Heretic Queen: Queen Elizabeth and the Wars of Religion

Susan Ronald, Author
Susan Ronald. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-312-64538-0
Reviewed on: 05/07/2012
Release date: 08/07/2012
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In this companion volume to Pirate Queen, Ronald’s 2007 study of the life and times of England’s Elizabeth I , the author sets the Elizabethan age within the context of the Catholic-Protestant wars of religion that flared across Europe throughout the latter half of the 16th century. Elizabeth had witnessed the religious divisions that marked the reigns of her infamous father, Henry VIII, as well as her Protestant brother, Edward VI, and her Roman Catholic sister, Mary I (“Bloody Mary”), so upon her ascension to the throne in 1558 she was eager to grant a measure of religious tolerance to her subjects. As she and her advisers hammered out the terms of what became known as the Elizabethan religious settlement, they had to contend with political distractions from beyond England’s borders, such as Elizabeth’s beautiful, charismatic, and Roman Catholic cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots, who, with the backing of first France, and then Spain, claimed the throne of England as her birthright. Ronald deftly pulls together a vast amount of historical research into a compelling narrative that’s essential reading for anyone interested in the strife-torn world in which this most fascinating queen used both wits and diplomacy to safeguard her kingdom, despite almost insurmountable odds. 16 pages of b&w photos. Agents: Peter Robinson and Michael Carlisle, Inkwell Management. (Aug.)
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