Marie and Mary

Written by Nigel Tranter
Review by Ilysa Magnus

The author, who died in 2000 after publishing more than ninety historical novels about Scotland and Scots-related issues, revisits the stories of Marie of Guise and her daughter, Mary, who later became Queen of Scotland. The history is well known. Marie, wife to James V, ruled Scotland alone after his death. In turbulent times, Marie succeeded in protecting Scotland’s borders, in denying England a foothold on the throne of Scotland by foiling Henry Tudor’s plan to marry Mary to his son, Edward, and by keeping the peace between the Protestants and Catholics living in Scotland.

The story is recounted in typical Tranter fashion; that is, it’s dry, virtually devoid of dialogue, and told in an almost sing-song-y narrative storyteller’s voice. But it is, true to form, Tranter’s voice. If you love Tranter, you’ll love this one. If you need to be involved in the action or want to hear the character speak to you, this novel is not for you.