Don’t get me wrong. I love Shakespeare and there is nothing wrong with this being different. In fact, Vive la différence!
From the dust jacket:
Lady Gruadh, called Rue, is the last female descendent of Scotland’s most royal line. Married to a powerful northern lord, she is widowed while still carrying his child and forced to marry her husband’s murderer, a rising warlord named Macbeth.
This is not Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It is not a play intended to entertain and be politically benign. It does not have a male hero. It is less a tragedy than a fascinating glimpse of a time in history. Researched from 11th century Celtic Scotland, this tale is told from the perspective of the Queen; it is her own story. From a childhood full of adventure, danger, and excitement, she has needed to be brave, even fierce. Combine this with her strong sense of honour and the knowledge of powers taught her by her mother, we have the makings of a true adventure.
Rue begins her story near the end. Her young son is king and she, the dowager queen after the death of her husband, King Macbeth. There is a usurper king, Malcolm Canmore, who is holding her fortress under siege where she stubbornly remains with a few staunch friends, several priests, her bard, and her remaining warriors, refusing to go to a convent but relying on the protection of her son.
King tells the story in such a way that it is fast-paced — full of suspense, magic, betrayal, murders, and usurpers. With Scottish enemies warring and squabbling within and Viking enemies invading from without, there is never a dull moment. Being the only female descendant in all of Scotland, a direct descendant from Kenneth mac Alpin, high king of Picts & Scots, she was a natural target for kidnapping and bargaining, with many lords of power vying for her hand in marriage. She became a warrior in her own right; this Lady Macbeth is a survivor with a great story to tell.
I love books that have maps and genealogy inside their front covers. This one has both. It also has a glossary of Scottish gaelic terms and pronunciations. (I hate it when uncommon words are used without explanation so this is great.) I think this book would make a great movie, full of action and history and, after seeing Braveheart / Coeur Vaillant (Bilingual), I thought that Mel Gibson should produce it. I couldn’t find an email address or any other way to reach him to tell him about it so maybe he’ll see my blog and read the book! I hope so. Great book! Great read! Maybe someday a great movie!!
You can listen to a sample from the novel at King’s website.