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Lady Macbeth: A Novel Hardcover – February 12, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Historical romance novelist King leaps into deeper historical waters with this captivating take on Lady Macbeth, who tells her side of the story with a forceful, uncompromising daring. Gruadh, the future Lady Macbeth and the daughter of 11th-century Scottish prince Bodhe, survives several kidnappings in her girlhood and, determined to uphold the traditions of fierce Celtic women warriors, learns how to fight. Rue meets Macbeth, whose royal blood is nearly as pure as hers, but her father marries her off to the warrior Gillecomgan, of whom she grows fond. Macbeth kills him during Rue's pregnancy and immediately marries her, as is his right as victor—and there soon prove to be many more compelling reasons for the match. As King Malcolm's tyranny causes unrest, the Macbeths embark on a bloody campaign to win over their countrymen. Based on historical evidence and recent theories of the era, this is an epic tale written in high-voltage prose. King's novel will thrill lovers of Shakespeare adaptations and delight anyone who wants to enjoy a ripping tale of love and ambition. (Feb.)
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Review

“A compelling book, vividly realized with fascinating detail."
–Rosalind Miles, international bestselling author of I, Elizabeth

“Forget everything you ever knew about Lady Macbeth! This the real deal, immediate and powerful. Combining fresh new scholarship with a rare gift for storytelling, Susan Fraser King brings to life the true Scottish Queen–brave, wise, and altogether enthralling.”
—Susan Holloway Scott, author of Duchess: A Novel of Sarah Churchill

Lady Macbeth paints a most intriguing portrait of the woman we thought we knew. A richly detailed, beautifully written, and moving story.
—Loretta Chase, USA Today bestselling author

“Weaves fact and fiction seamlessly, and transports the reader to eleventh century Scotland. Fluidly written, sometimes lyrical, Lady Macbeth is fascinating, exciting and memorable.”
—Edith Felber, author of Queen of the Shadows

“Spinning her tale from the steel and bones of history, Susan Fraser King tackles one of literature’s most famous villainesses, and utterly transforms her. With vividly drawn details and richly believable characters, Lady Macbeth takes place in a Scotland that feels so authentic readers can smell the heather and feel the cold northern winds; this novel will forever change the way you view Macbeth and his lady.
—Mary Jo Putney, New York Times bestselling author

"King is an exceptional medievalist who has moved from historical romance to historical fiction with a novel exploring the life of Lady Macbeth--not Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth, but a full-blooded woman with a warrior's heart and a politician's mind.  She will surely influence the way readers view Macbeth and his queen in the future."
—Romantic Times

“Historical romance novelist King leaps into deeper historical waters with this captivating take on Lady Macbeth, who tells her side of the story with a forceful, uncompromising daring…Based on historical evidence and recent theories of the era, this is an epic tale written in high-voltage prose. King’s novel will thrill lovers of Shakespeare adaptations and delight anyone who wants to enjoy a ripping tale of love and ambition.”
—Publishers Weekly

“A fascinating, layered story: King’s novel turns Shakespeare’s play on its ear, setting history against fable as it brings a nuanced and fierce truth to the life of the much-maligned Lady Macbeth.”
–Eloisa James, New York Times bestselling author
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (February 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307341747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307341747
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,336,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan King is the bestselling, award-winning author of over 20 historical novels and novellas, each one praised for historical accuracy, storytelling quality and lyricism. Her first novel, The Black Thorne's Rose, was published in 1994, followed by many historical romances written as Susan King and as Sarah Gabriel. As Susan Fraser King, she is the author of Lady Macbeth: A Novel, and Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland, published in hardcover and trade paperback from Random House. Many of her backlist novels are now available as e-books with more releases planned. A founding member of the successful author blog, "Word Wenches," she holds a graduate degree in medieval art history and lives in Maryland with her family.

Learn more about Susan's books and e-books at www.susanfraserking.com, www.susankingbooks.com and www.wordwenches.com. Contact Susan directly at susankingbooks@gmail.com

Customer Reviews

Very rich in history and well developed characters.
Pam Minutillo
Highly recommended by an avid reader of historical fiction.
camphavas
I'm very picky about books, but I just loved this one.
C. O'Connor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Who was Lady Macbeth? The monster of Shakespeare's greatest play or was she, as this book suggests, simply a woman who needed to be tough enough to survive savage times. The Lady of this novel is born to a heavy handed but loving father, grows up a bit wild and half pagan but knows her value: she bears the bloodline of Scottish kings on both sides of her family. The man who marries her could well be king. She is married off to a powerful lord who turns out to not be such a bad guy. I really liked this touch. Usually if a heroine of a historic novel has two husbands the authors make the first husband a brute or a stupid lout or so old and feeble that no woman would want him. I'm glad the author broke out of that mold. Rue and Macbeth are married purely for political reasons and she is cautious around him and makes it plain that she doesn't trust him. They do not fall madly into love at first sight. There is a physical attraction and Macbeth seems to understand her as well has her father does but the story never turns stickily sentimental. Eventually Rue and Macbeth settle into marriage and she comes to admire him and finally at the end of their lives together she finds that she did love him all along.

Macbeth is a full bodied complicated character. I liked him from the first time he showed up and his death is really quite moving. Lady Macbeth is an excellent historical novel and I read it in two days because I just didn't want to put it down.
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Format: Hardcover
As cold and brutal as the bloody swords that clash for the heart of Scotland, this novel is a harsh reminder of the 11th century battles fought to determine the eventual rise and kingship of Macbeth (Mac bethed mac Finnlaech). Born of royal blood, Gruadh, "Rue of the Sorrows", is given in marriage to the mormaer of Moray, Gillecomgan, but not until after a prophetic kiss on the eve of the new moon with Macbeth, a noble warrior who will loom large in her future. Accommodating her new husband, Gruadh is relatively happy, nearly at term with her child when Macbeth arrives with his soldiers to announce the death of Gruadh's mate. Believing Macbeth to be the murderer of her child's father, the new widow has no choice in these ragged times but to marry Macbeth, although she harbors much anger and suspicion, as well as an unforgiving spirit. After the birth of her son, Lulach, "Rue" is somewhat becalmed, but this is a warrior woman, trained to fight, who will never relinquish her role to become subservient to any man.

After an uneasy truce, husband and wife make amends, Gruadh realizing how heavily his part in her first husband's death weighs on Macbeth. Allowing herself to soften toward a great leader and kind man, Rue of the Sorrows becomes a willing partner as the two discuss favorable portents of one day sharing the throne of Scotland. As mormaer of Moray, Gruadh small queen, the couple is popular with local citizens, Macbeth attending his vast lands, aiding the people through harsh winters and gaining their loyalty for his cause. Macbeth is the ruler they have been waiting for and upon the death of Malcolm, brutal king of Scotland and killer of kin, the country rises up in support of a capable Macbeth.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By camphavas on April 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
How interesting it would have been if Shakespeare had told the truth in his play! He would have had to portray very different characters than he did. In her novel LADY MACBETH, Susan Fraser King does just that, combining detailed historical authenticity and a great, compelling story. I loved the strength of character shown in King's historical Lady Macbeth. Rue, as Lady Gruadh is called in the novel, has strong opinions, yet the reader follows the subtleties of her thinking as she changes her mind about her initial opinion of Macbeth himself, and as she acts on her beliefs and convictions with other characters throughout the story.

I also loved that almost every line in this novel reads like poetry. The writing is beautiful and evocative, and so visual that I could see in my mind everything as it transpired in the story. The author keeps the reader firmly in the world of 11th century Scotland, which takes true skill. It's historically accurate, yet in historical fiction, the strength of this story and its characters, and the quality of the writing is more important than the fascinating historical detail. King does a masterful job of blending both worlds of fiction and history.

Shakespeare invented powerful characters and bloody situations to explore dramatic themes and to meet the political needs of his time, without much attention to actual facts. Susan Fraser King gives us a complete historical perspective on Lady Macbeth, producing a wonderful, enjoyable read. Highly recommended by an avid reader of historical fiction.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Seyton on April 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Lady Macbeth" is certainly one of the best Macbeth stories there are. "King Hereafter" and "Stones of Destiny" are probably the only real competition.

When I first heard about it, and then heard it was a romance novel, I near could've kicked somebody. "Darn it, I know how they'd do it, they'll... Grr! Romances!" I can't usually stand that kind of book. "Lady Macbeth" is nothing of the kind, though. It's not graphic. At all. Ever. And the characters are all realistic. The good ones have flaws. The bad ones have something to redeem them.

A lot of time after Macbeth becomes king is left out completely. A whole lot. But the cuts are made skillfully, and the end, and Macbeth's death, were not damaged at all. It was actually a really good ending.

Definitely worth getting.
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