In 1559, when a ragtag troupe of traveling entertainers is snatched from the sodden streets of Rheims to amuse the bored visiting French court, 13-year-old Nicola Ambruzzi impresses the queen with her wit and honesty. The beautiful young Mary takes the girl under her protection as "the queen's own fool," commissioned to speak the truth boldly amid the fawning lies and schemes of the courtiers. Around them swarm secret plots, duplicity, and betrayal; death is a constant threat.
After her weak boy-husband King Francis dies, the kindhearted Mary is unwilling to hear Nicola speak the truth about her suitors. She experiences two disastrous marriages, first with the handsome wastrel Darnley and then--for political expediency--with his murderer, the treacherous Bothwell. When he plots against her, she must flee back to Scotland to try to resume her throne in the midst of swirling conflict between the Protestant lords and their Catholic rulers. Nicola's wit and daring get them through some dangerous situations, but Mary is eventually imprisoned in the stark castle of Lochleven, where their hairsbreadth attempts at escape wind up a story from history as exciting and deeply affecting as any of Yolen's fantasy novels. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell
This is one of the best books that i have read.while the story focuses on Mary queen of scots it also tells Nicola Ambruzzi's story. Read morePublished on May 23 2004
This book was quite good, but quite lengthy. It seemed to go on longer than it needed to or started to soon, or maybe it just had to many details. Read morePublished on Feb. 29 2004
I bought this book not expecting much, just a week read. Instead I got a sensational book! Not only were the characters amusing, but they seemed like real people! Read morePublished on April 28 2003
While not extroadinary, this book definitely stands out as a good, solid story for anyone interested in this time period. Read morePublished on Jan. 11 2003 by "kandladin"
This book was chosen to be on the Interscholastic Reading Compeitition high school list for my area this year. Read morePublished on Aug. 13 2002 by Brian Emling
This book is amazing, fun to read and packed with historical information. (although, some of the info may be questionable) I sincerely recommend this book to ANYONE who knows how... Read morePublished on June 13 2002 by Sarah D.
I think that this book is the best book I've ever read. I love the author's style and everything about the book. Read morePublished on March 4 2002
I really enjoyed this excellent read! The heroine was likable, as were most of the other characters. Read morePublished on March 1 2002