The New York Times bestseller from Margaret George—a captivating novel about history's most enthralling queen, the legendary Elizabeth I.
England’s greatest monarch has baffled and intrigued the world for centuries. But what was the Virgin Queen really like? Lettice Knollys—Elizabeth's flame-haired, look-alike coussin—thinks she knows all too well. Elizabeth’s rival for the love of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and mother to the Earl of Essex, Lettice has been intertwined with Elizabeth since childhood.
This is a story of two women of fierce intellect and desire, one trying to protect her country and throne, the other trying to regain power and position for her family. Their rivalry, and its ensuing drama, soon involves everyone close to Elizabeth, from the famed courtiers who enriched the crown to the legendary poets and playwrights who paid homage to it with their works.
Filled with intimate portraits of the personalities who made the Elizabethan age great—Shakespeare, Marlowe, Dudley, Raleigh, Drake—Elizabeth I provides an unforgettable glimpse of a woman who considered herself married to her people. A queen who ruled as much from the heart as from the head.
Personal and political conflicts among such larger-than-life historical figures as Francis Bacon, Walter Raleigh, Francis Drake, and Will Shakespeare intertwine in George's meticulously envisioned portrait of Elizabeth I during the last 25 years of her reign. Unlike most contemporary depictions of the Virgin Queen, this one is actually a virgin; she's married to England, whose interests she pursues with shrewdness, courage, and wisdom borne of surviving the deaths of her family. Readers see the queen through her own eyes and those of her cousin, Lettice Knollys, wife of Elizabethan heartthrob Robert Dudley, aka the earl of Leicester. Elizabeth's antithesis, thrice-married and much-bedded Lettice, is driven by passion and self-interest, easily evidenced by the story's beginnings: it's 1588, and Elizabeth meets the threat of the Spanish Armada head-on while Lettice calculates how her son might benefit. Like her heroine, George (The Autobiography of Henry VIII) possesses an eye for beauty and a knack for detail, creating a vibrant story that, for nearly 700 pages, enables readers to experience firsthand Elizabeth's decisions, triumphs, and losses. Rather than turn Elizabeth I into a romantic heroine, George painstakingly reveals a monarch who defined an era.
Customer ReviewsSee All
As always, Margaret George has recreated a world painted with vivid characters and stories. She makes you feel as if you have stepped back in time and have become part of that world. Reading the perspective of Lettice was an interesting twist to both the main story of Elizabeth and the background Bolelyn history.
I was sorry to see the end of this book and shall eagerly anticipate the next!
I love it!
The author of this book has been famous for big fat books with a bunch of pages some people hate that but I just love it! She makes it lengthy for those people who don't want to finish a story in two days. I have read her book The Autobiography of Henry VIII three times! I never get bored of that book and so now I think I will keep on reading this book!
Like all of Margaret George's lengthy works, I wished only that it might be a never ending story. She is a magnificent writer whose muse appears to be history itself. Truly she is the queen herself of her genre.