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Kenilworth: A Classic Historical Fiction

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Kenilworth; A Classic Novel by Scottish Writer (Annotated) by Sir Walter Scott includes author's biography and active table of content. From Wikipedia Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet (15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832) was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world during his time. Scott was the first English-language author to Kenilworth; A Classic Novel by Scottish Writer (Annotated) by Sir Walter Scott includes author's biography and active table of content. From Wikipedia Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet (15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832) was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world during his time. Scott was the first English-language author to have a truly international career in his lifetime, with many contemporary readers in Europe, Australia, and North America. His novels and poetry are still read, an Scott's first success was his poetry. Since childhood, he had been fascinated by stories in the oral tradition of the Scottish Borders. This drew him to explore the writing of prose. Hitherto, the novel was accorded lower (and often scandalous) social value compared to the epic poetry that had brought him public acclaim. In an innovative and astute action, he wrote and published his first novel, Waverley, under the guise of anonymity. It was a tale of the Jacobite rising of 1745 in the Kingdom of Great Britain. Its English protagonist was Edward Waverley, by his Tory upbringing sympathetic to the Jacobite cause. Becoming enmeshed in events, however, he eventually chooses Hanoverian respectability. There followed a succession of novels over the next five years, each with a Scottish historical setting. Mindful of his reputation as a poet, Scott maintained the anonymity he had begun with Waverley, always publishing the novels under the name Author of Waverley or attributed as "Tales of..." with no author. Even when it was clear that there would be no harm in coming out into the open, he maintained the façade, apparently out of a sense of fun. During this time the nickname The Wizard of the North was popularly applied to the mysterious best-selling writer. His identity as the author of the novels was widely rumoured, and in 1815 Scott was given the honour of dining with George, Prince Regent, who wanted to meet "the author of Waverley". CHAPTER III.      Nay, I'll hold touch the game shall be play'd out;      It ne'er shall stop for me, this merry wager:      That which I say when gamesome, I'll avouch      In my most sober mood, ne'er trust me else.   THE HAZARD TABLE. "And how doth your kinsman, good mine host?" said Tressilian, when Giles Gosling first appeared in the public room, on the morning following the revel which we described in the last chapter. "Is he well, and will he abide by his wager?" "For well, sir, he started two hours since, and has visited I know not what purlieus of his old companions; hath but now returned, and is at this instant breakfasting on new-laid eggs and muscadine. And for his wager, I caution you as a friend to have little to do with that, or indeed with aught that Mike proposes. Wherefore, I counsel you to a warm breakfast upon a culiss, which shall restore the tone of the stomach; and let my nephew and Master Goldthred swagger about their wager as they list." "It seems to me, mine host," said Tressilian, "that you know not well what to say about this kinsman of yours, and that you can neither blame nor commend him without some twinge of conscience."


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Kenilworth; A Classic Novel by Scottish Writer (Annotated) by Sir Walter Scott includes author's biography and active table of content. From Wikipedia Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet (15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832) was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world during his time. Scott was the first English-language author to Kenilworth; A Classic Novel by Scottish Writer (Annotated) by Sir Walter Scott includes author's biography and active table of content. From Wikipedia Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet (15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832) was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world during his time. Scott was the first English-language author to have a truly international career in his lifetime, with many contemporary readers in Europe, Australia, and North America. His novels and poetry are still read, an Scott's first success was his poetry. Since childhood, he had been fascinated by stories in the oral tradition of the Scottish Borders. This drew him to explore the writing of prose. Hitherto, the novel was accorded lower (and often scandalous) social value compared to the epic poetry that had brought him public acclaim. In an innovative and astute action, he wrote and published his first novel, Waverley, under the guise of anonymity. It was a tale of the Jacobite rising of 1745 in the Kingdom of Great Britain. Its English protagonist was Edward Waverley, by his Tory upbringing sympathetic to the Jacobite cause. Becoming enmeshed in events, however, he eventually chooses Hanoverian respectability. There followed a succession of novels over the next five years, each with a Scottish historical setting. Mindful of his reputation as a poet, Scott maintained the anonymity he had begun with Waverley, always publishing the novels under the name Author of Waverley or attributed as "Tales of..." with no author. Even when it was clear that there would be no harm in coming out into the open, he maintained the façade, apparently out of a sense of fun. During this time the nickname The Wizard of the North was popularly applied to the mysterious best-selling writer. His identity as the author of the novels was widely rumoured, and in 1815 Scott was given the honour of dining with George, Prince Regent, who wanted to meet "the author of Waverley". CHAPTER III.      Nay, I'll hold touch the game shall be play'd out;      It ne'er shall stop for me, this merry wager:      That which I say when gamesome, I'll avouch      In my most sober mood, ne'er trust me else.   THE HAZARD TABLE. "And how doth your kinsman, good mine host?" said Tressilian, when Giles Gosling first appeared in the public room, on the morning following the revel which we described in the last chapter. "Is he well, and will he abide by his wager?" "For well, sir, he started two hours since, and has visited I know not what purlieus of his old companions; hath but now returned, and is at this instant breakfasting on new-laid eggs and muscadine. And for his wager, I caution you as a friend to have little to do with that, or indeed with aught that Mike proposes. Wherefore, I counsel you to a warm breakfast upon a culiss, which shall restore the tone of the stomach; and let my nephew and Master Goldthred swagger about their wager as they list." "It seems to me, mine host," said Tressilian, "that you know not well what to say about this kinsman of yours, and that you can neither blame nor commend him without some twinge of conscience."

30 review for Kenilworth: A Classic Historical Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    John

    I am starting to reread and read my Sir Walter Scott collection. I enjoyed this story of royal court intrigue with the Earl Of Leicester and Elizabeth 1. The Queen views the Earl as a favorite with rumors of marriage between them. However, the Earl has secretly married Amy Rosbart and keeps her hidden in a remote manor called Cumnor Hall. The story starts with Michael Lambourne returning to a village near the Hall. He is a rogue and while drinking at his Uncles tavern bets he can get admittance I am starting to reread and read my Sir Walter Scott collection. I enjoyed this story of royal court intrigue with the Earl Of Leicester and Elizabeth 1. The Queen views the Earl as a favorite with rumors of marriage between them. However, the Earl has secretly married Amy Rosbart and keeps her hidden in a remote manor called Cumnor Hall. The story starts with Michael Lambourne returning to a village near the Hall. He is a rogue and while drinking at his Uncles tavern bets he can get admittance to Cumnor Hall where his old friend Tony Foster is Stewart. So begins an adventure of treachery, love, pageantry and intrigue. A past lover, Tressilian discovers her at the Hall and believes her the mistress of Varney the Earls right hand man and a villain of the highest class. He tries to convince her to escape but she refuses and cannot tell anyone she is married to the Earl. The description of Elizabeth 1 is excellent although Amy the Countess is quite weak willed and out of her depth. Varney is a marvelous villain and the story is based on true events.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Free download available at [email protected] Due to the Scottish Independence Referendum, which occurred in Sept. 18, I decided to read a couple of books written by two great Scottish writers: The Master of Ballantrae (see my review here) by Robert L. Stevenson and the present book. The love affair between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, is very well-known and has been described in several books. However the role played by Amy Robsart, Dudley's wife, into this plot was never Free download available at [email protected] Due to the Scottish Independence Referendum, which occurred in Sept. 18, I decided to read a couple of books written by two great Scottish writers: The Master of Ballantrae (see my review here) by Robert L. Stevenson and the present book. The love affair between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, is very well-known and has been described in several books. However the role played by Amy Robsart, Dudley's wife, into this plot was never put in a first plan, on the contrary. The Kenilworth Castle - Dudley's castle to which the tittle refers played an important historical role, from the Siege of Kenilworth in 1266 to the scene of the removal of Edward II from the English throne. Even if this book has some historical inaccuracies, such as the circumstances of Amy Robsart's death as well as the real date of her death (Sept. 8, 1560), Scott manages quite well to write a masterpiece on this historical period. Two TV series were made based on this book: Kenilworth (1957– ) and Kenilworth (1967– ) with Jeremy Brett, John Bryans, John Fraser. 4* Rob Roy 3* The Heart of Mid-Lothian 4* Ivanhoe 3* Waverley 4* The Fair Maid of Perth 4* The Bride of Lammermoor $* Kenilworth TR The Monastery TR The Pirate TR The Waverly Novels: Anne of Geierstein TR The Two Drovers TR The Antiquary TR The Lady of the Lake TR The Talisman

  3. 5 out of 5

    Steve R

    As stated in its introduction, an attempt to follow The Abbot's presentation of Mary Queen of Scots with a novel about Elizabeth. More specifically, it deals with one of her courtiers, the Earl of Leicester, who has rather illadvisedly married Amy Robsart, the daughter of a minor Duke. But since he is a favorite at court, and holds the desire to wed Elizabeth and thus become King, he keeps his wife secluded at Cumnor Hall and only visits surreptiously and rarely. His henchman Varney is a truly d As stated in its introduction, an attempt to follow The Abbot's presentation of Mary Queen of Scots with a novel about Elizabeth. More specifically, it deals with one of her courtiers, the Earl of Leicester, who has rather illadvisedly married Amy Robsart, the daughter of a minor Duke. But since he is a favorite at court, and holds the desire to wed Elizabeth and thus become King, he keeps his wife secluded at Cumnor Hall and only visits surreptiously and rarely. His henchman Varney is a truly despicable character, one of Scott's best villians (view spoiler)[who, after taking his own life on the last pages of the novel, still held his sarcastic sneer (hide spoiler)] . Tresselian, an early admirer of Amy's, tries to get her out of the clutches of Varney and Leicester, and briefly allies himself with the Earl of Sussex, the main rival to Leicester in the struggle for the Queen's affecions. The climax of the novel at Kenilworth, the castle of Leicester, when Amy makes herself known to Elizabeth but refuses to divulge her marital status, is really high drama. The bit parts of Wayland Smith, an 'artist' but more of a blacksmith and a doctor and his sometimes side-kick Donnie, are very well drawn, as is the poisoner Alasco who succumbs to his own potions. Walter Raleigh is cast as an up-and-coming courtier, complete with his cloak over the puddle scene to win Elizabeth's favour. The drunkard Michael Lambourne meets a violent end, but not one any discerning reader would care much about given the buffoon he is drawn to be. The eventual murder of a major character by another one - albeit against the reformed wishes of a third, is not quite as tragic as it could have been since Scott really makes it seem like she's a relatively empty-headed beauty who was only desirous of social rank. Well crafted characters, an expansive but tightly controlled plot, and some real scenes of colour - for instance, that of performers mimicking the five invaders of the British Isles - Britons, Romans, Saxons, Danes, Normans - make it one of the best in the Waverley series.

  4. 4 out of 5

    RWBresearch

    I read this for two reasons: one, because my friend Tara is writing about it, and two, because as large part of it centers on a entertainment that the Earl of Leicester presented for Elizabeth 1 at his estate at Kenilworth in 1575, and I am writing about that entertainment (and his elaborate garden) for a project of my own. There is a a lot of Elizabethan pastiche here, imitating the language and interplay of Elizabethan drama, which bogs it all down in my opinion. The text combines some element I read this for two reasons: one, because my friend Tara is writing about it, and two, because as large part of it centers on a entertainment that the Earl of Leicester presented for Elizabeth 1 at his estate at Kenilworth in 1575, and I am writing about that entertainment (and his elaborate garden) for a project of my own. There is a a lot of Elizabethan pastiche here, imitating the language and interplay of Elizabethan drama, which bogs it all down in my opinion. The text combines some elements of historical accuracy with wild fantasy. But it is a ripping yarn, if you can skim through the heavy-handed "olde Englishe" carrying on.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Briynne

    I’m sorry to say that I hated this a little bit. I had such hopes for Walter Scott, and I find myself in a pickle because I’m determined to finish my three-novel omnibus regardless of my impression of this first attempt. With any luck Ivanhoe and Quentin Durward will be better, but I just don’t know how hopeful I am. What really gets me is that I thought the plot had such promise; it’s the story of Amy Robsart, the secret wife of Queen Elizabeth’s famous favorite, the Earl of Leicester. I like c I’m sorry to say that I hated this a little bit. I had such hopes for Walter Scott, and I find myself in a pickle because I’m determined to finish my three-novel omnibus regardless of my impression of this first attempt. With any luck Ivanhoe and Quentin Durward will be better, but I just don’t know how hopeful I am. What really gets me is that I thought the plot had such promise; it’s the story of Amy Robsart, the secret wife of Queen Elizabeth’s famous favorite, the Earl of Leicester. I like court intrigue and Golden Age England. I was looking forward to mentally tsk-tsking Leicester for being such a duplicitous and falsely charming little weasel. Furthermore, I thought that the hidden countess had all the makings of a proper tragic heroine. Basically, I had already written a nice and cozy Gothic melodrama in my head only to be confronted with what Scott actually wrote. Saving the bits with Elizabeth herself, who is beautifully written in her vanity, mistaken affection, and intelligence, this was trekking through mud to read. Amy is a simpering fool who threw away a good man for the absent and feckless Leicester; my resounding lack of pity for her surprised even me. Her maid was tolerable, but Amy herself was painful to read. Leicester wasn’t even fun to hate, as he might have been if he had seemed like the master of any of his decisions. As it was, he seemed more an Othello to Varney’s Iago, and I just thought him useless. Varney, granted, was vile and cunning enough to be interesting, but was so tamely written that it again just sort of all canceled out into dullness. The real problem with this book, unfortunately, seemed to be Scott. There is a prissiness and gentrified smugness to every line in this book that is practically insufferable. You can hear the delicate 19th century sensibilities much louder than the 16th century plot, and it’s as distracting as it is annoying. I felt like there wasn’t any depth to the story or characters – they just seemed to float airily along with very nice manners and improbably formal speeches at every turn. Scott was such a popular favorite that I expected something better, but hopefully things will improve with my next try. Wish me luck, as I might need it :)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Misfit

    As the book opens, Amy Robsart has left her family home and has secretly married Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Amy's father, Sir Hugh and the man her father intended her to marry, Edmund Tressilian, have no knowledge of Amy's whereabouts and suspect foul play at the hands of Dudley's sneaky master of the horse, Richard Varney, and Tressilian goes in search of Amy at an old manor house, Cumnor Place. As Elizabeth I's attraction to Dudley grows, so does Dudley's ambitions to reach for the star As the book opens, Amy Robsart has left her family home and has secretly married Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Amy's father, Sir Hugh and the man her father intended her to marry, Edmund Tressilian, have no knowledge of Amy's whereabouts and suspect foul play at the hands of Dudley's sneaky master of the horse, Richard Varney, and Tressilian goes in search of Amy at an old manor house, Cumnor Place. As Elizabeth I's attraction to Dudley grows, so does Dudley's ambitions to reach for the stars and a greater place at court than he ever dared for, and Amy becomes a bit of a liability -- especially to Varney who hopes to rise in power alongside his master--and thus the game is on. This is the first Walter Scott that I have read, with the exception of Ivanhoe and that was many years ago when I was a young child. I admit to almost giving up a couple of times, as the vernacular used by the characters was hard to follow at times, but it's worth slugging through the first 50 or so pages until the story starts cooking along as Scott takes the reader on a grand ride through the court of Elizabeth Tudor. Even Walter Raleigh makes a wonderful secondary character, his characterization of Elizabeth I was spot on, and I loved the way Scott worked Dudley's famous fete of Elizabeth at his castle at Kenilworth into Amy's story. Although Scott based this tale on an old English Ballad (which is printed in the back of the book) and not known history, it's still a jolly good yarn peopled with interesting characters, poison, astrology, treachery and all the well known intrigues of the Court of Elizabeth I. Those of you who are well versed in Tudor history already know the fate of Amy Robsart and I will have to warn those potential readers who are picky about historical accuracy that Scott definitely diddles with history in this tale. But for those readers who are willing to forget what's in the history books and ready to enjoy a jolly good yarn by a master storyteller about Elizabethan England, this is one book worth checking out, and I intend to read other books by this author. Five stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Malvina

    *Slight spoilers below* I was told to read this because I hope to visit Kenilworth Castle. Part 1 sets the scene for this tale of mystery, deception, court politics and murder, set in 1575 when Elizabeth 1 did indeed visit one of her favourites - Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester - at Kenilworth. There is a large smattering of historic licence from Walter Scott, but it all makes for a terrific tale. It's rather a hard slog to read at first, but it picks up in Part 2 with the entrance of Elizabeth *Slight spoilers below* I was told to read this because I hope to visit Kenilworth Castle. Part 1 sets the scene for this tale of mystery, deception, court politics and murder, set in 1575 when Elizabeth 1 did indeed visit one of her favourites - Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester - at Kenilworth. There is a large smattering of historic licence from Walter Scott, but it all makes for a terrific tale. It's rather a hard slog to read at first, but it picks up in Part 2 with the entrance of Elizabeth 1 (and even Walter Raleigh, in splendid form). From then to the end of part 3 the story races along, with wonderfully poetic prose from the master. As the introduction in this volume proclaims, the novel contrasts: '...a brilliant but deeply flawed society and its destined victim whose integrity, strength and essential innocence expose its moral bankruptcy...' What causes all this deception and deceit? The suspicion that Elizabeth 1 will not approve of the (secret) marriage of the Earl of Leicester to lovely Amy Robsart, sadly languishing most of the time like a luxuriously caged bird at Cumnor-Hall. The story is fabulously entertaining. I particularly enjoyed the references to Elizabeth 1 when she suddenly transforms from 'woman' to the unmistakable 'daughter of a line of kings', or shows her queenly blood as 'that of Henry VIII'. Watch out! *Ending spoilers* I love the last two verses included in the book from the beautiful elegy translated by William Julius Mickle, titled 'Cumnor-Hall'. They say it all: The village maids, with fearful glance, Avoid the ancient moss-grown wall, Nor ever lead the merry dance Among the groves of Cumnor-Hall. And many a traveller has sigh'd, And pensive mourn'd that lady's fall, As wandering onward he has spied The haunted towers of Cumnor-Hall.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ruthie Jones

    Review to come later. Here are some of my favorite quotes: "...when stakes are made, the game must be played; that is gamester's law, all over the world." ~ chapter III "Well--it is wise to practice beforehand the part which fortune prepares us to play--the young eagle must gaze at the sun, ere he soars on strong wing to meet it." ~ chapter V "I had never more need that the heavenly bodies should befriend me, for my earthly path is darkened and confused." ~ chapter XVIII "...but the truth is, that a Review to come later. Here are some of my favorite quotes: "...when stakes are made, the game must be played; that is gamester's law, all over the world." ~ chapter III "Well--it is wise to practice beforehand the part which fortune prepares us to play--the young eagle must gaze at the sun, ere he soars on strong wing to meet it." ~ chapter V "I had never more need that the heavenly bodies should befriend me, for my earthly path is darkened and confused." ~ chapter XVIII "...but the truth is, that a regard for personal appearance is a species of self-love, from which the wisest are not exempt, and to which the mind clings so instinctively, that not only the soldier advancing to almost inevitable death, but even the doomed criminal who goes to certain execution, shows an anxiety to array his person to the best advantage. But this is a digression." ~ chapter XXX "An eagle am I, that never will think of dull earth while there is a heaven to soar in, and a sun to gaze upon." ~ chapter XXX

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    This is a truly terrible piece of work on many grounds. Historically, it's a complete shambles - Scott has plain made up a great deal of the back story, and not very well at that. Dialogue is hopelessly stilted, the long descriptions of the revels at Kenilworth seem to be written by a completely different author, and the last couple of chapters read as if the author has suddenly realised he had a deadline to meet. Scott's earlier works are muddled and hard to understand with their Scottish diale This is a truly terrible piece of work on many grounds. Historically, it's a complete shambles - Scott has plain made up a great deal of the back story, and not very well at that. Dialogue is hopelessly stilted, the long descriptions of the revels at Kenilworth seem to be written by a completely different author, and the last couple of chapters read as if the author has suddenly realised he had a deadline to meet. Scott's earlier works are muddled and hard to understand with their Scottish dialect (I'm thinking of The Antiquary, or Old Mortality), but they did feel to be written in the author's genuine voice. This tripe is like bad Hollywood 100 years before its time.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jules

    This was a very slow book to get in to, but I'm tolerant and once all of the background information was behind me I really enjoyed the story. The copy I read had notations of what was historical fact and fiction. I found it so interesting. I usually need happy endings, so I was surprised how much I liked this book. This was a very slow book to get in to, but I'm tolerant and once all of the background information was behind me I really enjoyed the story. The copy I read had notations of what was historical fact and fiction. I found it so interesting. I usually need happy endings, so I was surprised how much I liked this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Williamacrane

    I read this after visiting Kenilworth Castle. If your unaccustomed to reading eighteenth century English prose, you may struggle a bit with the language, but the reward does more than outweigh the effort. If you like castles, mysteries and history this book is for you.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joe Kraus

    It’s been decades since I read Waverly and almost as long since I re-read Ivanhoe, but I have always had a sense of Scott as a great adventure writer. He’s more or less lost his audience now, though. His language and references are too obscure for most people looking for escapism, and his ideas and literary ambition fall short of, say, Austen or the Brontes. He has a crucial role in literary history, and he’s still a lot of fun to read, but the urgency isn’t there. Why read Scott when there’s so It’s been decades since I read Waverly and almost as long since I re-read Ivanhoe, but I have always had a sense of Scott as a great adventure writer. He’s more or less lost his audience now, though. His language and references are too obscure for most people looking for escapism, and his ideas and literary ambition fall short of, say, Austen or the Brontes. He has a crucial role in literary history, and he’s still a lot of fun to read, but the urgency isn’t there. Why read Scott when there’s so much else to get to? For me, here, I guess it’s the old hope for literary escape. I went through eight Trollope novels for most of the same reason. He’s good but short of great. He invites me into a rich imagined world, one where he’s testing prejudices and philosophies, yet he’s doing it in what seems today a minor key. And he gives a glimpse of literary history, a chance for me to fill in some of the gaps that become clearer the more I read. I confess as well that I grew up playing Authors Cards. If you’ve forgotten or never known, it was a Go-Fish game that used cards of famous authors instead of conventional numbers or children’s images. I can still see the serious Dickens and Tennyson. And I can still see Sir Walter Scott with his four great works, Kenilworth among them. So, for reasons silly and completist, I decided I wanted to read this one, knowing almost nothing about it when I opened it. That, I admit, was a bit of a mistake. In retrospect, it’s exciting to see Scott as he goes about the business of inventing the middle-brow thriller. Yes, we can see the roots of Hilary Mantel here – this is where historical fiction was born – but I think we can see the roots of LeCarre and Ludlum too. He sets characters in motion and asks us to worry about the repercussions. So, this one opens with the villainous Varney recruiting newly returned soldier Michael Lambourne to his cause of looking after Amy, nee Robsart and the secret wife of the Earl of Leicester. Lambourne turns out to be a minor character, so it seems a strange place for Scott to start, but the explanation eventually seems clear: he wants to make this as much fun as possible. Lambourne is a good man with a sword but a better man with a bottle. He’s often drunk and loud. He’s inclined toward being a bad guy, but he’s also fun in his appetites. It takes a while to move from that initial detour, but the thrust of the book deals with Leicester’s dilemma. He’s married the most beautiful woman in England, but he discovers there’s a real chance that Queen Elizabeth will decide to marry him. He has to think about choosing between love and the chance to rule – or at least-co-rule – the kingdom. Amy is a classic damsel in distress, but Scott has to deal with the challenge of depicting her as something less than an opportunist. She has, after all, married one of the queen’s favorites, and that looks to make her wealthy and powerful. She’s aware enough of it that she refused to be held captive with Varney as her jailer, but Scott also has to play up her virtues. He gives us an Amy who’s deeply in love with Leicester, one who wants his company more than his riches. The same is true of Leicester. Scott gives us a guy who’s cold-hearted enough to contemplate having Amy murdered but who finds his better angel before he can undertake it. (SPOILER: In that light, Varney is a convenient tool for pulling off the necessary-for-the-sake-of-reflecting-history murder of Amy.) In some of those scenes, we see Scott with an impressive light hand. It’s not just that he invented this form but that he brought real skill to it. He held his place as one of the most popular writers in the English language for close to two centuries – long enough to be immortalized in Authors Cards, no less – and that didn’t happen by accident. There are some thrilling moments here, and you can see how someone like Alexander Dumas would have read this work and determined to write The Three Musketeers. Still, there are also some slower ones. It becomes clear toward the end that we’re working toward a climax of will-they-or-won’t-they kill Amy. And then we get a series of chapters celebrating some of the masques that Leicester threw at his Kenilworth castle. Interesting as history? Maybe. But it kills the momentum of the story. Add that to the care that Scott takes in refusing to blame either Leicester or Amy for their troubled marriage, and the niceties get in the way. So, I did enjoy this one, but I remember Waverley and Ivanhoe as decided cuts above. I have a solid, portable collected Scott on my phone now, so I think I’ll keep going. As it is, it takes four of a kind to win at Authors Cards, so I have a couple more to go.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    This dragged for me. I read Walter Scott for adventures and heroics, but this book is about a weak man tempted into foulness, aided by a rotten servant, and not helped by a useless wife and her annoying ex. I never cheered for anyone. It's a mismatch between expectation and reality -- the book does what it wanted to, but that's not what I wanted. This dragged for me. I read Walter Scott for adventures and heroics, but this book is about a weak man tempted into foulness, aided by a rotten servant, and not helped by a useless wife and her annoying ex. I never cheered for anyone. It's a mismatch between expectation and reality -- the book does what it wanted to, but that's not what I wanted.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sofia

    "The death-bell thrice was heard to ring, An aerial voice was heard to call, And thrice the raven flapp'd its wing Around the towers of Cumnor Hall". Now THAT is how you do historical fiction. This novel was so alive and painted its historical scenes and characters with vividness and depth. You can feel Scott having fun with this. An absolute pleasure to read. "The death-bell thrice was heard to ring, An aerial voice was heard to call, And thrice the raven flapp'd its wing Around the towers of Cumnor Hall". Now THAT is how you do historical fiction. This novel was so alive and painted its historical scenes and characters with vividness and depth. You can feel Scott having fun with this. An absolute pleasure to read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    I was lucky enough to find this book at work. Really enjoyed it as I’ve always found the story of Amy Robsart intriguing as a kid.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sotiris Karaiskos

    In his third book referring to sixteenth-century events, the author deals with the very strange case of the death of Amy Robsart, wife of the Earl of Leicester, one of the most powerful men of the Kingdom at that time, considered by many to be a murder. The writer takes this case, changes a lot of facts and uses his writing talent to turn it into a very interesting Gothic adventure. Amy Robsart takes on the role of the classical protagonist of these stories as a woman innocent and sensitive who In his third book referring to sixteenth-century events, the author deals with the very strange case of the death of Amy Robsart, wife of the Earl of Leicester, one of the most powerful men of the Kingdom at that time, considered by many to be a murder. The writer takes this case, changes a lot of facts and uses his writing talent to turn it into a very interesting Gothic adventure. Amy Robsart takes on the role of the classical protagonist of these stories as a woman innocent and sensitive who falls victim to ambitious and ruthless men. From the end, of course, we understand that the noble saviour is absent or at least not doing his job well. Whatever the case, however, through this story, the author shows in a very vivid way the intense competition of the powerful men of the time in the court of Queen Elizabeth, which he shows her to be flattered by this behaviour, even encouraging it but at critical points to have the power and wisdom to control it in a way. These are the ingredients of a book that may start slowly and subtly, but then the intensity gradually increases at the right rate until the extremely interesting ending. A book in which his writer still holds his high standards of quality. Στο τρίτο βιβλίο του που αναφέρεται σε γεγονότα του δέκατου έκτου αιώνα ο συγγραφέας ασχολείται με την πολύ περίεργη υπόθεση του θανάτου της Amy Robsart, συζύγου του κόμη του Λέστερ, ενός από τους ισχυρότερους άνθρωπος του Βασιλείου εκείνη την εποχή, που θεωρήθηκε από πολλούς ότι ήταν δολοφονία. Ο συγγραφέας παίρνει αυτήν την υπόθεση, αλλάζει αρκετά στοιχεία και χρησιμοποιώντας το συγγραφικό του ταλέντο τη μετατρέπει σε μία πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα γοτθική περιπέτεια. Η Amy Robsart παίρνει το ρόλο της κλασικής πρωταγωνίστριας αυτών των ιστοριών, ως μία γυναίκα αθώα και ευαίσθητη που πέφτει θύμα φιλόδοξων και αδίστακτων ανδρών. Από το τέλος βέβαια καταλαβαίνουμε ότι απουσιάζει ολοκληρωτικά ο ευγενής σωτήρας ή τουλάχιστον δεν κάνει καλά τη δουλειά του. Ότι και να ισχύει, όμως, μέσα από αυτή την ιστορία ο συγγραφέας μας δείχνει με έναν πολύ γλαφυρό τρόπο τον έντονο ανταγωνισμό των ισχυρών ανδρών της εποχής στην αυλή της βασίλισσας Ελισάβετ, την οποία παρουσιάζει να κολακεύεται από αυτή τη συμπεριφορά, ακόμα και να την ενθαρρύνει αλλά στα κρίσιμα σημεία να έχει τη δύναμη και τη σοφία να την ελέγξει με ένα τρόπο. Αυτά είναι τα συστατικά από ένα βιβλίο που ίσως ξεκινάει αργά και υποτονικά αλλά στη συνέχεια η ένταση αυξάνεται σταδιακά με το σωστό ρυθμό, μέχρι το εξαιρετικά ενδιαφέρον τέλος. Ένα βιβλίο στο οποίο ο συγγραφέας του εξακολουθεί να κρατάει ψηλά τον πήχη της ποιότητας.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jodi

    Hmmm, what to say. Once I was about 40% into this book, I enjoyed it much more. Granted the ‘stage’ had to be set so much back-story was provided before the real interesting bits began (read that to mean the character of Queen Elizabeth I entered ). Having visited Kenilworth for the second time this last summer and being honored to see the recreated gardens that were mentioned by Scott (from a primary source of the time of Elizabeth’s visit) this book had added enjoyment and interest. The myste Hmmm, what to say. Once I was about 40% into this book, I enjoyed it much more. Granted the ‘stage’ had to be set so much back-story was provided before the real interesting bits began (read that to mean the character of Queen Elizabeth I entered ). Having visited Kenilworth for the second time this last summer and being honored to see the recreated gardens that were mentioned by Scott (from a primary source of the time of Elizabeth’s visit) this book had added enjoyment and interest. The mystery that surrounds Amy Robsart’s death has provided fertile ground for speculation ever since it occurred. The one thing that remains is the fact that the cloud which hung over it ended Leicester’s hopes of marriage to Elizabeth—if there were ever any chances. My only concern for this book, being a historian, is the aptness for readers to assume it is the truth. I encountered that often as a history teacher where students would have seen a historical event fictionalized on film or television (some may have even read fictional books) and think it was true. In many cases I wasn’t teaching history so much as un-teaching Hollywood’s version of history. Sorry for the leap there, but thanks for letting me get that little editorial out in the midst of this book review. Since the Tudor era is my favorite time period, this book would get recommended regardless and the footnotes include an inventory of Kenilworth that I had never seen before and thoroughly enjoyed.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    Another masterpiece from Scott. Having read the introduction and several of the preceding Waverley novels I thought this might prove a somewhat predictable read. Far from it. I was absorbed by the plot and characterisation throughout. Some of the history, specifically the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Kenilworth castle at a time when Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, was currying her favour, was familiar to me. Much of the action, however, takes place prior to this in Berkshire where the heroine of t Another masterpiece from Scott. Having read the introduction and several of the preceding Waverley novels I thought this might prove a somewhat predictable read. Far from it. I was absorbed by the plot and characterisation throughout. Some of the history, specifically the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Kenilworth castle at a time when Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, was currying her favour, was familiar to me. Much of the action, however, takes place prior to this in Berkshire where the heroine of the piece is held captive. Scott's stories often contain colourful characters who with their virtues and vices make them interesting. The "goodly"pub landlord, his reprobate nephew returned from adventures abroad, the avaricious minder of the manor house where our heroine is confined, and his caring daughter are a few of these met in the opening chapters. As the plot proceeds more are introduced, all of whom contribute to the novel, which culminates in the aforementioned entertainments of the queen at Kenilworth. Here the story comes to its final denouement. Despite knowing how this was going to turn out it was not an anti-climax. Classical historical romance at its best!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    This very enjoyable book follows the familiar formula, but adds to it interesting historical events in the reign of Elizabeth I. The ostensible main character of the book seems to be more observer than effectual, and even disappears for long periods in the narrative. Many well-drawn secondary characters suddenly are thrust forward as the main characters for a time, and then recede again into the background. And of course, the Other appears occasionally to either interfere or intercede in the wor This very enjoyable book follows the familiar formula, but adds to it interesting historical events in the reign of Elizabeth I. The ostensible main character of the book seems to be more observer than effectual, and even disappears for long periods in the narrative. Many well-drawn secondary characters suddenly are thrust forward as the main characters for a time, and then recede again into the background. And of course, the Other appears occasionally to either interfere or intercede in the workings of the plot, like a trickster. Maybe the best parts of the book are those when Elizabeth speaks, as the author does a masterful job giving voice to both the strength of character of Henry's daughter and the insecurities she must have felt as one who had been imprisoned as a child, whose mother had been executed by her father, and who was viewed as illegitimate as an heir and a queen by many. What a great mini-series this would make! Much better than the CW series Reign, which tries to "Game of Thrones" the same historical events.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    I picked this up on a recent visit to Kenilworth Castle and I had high hopes for it as it features one of my favourite historical figures in Robert Dudley. I can't say exactly why but it just didn't do it for me. The plot revolves around Elizabeth I's progress in 1575 where she was entertained at Kenilworth Castle by Robert Dudley in what was considered a last ditch attempt at romantic courtship. In Scott's novel the subplot is the concealment of Dudley's marriage to Amy Robsart, the eventual un I picked this up on a recent visit to Kenilworth Castle and I had high hopes for it as it features one of my favourite historical figures in Robert Dudley. I can't say exactly why but it just didn't do it for me. The plot revolves around Elizabeth I's progress in 1575 where she was entertained at Kenilworth Castle by Robert Dudley in what was considered a last ditch attempt at romantic courtship. In Scott's novel the subplot is the concealment of Dudley's marriage to Amy Robsart, the eventual unveiling of this union and the murder of Amy by a servant of Dudley's. And this is where the truth is waylaid for poetic licence. By the time of the revelries at Kenilworth, Amy had been dead for 15 years and Dudley was married to Lady Douglas Sheffield. There are various other 'untruths' in the novel and it just didn't really hold my interest. As a whole, I thought the book was okay but the historical inaccuracies prevented me from liking it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Al

    A stirring tale of deception and dishonor set in Elizabethan England, with Elizabeth herself playing a prominent supporting role. I never cease to marvel at the quantity, quality and scope of Scott's output. Kenilworth's plot is ingenious, and Scott's evocative prose, albeit formal to a degree not seen today, does it full justice. It's hard to believe his books were written nearly 200 years ago. A stirring tale of deception and dishonor set in Elizabethan England, with Elizabeth herself playing a prominent supporting role. I never cease to marvel at the quantity, quality and scope of Scott's output. Kenilworth's plot is ingenious, and Scott's evocative prose, albeit formal to a degree not seen today, does it full justice. It's hard to believe his books were written nearly 200 years ago.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    It is almost entirely inaccurate in details beyond Elizabeth, Robin and Amy. That said, it’s a well written, amusing tale about a love triangle that did exist and a death that is still unsolved today. I liked the lens through which it was written, even if it is inaccurate in the extreme.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Richard Rogers

    I don't remember where this book came from. Probably, someone gave it to me. Possibly, I bought it, but so long ago I forgot. It was on the "books that don't fit anywhere else" shelf for years when I handled it again and thought about reading it. The copy itself is old, well over 100 years, but I can't verify exactly which edition. It's cool, though. And it is still a good book. Knowing literally nothing about the novel--setting, characters, plot, nothing--I just opened and read, and then I kept re I don't remember where this book came from. Probably, someone gave it to me. Possibly, I bought it, but so long ago I forgot. It was on the "books that don't fit anywhere else" shelf for years when I handled it again and thought about reading it. The copy itself is old, well over 100 years, but I can't verify exactly which edition. It's cool, though. And it is still a good book. Knowing literally nothing about the novel--setting, characters, plot, nothing--I just opened and read, and then I kept reading. It's quaint, yes, but despite the archaic language, it reads very modern. This is the story of a man, Tressilian, who loves a beautiful woman, Amy Robsart, the daughter of a country squire. He is hunting for her after she disappears. She has been taken by a powerful man, Earl Leicester, but with her consent, and she marries him in secret. The difficulty is that he keeps it a secret, and keeps her as a prisoner. Leicester, a favorite in Queen Elizabeth's court, could almost marry the queen if he had not been so foolish, and he has ambitions, while the man who loves the woman is a simple, good, and honest man. There are a number of interesting and fun characters, including Sir Walter Raleigh, who performs his cloak-across-the-puddle act in the novel, and I finally understand what that might have looked like. Raleigh is fun character, though minor, and his friend Blount, an honest soldier trying to play courtier with embarrassing consequences, deserves his own novel. The commoner Wayland Smith, a man of limitless wit and resources, feels like another protagonist, and the prankster referred to as Flibbertigibbet is like a force of nature whose playful sleight of hand has dire results. The antagonists, including a quick-thinking drunk, an alchemist, and Leicester's brilliant but amoral right-hand man, round out full cast of characters. A modern reader can hardly avoid noticing the lack of female characters and the condescension toward women. Queen Elizabeth holds her own--despite frequent asides by the narrator and actual character dialogue referring to female weaknesses and rather unattractive strengths--and Amy Robsart is a strong character in both senses, but that mostly covers it. The other women are not even secondary characters. You expect little more from a 19th Century novel set in the Sixteenth Century, but it disappoints nonetheless. (Ivanhoe, which I read several years ago, has a similar problem, as I suspect most of the Waverly novels do. In addition, it has an odd, mixed tone toward its Jewish characters that mars an otherwise very entertaining novel. Old dead white guys, right?) Still, the energy and inventiveness of the author is impressive, the plot brisk, and the entertainment undeniable. I liked it, and I recommend it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    The Librarian's Granddaughter

    Although it's not a typical read for me, I'm glad I gave it a try. The story takes us back to the time when Queen Elizabeth was on the throne. The Earl of Leicester and the Earl of Sussex are fighting for her attention. The former enjoys more favor than the queen. However, he has a secret named Amy, who is his wife. Following the advice of his insidious assistant Varney, he sends her to his farthest mansion at a distance from prying eyes. Tresillian is Amy's ex-fiancé, who believes she was abduc Although it's not a typical read for me, I'm glad I gave it a try. The story takes us back to the time when Queen Elizabeth was on the throne. The Earl of Leicester and the Earl of Sussex are fighting for her attention. The former enjoys more favor than the queen. However, he has a secret named Amy, who is his wife. Following the advice of his insidious assistant Varney, he sends her to his farthest mansion at a distance from prying eyes. Tresillian is Amy's ex-fiancé, who believes she was abducted and wants to save her. And, somewhere among all the stories in the book, a blacksmith with the skills of a healer sneaks in. Although it was clear in the preface how it would all end, it was interesting for me to read what was written. The book has a very beautiful book body and layout. Its volume is quite large, and I rarely reach for such. Although, the descriptions were quite long and detailed, they did not bother me. On the contrary, it was interesting for me to read how people were dressed at that time, where they lived, how they made a living. I managed to immerse myself completely in the story. I really liked the dialogues. They were quite fresh and with the familiar British sense of humor that I can't even believe the book wasn't written today. Of the characters, I liked Tresillian and the blacksmith the most. It was obvious that they were good people with high moral values. Tresillian's only weakness was Amy. She, in turn, was a very annoying character to me. I missed the strengths of her character. Her absolute opposite was the queen. It was a little funny to me how everyone was flattering her, but considering whose daughter she was and how dangerous it would be to oppose her, maybe I would behave like that. There were definitely no characters to resemble each other. Everyone had something that made the story even more interesting. I also liked Rally as a character. I had a lot of fun with the cloak. Varney was one of my most disgusting characters and I couldn't stand the scenes with him. The Earl of Leicester is also one of the characters I didn't like. A count with his position was expected to be more perceptive, and he blindly allowed Varney to manipulate him. I found it funny how much Amy wanted to get to Kenilworth, and when she had a chance to claim her rights, she was more equal than the grass. The book is definitely worth reading and I am happy that I was able to touch it!

  25. 4 out of 5

    David Zimny

    Kenilworth is a tale of aristocratic intrigue that takes place in England in 1575, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The Earl of Leicester is an ambitious man and a favorite of the queen. He has even fancied marrying her and becoming king. There's only one problem- he is already married, to Amy Robsart. To make matters worse, Amy has the misfortune of being a "commoner", and the Earl is afraid to lose his royal status should the queen find out. Kenilworth is quite different from Ivanhoe, the Kenilworth is a tale of aristocratic intrigue that takes place in England in 1575, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The Earl of Leicester is an ambitious man and a favorite of the queen. He has even fancied marrying her and becoming king. There's only one problem- he is already married, to Amy Robsart. To make matters worse, Amy has the misfortune of being a "commoner", and the Earl is afraid to lose his royal status should the queen find out. Kenilworth is quite different from Ivanhoe, the first Sir Walter Scott book I had read. Ivanhoe was high on action and low on character development. Kenilworth is low on action and high on character development. In addition to the individuals I have already mentioned, there is Richard Varney, the Earl's evil underling, Wayland Smith, a man whose many talents include blacksmithing and medicine, and Michael Lambourne, Varney's drunken servant. The language is dated, resulting in some unintended humor, especially when someone hurls insults- "vile villain", "wretched scoundrel", etc. It is not the easiest read, but if you concentrate I think most people who enjoy 19th century British literature will appreciate Kenilworth. Also it had a surprisingly dark ending.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Silvi

    📖Kenilworth 🖋Walter Scott This novel is based on historical events and in particular on a crime imprinted in history, despite the past centuries ... Sir Walter Scott introduces us to Queen Elizabeth and her close courtier, the Earl of Leicester, who is hiding a deep secret that he does not dare to share with her ... The Queen, who wants to be only the wife and mother of England, is described by the distinctive feature of the Boleyn family - hot blood and frank speech and the terrible temperament o 📖Kenilworth 🖋Walter Scott This novel is based on historical events and in particular on a crime imprinted in history, despite the past centuries ... Sir Walter Scott introduces us to Queen Elizabeth and her close courtier, the Earl of Leicester, who is hiding a deep secret that he does not dare to share with her ... The Queen, who wants to be only the wife and mother of England, is described by the distinctive feature of the Boleyn family - hot blood and frank speech and the terrible temperament of Henry VIII, which often came to life in her. The Earl of Leicester, a handsome and brilliant courtier, turns out to be a victim of villains or an unprincipled instigator of their atrocities ... Although 200 years have passed since the novel was written, some things do not change regardless of the weather, such as love, hate, truth, deception, thirst for power and great ambitions ... . 📝Favorite quotes: 📍Shame is behind me, death is before me, but I am obliged to move forward. 📍The storm will never knock down a tree with such deep roots. 📍 What to do, vanity turns even the wisest into fools. 📍 He who wants to climb a tree must cling to the branches, not the leaves. 📍Obstacles also occur on the smooth road, especially when it leads up.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Georgia Comins

    When I started this I was honestly not expecting to like it, the first half was so incredibly boring to me. So I was not expecting to give it a high rating, but the second half and especially that ending more than made up for it. There is something about grim endings where nobody gets their happily ever after that make books which contain them almost irresistible to me. Maybe it’s because they feel more real? In any case, I loved the ending of this book! The first half however was almost unforgi When I started this I was honestly not expecting to like it, the first half was so incredibly boring to me. So I was not expecting to give it a high rating, but the second half and especially that ending more than made up for it. There is something about grim endings where nobody gets their happily ever after that make books which contain them almost irresistible to me. Maybe it’s because they feel more real? In any case, I loved the ending of this book! The first half however was almost unforgivably boring to me. Maybe this is because I had to read this incredibly slowly due to a series of pressing deadlines for university which interrupted my reading, or... maybe the plot was just *that* lacking early on. In any case I feel I cannot give it 5 stars because of this, but the ending was so perfectly an example of what I love to read that I had to bump up the initial low score I was planning on awarding this book to 4 stars and even deliberated on giving it 5. So if you attempt to read this book and find yourself struggling initially - please try to stick with it!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Having not read a Sir Walter Scott novel for years, I started reading my grandfather's copy of Kenilworth, but read the bulk of it on my Kindle. As with Scott's other novels, it was a great read. However, the novel does require concentration. There were great plot twists that maintained my interest with scheming, subterfuge, and a bit of astrology. The only disappointment is the historical timeline does not work. Although the novel is set in 1575, Dudley's wife Amy died in 1560. Similarly, recus Having not read a Sir Walter Scott novel for years, I started reading my grandfather's copy of Kenilworth, but read the bulk of it on my Kindle. As with Scott's other novels, it was a great read. However, the novel does require concentration. There were great plot twists that maintained my interest with scheming, subterfuge, and a bit of astrology. The only disappointment is the historical timeline does not work. Although the novel is set in 1575, Dudley's wife Amy died in 1560. Similarly, recusant priests were not active in England until the 1580s. However, this does not detract from a great story line.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jackson Cyril

    Though this isn't one of Scott's best, it does have its moments: the surprising, Poe-esque ending, with its triumph of evil over good, a very human picture of Queen Elizabeth, the proto stream-of-consciousness prose and (of course) Shakespeare's cameo appearance, all make this a terrific novel. Though this isn't one of Scott's best, it does have its moments: the surprising, Poe-esque ending, with its triumph of evil over good, a very human picture of Queen Elizabeth, the proto stream-of-consciousness prose and (of course) Shakespeare's cameo appearance, all make this a terrific novel.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This book starts out rather slow and plodding, as was most of the writing of that era, but if you can hang on to the end, you'll be treated to a story worthy of CSI -- so maybe not quite high praise, but an intrigue, nonetheless. This book starts out rather slow and plodding, as was most of the writing of that era, but if you can hang on to the end, you'll be treated to a story worthy of CSI -- so maybe not quite high praise, but an intrigue, nonetheless.

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