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Warden of the Queen's March Mass Market Paperback – 1997

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (1997)
  • ASIN: B000HL0ZRA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By James Paris on October 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
With few exceptions (Cecelia Holland, Dumas Pere, and Robert Graves, for example) historical novels tend toward the gothic or didactic. WARDEN OF THE QUEEN'S MARCH was the first Tranter I read, and it moved me to run out and buy everything of his I could find in print.
Tranter's novel tells the story of Mary Queen of Scots' reign from the point of view of a young Border lord, Thomas Ferniehill of Smailholm (or "Smellum" as the Queen calls him), who is passionately devoted to the Queen and is involved in several key junctures of her tragic reign. I believe that very few of the characters have been invented for the sake of narrative, and Tranter's depictions of James Stewart, Earl of Moray, and of the preacher John Knox are articularly memorable.
The book covers the entire reign up to the start of Mary's captivity in England. Darnley, Bothwell, Rizzio, the "Four Marys," Kircaldy, and all the greats (as well as the infamous) of Scotland during that troubled time make their appearance. And the character of Ferniehill makes an admirable filter for all the high melodrama of the times.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 23, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is historical fiction at its best. A marvelously written book, it captures the essence of a most intriguing part of Scottish history. The narrative is peppered with three dimensional, historical figures, brought vividly to life by a master storyteller, and the progression of historical events is well crafted, keeping the reader turning the pages.
This is the story of Thomas Kerr, a young, Scottish border lord, who from the time he first met Mary, Queen of Scots, became her most devoted and loyal subject. It was to be a life long devotion. It is through his eyes that the reader sees the events and intrigues surrounding Mary's tragic and tumultuous reign unfold, a young ruler beleagured on all sides by the coldly implacable ambitions of the men surrounding her. The reader sees Scottish history in the making from the time of Mary's return to Scottish shores at the age of eighteen, after a fifteen year sojourn in France, until the time of her ignominious departure for England seven years later.
The paths of Thomas and Mary were to cross many times throughout those turbulent years of her reign, as men's ambitions would seek to wreak havoc. Thomas Kerr could always be counted upon to provide whatever service would be of assistance to Mary, as well as whatever protection was at his disposal to keep her, as well as her devoted ladies-in-waiting, safe. In the end, however, even he, her most loyal subject, could not stem the tide of the inevitable tragedy that was to befall Mary, some of which was of her own making. His last sight of her was when he bid goodbye to her, as she sailed away from her native Scotland to England, hoping to find safe harbor and help from the wily Queen Elizabeth I.
This novel is so steeped in Scottish history and rich detail, so as to leave the reader with a distinct feeling for the past about which the author has written. If one is a lover of historical fiction, with a penchant for Mary, Queen of Scots, then one will really enjoy this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JakefromtheLake on July 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
Nigel Tranter tells the story of real-life Thomas Kerr and his service to Mary, Queen of Scots, during her 8-year return to reign in Scotland. The previous well-written reviews provide good overviews. My intent is just to add that author Tranter's excellent story-telling style really brings the people and era to life. The reader feels like he/she is accompanying Kerr on his various missions supporting his Queen, and we are witness to the people and those turbulent times when decisions on allegiances could very well mean life or death. You will be taken across the Scottish countryside and into Holyrood and other castles. To help keep straight the various nobles and other characters, the version I read (Coronet) has a page at the front listing the key people and their titles or roles. Excellent book -- highly recommended!
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