The Kings and Queens of Scotland
Authoritative and accessible illustrated history of the Kings and Queens of Scotland from the earliest Scots and Pictish Kings c.400 through to the Union of the Crowns in 1707.
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The Scottish monarchy has a peculiarly bloody history, even more so than its English counterpart. Through the ages before official union with England in 1707 the royal lineage took many a complex turn and survived some unlikely alliances. Few Britons may realize that Scotland's royal history can be traced back farther than England's, and it has provided the modern British monarchy with the longest dynasty in Europe. Richard Oram begins his study in AD 400 and takes us through to 1707, revealing along the way many startling facts of which the Scots are rightly proud. Some of their rulers performed remarkable feats against great odds, turning their fragile kingdom into a fortress of northern Britain. Indeed, on more than one occasion the Scots came close to conquering and colonising England. Through a series of readable short essays we learn much about the resilient, proud and resourceful Scottish monarchy and its people through the Dark Ages and beyond. Scottish royal history is studded with such formidable figures as Macbeth, Robert the Bruce and the unfortunate Mary, Queen of Scots. There were lesser nobles, their names now all but forgotten south of the border, who also came close to toppling the numerically superior English. Causantin mac Aeda, for instance, may not be found in many school history books today, but he almost snatched mastery of Britain from the heirs of King Alfred. Then there was David I, who extended his kingdom almost to the gates of York, while James IV built the finest navy in northern Europe. Because of the scope of this book and its relative brevity, it is able to do little more than scratch the surface of what is a powerful and exciting tale, but the contributors make a good job of it and leave the reader eager to learn more. The colour pictures are of exceptional quality but the black-and-white shots, which form the majority, are often gloomy and lack definition. (Kirkus UK)