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- Published on Amazon.com
British author Danny Saunders is of Scottish descent, holds a bachelor's degree in political science, pursued communication studies at the university level and has worked as a journalist for various written and electronic media. His passion for history and for royalty has lead to his debut novel and he quickly adds, `with The Captive Queen: A Novel of Mary Stuart I wanted to pay tribute to one of the most popular historical figure of Scottish history.'
To get a flavor for Danny Saunders' historical novel it is well to dwell a bit on his Foreword: `When I was a child, my maternal grandmother often talked to me about the predominant place my ancestors had in the history of Scotland and, later on, Great Britain. Once I became an adult, I wanted to pay tribute to these men and women who have, since then, captured my imagination. The tragic life of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, was one of the most important periods in the history of these people. Since that time, no other woman has left such an indelible mark in the past of this country. Six days after her birth, Mary loses her father and becomes queen. She will rule Scotland from 1542 to 1567. Very early on, her reign will be disrupted by her tempestuous relationships with the men of her entourage along with the repeated conspiracies from the Protestants of John Knox. Held captive in England for nineteen years by her cousin Queen Elizabeth I, she will be beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle on February 8, 1587. The Captive Queen: A Novel of Mary Stuart is a historical fiction with a touch of romance. Although it recounts true facts, this book is by no means a biography. One of the main characters, the charming Charlotte Gray, is the sole fruit of my imagination, and any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental. Throughout this captivating story, you will be immersed in the plots that were hatching at the Scottish Royal Court, experience the religious confrontations with the Presbyterian Church along with Mary Stuart's imprisonment and decapitation. After a tumultuous past and a series of misfortunes, Charlotte Gray will attempt to take control of her existence by all means necessary. But will love and friendship finally prevail in this universe of betrayal and chaos?'
What follows is well research history for Mary Stuart but since through PBS series and various operas and plays and films we are familiar with the characters, Danny adds his own touch and his straying form actual fact enhances the romance of the drama. It is filled with the court details and fashions of the times and his introduction of Charlotte Gray is a bit of ingenious manipulation of history that ads a fresh light to this fascinating period of change.
Danny offers a synopsis that gels the book: `Political schemes, religious partisanship and unbridled love shake the Royal Court of Scotland at the end of the Stuart dynasty. Witness to sordid murders, spy for Her Majesty among the Protestants of the infamous preacher John Knox, forced to give up her one true love, thrown out onto the streets then ruthlessly attacked by a drunkard, Charlotte Gray will do everything in her power to remain the sovereign's lady-in-waiting. As for the Queen of Scots, she faces turmoil of a completely different kind: prisoner in a castle under the command of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England, Mary Stuart learns that she is the victim of a vast conspiracy and that her English counterpart has ordered her imminent execution. Despite their hardships, Mary and Charlotte will keep their dignity throughout the storm. The two women will finally find serenity, one in the arms of a man and the other in the arms of God. Interwoven with historical facts of the era, the thrilling The Captive Queen saga is worthy of the greatest royal intrigues that still fascinate us several centuries later.'
No, not all of it is fact, but the foundation is true, and Danny simply embellishes the tale with an infectious enthusiasm that makes the book a fine read. Grady Harp, April 15