George Heriot, jeweller to King James VI and I, moves with the Court from Edinburgh to London to take over the English throne. It is 1603. Life is a Babel of languages and glittering new wealth. The Scottish court speaks Danish, German, Middle Scots, French and Latin. King James gives Shakespeare his first secure position, and to calm the perfidious religious tensions, he commissions his translation of the Bible.George becomes wealthier than the king as he creates a fashion for hat jewels and mingles with Drummond of Hawthornden, Ben Johnson, Inigo Jones and the mysterious ambassador Luca Von Modrich… However both king and courtier bow before the phenomenal power invested in their wives.
Genre: Fiction / Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 250 Pages
Date of Publication: 14/02/2022
The author of this book is Jean Findlay. The publisher is Scotland Street Press.
This novel is an extraordinary mix of fiction grounded in well researched historical fact. Jean Findlay brings us a book that shows us another perspective on sixteenth century life at court as it is written from the perspective of a jewellery maker rather than a lord or royal.
George Heriot is the main character who tells us his thoughts on the royal court and their courtiers. He becomes a very important member of the court thanks to his intelligence and talent. He was appointed the Goldsmith to Anne of Denmark, the Queen Consort. Throughout the story we find out about his life and we also learn more about King James VI and I son of Mary Queen of Scots.
The narrator’s sections of the book are written in normal English as you would expect however the parts of the story containing dialogue between characters is written with a scots twist. English is not my first language but I didn’t find this too complicated to understand and felt it make the story and characters more real. Jean Findlay uses scots dialect as well as incredibly nuanced and descriptive language to really bring the different scenes and environments to the reader.
I was so intrigued with the story from the beginning and this is a book which I didn’t want to put down. I love history and this book touches on so many historical facts that it made me want to research more into it. One such topic that is mentioned repeatedly in the book and that I found particularly fascinating is witchcraft. Superstition and witch-hunting are an ongoing background detail of the story due to King James personal obsession and the society of the periods fear of witchcraft.
If you love to read historical fiction or want an entertaining way to learn more about the history of this period, I would definitely recommend this book to you.
Availability: The book is available in all good bookshops.