From Publishers Weekly
In King's follow-up to Lady Macbeth, Queen Margaret feeds the hungry and clothes the poor while war rages at home and abroad in 11th-century Scotland. Margaret transforms from devout exile into devout yet savvy queen when she marries King Malcolm Canmore, 18 years her senior and famous for killing Macbeth and his heir to the Scottish thrown. Newlywed Margaret first hears of Macbeth's unrepentant widow, Lady Gruadh, who has just sent her gifted granddaughter Eva to Malcolm's court to serve as bard, confidant, and spy. With Eva by her side, an emboldened Margaret embraces both Celtic and Latin religious traditions, aids the poor, frees prisoners, introduces the Scots to English manners, and helps negotiate peace. As she matures, Margaret's love for her husband and his people deepens and their relationship comes richly to life. Though clichés often plague the prose ("Tension and turbulence rode the air like dark clouds before a storm"), King's blend of historical figures and fictional characters turns a medieval icon into a believable mother, wife, and ruler. Quotes from original sources offer context and insight as to where the record ends and imagination begins. (Dec.)
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King whisks readers back to eleventh-century Scotland in this atmospheric historical that interweaves the stories of Margaret of Scotland and Lady Macbeth. When Margaret, a Saxon princess, and her party are shipwrecked on the Scottish coast, she becomes a pawn in an elaborate game of political chess played between her brother, Edgar of England, and Malcolm Canmore, the Scottish warrior-king. After accepting and adapting to her fate, the duty-bound Margaret strikes up an unexpected friendship with Eva, a mystical female bard with suspicious ties to the king’s enemy, the infamous Lady Macbeth. When Eva is accused of treason, it is Margaret who is charged with deciding the fate of her friend. Although you might think that Saxon-era England has been done to death, King’s move north pleasantly reinvigorates a period rife with political, religious, and social tensions and turmoil. --Margaret Flanagan
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