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Jacob Abbott's account of Mary Queen of Scots life and untimely death is complete with original illustrations of Mary herself and her various residences.
Abbott's history is both embracing and superb as an introduction to one of the most divisive and controversial figures of the Tudor era. Mary's complex role in the politics of the day, and her potential as a rival to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I is related at skilled pace in a lively tone.
The book begins by examining Mary's childhood years, and her time spent being educated in France. The agreement - The Treaty of Greenwich - which would pair the young Mary to Edward, the son of Henry VIII, is detailed, as are hopes that the union would cement relations between the English and the Scots.
Clever, capable and charming, Mary Queen of Scots was initially seen as a promising monarch. However the rules of accession of the time made her very existence problematic for Queen Elizabeth I. This problem would underline the remainder of Mary's life, her nature as a potential threat made eternal by her very blood.
Abbott gives especial attention to the major figures in Mary's life - Lord Darnley and the Earl of Bothwell for instance receive detailed profiles. The dramatic circumstances that would lead to Mary's imprisonment and eventually her death, plus the political realities that defined this destiny, are vividly described.