THE FIRST TRIAL OF MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS by Gordon Donaldson

THE FIRST TRIAL OF MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Unfortunately for Professor Donaldson (University of Edinburgh), this follows right in the wake of Lady Antonia Fraser's seductively sympathetic Mary, Queen of Scots although this reexamination and reevaluation of the first, and lesser known (1568 not 1586) trial of Mary is almost exclusively academic in its origins and intentions. The general reader will quickly be outdistanced by all that is inconsistent and inconclusive in the trial itself along with the prefatory events, shrouded in conjectural claims and circumstantial evidence. Professor Donaldson has scrupulously assessed the background of Mary's return from France and her earlier exposure to factional religion and politics; her disastrous marriage to Lord Darnley and his disposition at Kirk O'Field (her ""foreknowledge. . . established"" but not her complicity), the marriage to the adulterous Bothwell, and finally the enquiries where Mary was ""always moved to tears in greater abundance than the matter required."" The sentence which ""left almost everything unsettled"" is appended by an epilogue moving towards the second, more famous trial. . . . However faithfully close the reading here, the fine calligraphy is hard to follow.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1969
Publisher: Stein & Day