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Summary

More than 400 years after her death, Mary Queen of Scots remains one of the most romantic and controversial figures in British history. Antonia Fraser's classic biography of her won the James Tait Prize when it was first published in 1969. It became an international best-seller and was translated into nine languages.

Mary passed her childhood in France and married the Dauphin to become Queen of France at the age of 16. Widowed less than two years later, she returned to Scotland as Queen after an absence of 13 years. Her life then entered its best known phase: the early struggles with John Knox and the unruly Scottish nobility; the fatal marriage to Darnley and his mysterious death; her marriage to Bothwell, the chief suspect, that led directly to her long English captivity at the hands of Queen Elizabeth; the poignant and extraordinary story of her long imprisonment that ended with the labyrinthine Babington plot to free her, and her execution at the age of 44.

Antonia Fraser's biography, four years in the writing, enters fully into the life of an historical figure who continues to capture the popular imagination. It provides a moving answer to the question, "What was Mary Queen of Scots really like?"

©1996 Antonia Fraser (P)2002 Orion Publishing Group Ltd

What listeners say about Mary Queen of Scots

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Decapitated history

Abridged to the point of banality (little more than the general knowledge of an educated Scot) and narrated without concern for the eccentricity of Scottish pronunciation of proper nouns; the English have their own caprices, listening to this is rather like watching a tv miniseries rather than a respectable history.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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gobsmacking

Where does Mary Queen of Scots rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

excellent

What did you like best about this story?

brought Mary to life & showed her strengths & failings

Which character – as performed by Patricia Hodge – was your favourite?

mary herself

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Amazed at how much mary experienced

Any additional comments?

would have preferred the unabridged version

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Really really recommended

Up until now I've very much been a 20th Century history boy, so this was my first foray into the Tudors. On the basis of this book I really wish I'd done it sooner.

This is an excellent audiobook in terms of writing,narration & production, and although it is primarily a factual book I found myself being hooked in a 'I wonder what happens next' way as one is with any of the good thrillers.

I thoroughly recommend this book, and it's Lady Antonia's '6 Wives...' for me next month.

2 people found this helpful

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A fascinating history which reads like a novel

Fraser's biography is rightly seen as a classic. Thoroughly researched, detailed, yet reads with the page-turning excitement of a novel. Arguably it's a little bit partial in places, but there's no harm in that when the partiality is overt and the reader can mentally correct for it. This is of course an abridged version, and although some of the detail (and the richness of the pen-portraits of the venal and corrupt Scottish nobility) are inevitably lost in the process, nonetheless it's pretty faithful to the feel of the original print version. Patricia Hodge's narration is excellent, too.

1 person found this helpful

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Riveting and educational

Narator excellent, beautifully written. The story of Mary's life and death with the politics that shaped it

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Excellent.

Excellent. Both detailed as a history, and absorbing as a story. Why anyone would prefer fictionalised history when we have this is a mystery.

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Perfect!

Antonia Fraser only writes excellent books! This one is no exception. It’s a fully in depth, rounded view of a woman surrounded by myth. To most people, Mary has been either a saint or a devil. This book shows that she was neither, she was a complicated, vulnerable woman, born to an almost impossible destiny.

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Intising a really good listen

This was said good listen, and I learnt lots

Well read
Thank you all so much

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Perfect in every way.

Well written and researched , excellently read. Altogether a most enjoyable and instructive few hours.

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excellent

thus book is a real classic, and it was a joy to listen to this accomplished performance

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-08-19

A Must Read

This is an audiobook to which one effortlessly listens. A magnificent Queen that is timeless and everyone must know her story.