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Rizzio by @damedenisemina

By Pamelascott

It's Saturday evening, 9 March 1566, and Mary, Queen of Scots, is six months pregnant. She's hosting a supper party, secure in her private chambers. She doesn't know that her Palace is surrounded - that, right now, an army of men is creeping upstairs to her chamber. They're coming to murder David Rizzio, her friend and secretary, the handsome Italian man who is smiling across the table at her. Mary's husband, Lord Darnley, wants it done in front of her and he wants her to watch it done ...

Denise Mina brilliantly portrays the sexual dynamics and politics of power - between men and women, monarch and subjects, master, and servants. The period is masterfully researched yet lightly drawn, the characterisation quick, subtle and utterly convincing. This breathtakingly tense work is a tale of sex, secrets and lies, one that explores the lengths that men - and women - will go to in the search for love and power.


Lord Ruthven wanted him killed during the tennis match, but Darnley said no.- David Rizzio Plays Tennis with His Assassins


(@BirlinnBooks, 2 September 2021, hardback, 103 pages, borrowed from @NACLibraries)



I've wanted to read Rizzio since it was featured in an episode of The Big Scottish Book Club. I loved this book a lot. It's a thin, tiny volume which touches on a vey dark part of Scottish history that I knew nothing about. Despite it's slim size, more happens between these pages than books several hundred pages longer. I devoured it in one volume. I couldn't stop reading because the book is so well-written and gripping. I was in tears before I reached the end, utterly drained.

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