Cover image for The king's assassin : the secret plot to murder King James I / Benjamin Woolley.
Title:
The king's assassin : the secret plot to murder King James I / Benjamin Woolley.
ISBN:
9781250125033
Edition:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2018.

©2017
Physical Description:
xxi, 342 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents:
Christ had his John and I have my George -- Two venturous knights -- The greatest villain in the world -- We the Commons.

Act I: Christ had his John and I have my George. The King's way ; The malcontent ; All we here sit in darkness ; Debateable lands ; Apethorpe ; Baynard's castle ; St George's Day ; The matter of the garter ; Neither a god nor an angel ; Keeper of the seal ; Made or marred ; Wickedest things ; Poor George Villiers -- Act II: Two venturous knights. The favourite and the fountain ; A masque on Twelfth Night ; The Spanish match ; Periwigs ; The House of the Seven Chimneys ; Secret intelligencers ; A farewell pillar ; Fool's coats -- Act III: The greatest villain in the world. The honey and the sting ; The English junta ; A secret matter ; The banqueting house ; Countless difficulties ; The forger of every mischief ; A game at chess ; Hobgoblins ; To ride away an ague ; The price of a princess ; What an age we do live in -- Act IV: We the commons. Poisonous applications ; Anne of Austria ; And so the devil go with them ; All goes backward ; The knot draws near ; Common fame ; The bottomless bagg ; The forerunner of revenge ; Great matters of weight ; A silly piece of malice ; Dissolution ; The devil and the duke ; The scrivener's tale ; I am the man ; Sad affliction's darksome night.
Abstract:
"An absorbing account of the conspiracy to kill King James I by his handsome lover, the Duke of Buckingham, an historical crime that has remained hidden for 400 years. The rise of George Villiers from minor gentry to royal power seemed to defy gravity. Becoming gentleman of the royal bedchamber in 1615, the young gallant enraptured James, Britain's first Stuart king, royal adoration reaching such an intensity that the king declared he wanted the courtier to become his 'wife'. For a decade, Villiers was at the king's side - at court, on state occasions, and in bed, right up to James's death in March 1625. Almost immediately, Villiers' many enemies accused him of poisoning the king. A parliamentary investigation was launched, and scurrilous pamphlets and ballads circulated London's streets. But the charges came to nothing, and were relegated to a historical footnote. Now, new historical scholarship suggests that a deadly combination of hubris and vulnerability did indeed drive Villiers to kill the man who made him. It may have been by accident - the application of a quack remedy while the king was weakened by a malarial attack. But there is compelling evidence that Villiers, overcome by ambition and frustrated by James's passive approach to government, poisoned him. In The King's Assassin, acclaimed author Benjamin Woolley examines this remarkable, even tragic story. Combining vivid characterization and a strong narrative with historical scholarship and forensic investigation, Woolley tells the story of King James's death, and of the captivating figure at its center"-- Provided by publisher.
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Summary

Summary

An absorbing account of the conspiracy to kill King James I by his handsome lover, the Duke of Buckingham, an historical crime that has remained hidden for 400 years.

The rise of George Villiers from minor gentry to royal power seemed to defy gravity. Becoming gentleman of the royal bedchamber in 1615, the young gallant enraptured James, Britain's first Stuart king, royal adoration reaching such an intensity that the king declared he wanted the courtier to become his 'wife'. For a decade, Villiers was at the king's side - at court, on state occasions, and in bed, right up to James's death in March 1625.

Almost immediately, Villiers' many enemies accused him of poisoning the king. A parliamentary investigation was launched, and scurrilous pamphlets and ballads circulated London's streets. But the charges came to nothing, and were relegated to a historical footnote.

Now, new research suggests that a deadly combination of hubris and vulnerability did indeed drive Villiers to kill the man who made him. It may have been by accident - the application of a quack remedy while the king was weakened by a malarial attack. But there is compelling evidence that Villiers, overcome by ambition and frustrated by James's passive approach to government, poisoned him.

In The King's Assassin , acclaimed author Benjamin Woolley examines this remarkable, even tragic story. Combining vivid characterization and a strong narrative with historical scholarship and forensic investigation, Woolley tells the story of King James's death, and of the captivating figure at its center.


Author Notes

Benjamin Woolley, writer & broadcaster, covers both the arts & the sciences. His writing includes "Virtual Worlds," a book on virtual reality, "Bride of Science," a biography of Byron's brilliant daughter, & contributions to various British periodicals. He lives in London.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Woolley (The Herbalist) delves into the colorful life of the seductive 17th-century English duke George Villiers, favorite of King James I. Elegant and smooth talking, George Villiers rose above his impoverished family to become James's confidante and lover, establishing a fortune and a litany of titles in a remarkably short time. Despite early missteps-including a breach in protocol that ordinarily resulted in the removal of a hand-Villiers earned the trust of both James and his more introverted heir, Charles. In fact, George and the prince managed a misguided undercover excursion into Catholic Spain in a failed attempt to clinch a betrothal between Charles and the Spanish infanta, which Woolley recounts humorously. He provides an evenhanded portrayal of the dramatic Villiers, balancing his tenderness toward the king with the haughty ambition that inspired him to kidnap marital prospects for his family members on at least two occasions. As for the discussion of why Villiers may have been the first of many Stuart regicides, Woolley draws on new evidence from noted toxicologist John Henry, who believes that someone probably murdered the king, which is interesting but not definitive. Woolley presents an engrossing portrait of an ambitious man trusted by two kings that both casual readers and Stuart history fans can enjoy. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. xi
Dramatis Personaep. xv
Prologuep. 1
Act I Christ Had His John and I Have My George
The King's Wayp. 7
The Malcontentp. 11
All We Here Sit in Darknessp. 15
Debateable Landsp. 19
Apethorpep. 24
Baynard's Castlep. 31
St George's Dayp. 37
The Matter of the Garterp. 42
Neither a God nor an Angelp. 51
Keeper of the Sealp. 56
Made or Marredp. 64
Wickedest Thingsp. 68
Poor George Villiersp. 71
Act II Two Venturous Knights
The Favourite and the Fountainp. 81
A Masque on Twelfth Nightp. 85
The Spanish Matchp. 90
Periwigsp. 103
The House of the Seven Chimneysp. 112
Secret Intelligencersp. 127
A Farewell Pillarp. 132
Fool's Coatsp. 135
Act III The Greatest Villain in the World
The Honey and the Stingp. 145
The English Juntap. 149
A Secret Matterp. 153
The Banqueting Housep. 155
Countless Difficultiesp. 160
The Forger of Every Mischiefp. 162
A Game at Chessp. 168
Hobgoblinsp. 171
To Ride Away an Aguep. 181
The Price of a Princessp. 185
What an Age We Do Live Inp. 196
Act IV We the Commons
Poisonous Applicationsp. 211
Anne of Austriap. 220
And So the Devil Go with Themp. 228
All Goes Backwardp. 241
The Knot Draws Nearp. 244
Common Famep. 248
The Bottomless Baggp. 251
The Forerunner of Revengep. 255
Great Matters of Weightp. 261
A Silly Piece of Malicep. 269
Dissolutionp. 271
The Devil and the Dukep. 279
The Scrivener's Talep. 282
I Am the Manp. 284
Sad Affliction's Darksome Nightp. 287
Epiloguep. 291
Bibliographyp. 295
Notesp. 303
Indexp. 329