dissolute, though devastatingly handsome, catholic member of the English nobility. This marriage that was to set the stage for a number of violent, heinous acts that were to traumatize Mary and set her upon a course for which there would be no turning back. This most unhappy queen would ultimately give birth to their son, James, the future King of Scotland, under the most difficult of circumstances. Her relationship with dashing James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell, her third and last husband, would prove to be her undoing. The book explores this relationship in great detail, in all its tumultuousness and passion. It delineates the events that led up to their marriage, and Mary's own complicity in them. Eventually, the decisions that Mary would make at this difficult time in her life would render her the captive Queen of Scots and set her on the royal road to Fotheringay Castle in England.
March 1971 : UK Hardback
June 1971 : UK Paperback
March 1972 : USA Mass Market Paperback