Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart

Version: Abridged
Author: John Guy
Narrator: John Guy
Genres: History, Biography & Memoir
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Published In: April 2004
# of Units: 5 CDs
Length: 6 hours
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An intimate, myth-shattering new biography of Mary Queen of Scots by a premier historian that draws on a trove of newly discovered sources. Queen of Scots, the first full-scale biography of Mary in more than thirty years, offers a singularly novel, nuanced, and dramatic portrait of one of history's greatest women.

John Guy draws on sources -- many previously unstudied -- as varied as the secret communiques of English spies and Mary's own letters.

Dispelled is the ingrained popular image of Mary as a romantic leading lady, achieving her ends through feminine wiles, driven by love to murder, undone by passion and bad judgment. We come to see her as an emotionally intricate woman and an adroit diplomat, maneuvering ingeniously among a dizzying array of factions who sought to control or dethrone her. Guy's investigation of Mary's storied downfall throws sharp new light on questions that have baffled historians for centuries, and offers convincing new evidence that she was framed for the murder for which she was beheaded.

Reviews (7)

Not for me

Written by RML on December 9th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 1/5

This book was not for me. This period of history is not one I have a strong interest in and this book did not increase my interest. I was unaware of the history prior to reading the book so that may have been the reason it did not do much for me. I found the writing dry and factual with little editorial insight into the possible thoughts or motives of each person. I was not able to gain a true picture of the "real" Queen Mary. In addition the plots, turns and twists were almost impossible to keep track. This book was not a favorite.


Written by Anonymous from Santa Rosa, CA on October 22nd, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I have always been interested in history but at the same time, have always struggled with European history during this time. Maybe it was because it was the abridged version, or maybe it was just me having a hard time keeping all the Henry's straight, but the first disc was tough. I was very interested in the learning about Mary though, so I hung in and it paid off. Really interesting, I enjoyed it very much and would recommend it to even those who typically have a hard time with European history, as I do!

Queen of Scots

Written by Donald Sanborn on March 19th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 5/5

A gripping narrative, very well written and easy to follow, of the complex, tragic, and dramatic events of the life of Mary Queen of Scots. The reader is also excellent.


Written by Anonymous on August 2nd, 2007

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This book was much better than I expected. I was looking for a history lesson - which I got. But I received so much more...interesting politics, romance, adventure, thought provoking.

An insightful, if not comprehensive biography

Written by Anonymous from Woodstock, GA on April 24th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Overall, I highly recommend Guy's work. It ignores the mythological Mary and uses source materials, documents and her own written words to try and better understand the woman and her times. I would echo the misgivings about her time in France being glossed over, and her 18 years in captivity were rushed through in just minutes. Still, Guy focuses on the two or three events critical to her life and the ultimate cause of her death. Excellent narration by the author.

Queen of Scots: the True Life of Mary

Written by Patsy Young from Houston, TX on February 7th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 3/5

I was disappointed in this biography. Little information was given about the Queen's time in France, apparently the only happy time of her life, and little description of her long incarceration. I would have liked to hear more discussion of this woman's character and intellect since she seemed to make many mistakes of judgment in her life. Perhaps the problem is that the recorded book was abbreviated.

Queen of Scotts

Written by Yolanda Clark on December 13th, 2004

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I was pleasantly surprised by this book about the life of Mary Queen of Scots. In all the historical documentation about Queen Elizabeth I, I had only thought of Mary as a little known victim of palace intrigue. This book reveals her strength of character and her perseverance in the face of unbeatable odds. It also gave me a greater insight into the choices she made whether right of wrong. The author made me wish I had known her. A good read.

Author Details

Author Details

Guy, John

Formerly provost and history professor at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, Renaissance historian John Guy is now a fellow in history at Clare College, University of Cambridge. He has written several books, including a best-selling textbook, Tudor England, and consults for the BBC.