Monday, June 14, 2010

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

I have been fortunate over the years in my license to read what appeals to me rather than something assigned. This allows one book to lead to another. The story of the doomed House of Howard depicted in "House of Treason" by Robert Hutchinson led me almost without a hiccup to "Her Majesty's Spymaster" by Stephen Budiansky. The thread is the foolhardy 4th Duke of Norfolk, only duke in the land, who tangled himself up with Mary, Queen of Scots. He was no match for Francis Walsingham, and, perhaps because I have a modest position in the civil service, I wanted to know more about "Mr. Secretary", what made him tick and how he was able to expose Mary.

Mary was reckless in her imprisonment, and Norfolk aimed too high in his hopes for the marrying of her. He was, due to his naivete, rather easily dispensed with, beheaded in 1572. Mary was the center of other plots that were laid bare by Walsingham. She was saved, perhaps, for as long as she was, by a wavering Elizabeth, who didn't want to set an example of regicide.

From here, I will step into some historical fiction, namely "The Captive Queen of Scots", by the mistress, Jean Plaidy.

1 comment:

Daphne said...

I read Plaidy's book on Mary's early years (The Royal Road to Fotheringay (SP?)) and really enjoyed it. I"m looking forward to reading this one hopefully later this year.