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The Lost Tudor Princess by Alison Weir
This was a truly boring and padded out recounting of the life of Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox. She was a niece to Henry VIII and mother-in-law to Mary, Queen of Scots. This is a tale of Margaret’s pretty grim mother, her astonishingly disingenuous father, her entitled hatred of Elizabeth I, her deeply uneasy love for a succession of unsuitable men and her adoration of her fake and dysfunctional son Lord Darnley.

She spent her life plotting, had a near-obsessional determination to make advantageous marriages for her sons and despite indefensible acts, public opprobrium, a toxic atmosphere and much vile and abhorrent skulduggery her grandson James I did become King of Scotland and England.

Margaret Douglas seems to have been loathsome, subversive and fond of shouty huffs but in the end her grandson did achieve the coveted crown. But this is a deathly boring tale of a deadly feral lunatic who was emotionally bankrupt and given to bleakness and despair in an aggressively bleak and hostile era. I care not for the self-absorbed twit given to grandiose exaggeration.

Best Lines:
“In the sixteenth century Time was regarded as a malevolent figure.”

“If Mary married him she would be summoning up a tempest in her kingdom.”

“Triumphal elation.”


“Many favourers.”

“Such vile milk as this.”

“Had plenty of scope for trysting.”

“The personification of wickedness.”

“I hope my daughter will outlive him and when he is also dead and gone, will lift up her farthingale and piss upon his grave, and tell her from me that I charge her to do so!”

The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold
This 1990 ‘Vorkosigan’ novel sees Miles disgracing himself again and the Emperor of Barrayar running away from home. Through the unlikeliest of sequences Miles leads a gang of mercenaries, the Emperor skives off work and an unpleasant woman and her alleged seething sexual charisma does gratuitous cold things. This was a dull tale of space battles, emotional problems and people drowning in negative information.

Best Lines:
“It had been understood, surely it had been understood.”

“Miles had always trusted him. Till now.”

“You argue too much.”
“No, I don’t.”


“The population of unpleasant old men.”

“The far-right blow-up-the-wormhole isolationist loonie faction.”

Brothers In Arms by Lois McMaster Bujold
This 1989 ‘Vorkosigan’ novel is a tale of mistaken identity, previously unknown clones, suspicion and chases. Miles is obnoxious and not a wholly reliable narrator as he visits Earth and encounters his previously unknown clone Mark. Cue nervy hiding, coercion, comedy and defensive answers. This was good.

Best Line:
“Sociopath therapy was invented for people like him.”


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