Shadows on a Throne by Juliet Dymoke

(affiliate links included)

Macbeth’s star is ascending. Successful in battle, ennobled by King Duncan and loved by his fellow thanes and lords, he has every reward he could want – including his longed-for wife Giorsal, the beautiful Lady Macbeth.
So what madness makes him long to offer her a crown, to contemplate the unthinkable, to murder a king?

Shadows on a Throne is a prequel to Juliet Dymoke’s “Conqueror Trilogy” which focuses on the establishment of England after William the Conqueror. Shadows on a Throne focuses on the Scottish history and struggle for the Scots kingdom during the rise and time of MacBeth.

As a person who knew nothing about the MacBeth history (I’ve never read the Shakespeare story), this was really fascinating story. Dymoke does a really good job integrating the actual facts, myth and history with credible leaps of writing to fill in the gaps that are a bit unknown from a time so long ago. I have to say that MacBeth was a terrible person, Lady MacBeth as well. Their story is one of sadness for all involved–themselves, their friends and the Scots. This book was a new time period to read about–as I mentioned in another review, I’m more of a Tudor era gal–but equally interesting. Dymoke certainly creates a very full world as she brings the reader back to this medieval time. You feel the struggle of MacBeth’s friends as they struggle to watch him change, and the anguish of MacBeth and his wife as they deal with the consequences of their actions. It is a stressful, and desperate time, and certainly that is portrayed well in the story.

I’d recommend this book. It is a bit drier than some of the others I’ve read, but I think that is largely as most of the Philippa Gregory books are written about women and there is just more drama with women to write about. She does an excellent job bringing history to life; it was a very enjoyable read. If you enjoy her story as much as I did, you may want to continue the series or read some of her other English history series as well.

Dymoke’s other series include: The Conqueror Trilogy and the Plantagenet Series  (affiliate links)

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