Leanda de Lisle earned a master's degree in history at Oxford University before embarking on a highly successful career as a journalist and writer. After having three sons, she went on to graduate school and received a master's degree in business administration. She has since held positions as the first columnist for Country Life magazine and as a columnist for The Spectator magazine and The Guardian newspaper. She returned to her first love, history, to write After Elizabeth, her debut book.
Queen Elizabeth famously refused to marry, causing a foreign-born king to ascend to the English throne in 1603. In her first book, Lisle nimbly examines Elizabeth's waning months and the introduction of James VI of Scotland as James I of England, demonstrating that the transition was anything but smooth or preordained. The aging Elizabeth remained unwilling to name her successor for fear that courtiers would abandon her to curry favor with the next ruler. Indeed, prominent statesmen and courtiers had, years earlier, had opened channels of communication with the presumptive successor. Lisle presents a memorable cast of characters striving to mold the transition. Scots feared losing their king and their independence, while Englishmen saw a flood of key appointments and titles go to foreign favorites. Various alternative candidates to the throne were favored by Catholics and Puritans, as well as the rulers of France, Spain and Venice according to their perceived stances on religion. James's greatest desire was to mediate religious reconciliation, but in the end, he made neither side happy and Englishmen began to remember fondly their good queen Bess. Lisle uses this brief period as a lens through which to view the key issues of both reigns, while commenting subtly on the nature of historical reputations. 24 pages of color illus. (Jan. 31) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Advance praise for After Elizabeth
"Leanda de Lisle has done what historians, to date, have
overlooked. She spots the story in the seemingly uneventful
handover of power to James I after Elizabeth's death and
rediscovers its thrilling drama. James's accession was far from
inevitable-de Lisle vividly recounts the uncertainty, greed,
intrigue, and hypocrisy that defined the new age. We enter a
slippery, twilight world where legitimacy is debased and conspiracy
and corruption thrive. This is an original, informative, absorbing
account, written with verve and style."
-John Guy, author of Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart "A deep and fascinating account of this transformative year. Leanda de Lisle's close focus draws us into palace corridors, country houses, and city streets where the excitement, intrigue, and danger are palpable."
-Jane Dunn, author of Elizabeth & Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens
"This masterly account recaptures superbly the edgy, wary feel of court and country at the key moment when Tudor England was transformed into Stuart Britain. In emphasizing the faults of Queen Elizabeth I and the acuity of her successor, King James I, Leanda de Lisle has brilliantly subverted the traditional story."
-Andrew Roberts, author of Napoleon and Wellington: The Long Duel