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Lady Macbeth by Susan Fraser King
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Lady Macbeth

by Susan Fraser King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2821239,987 (3.73)18
  1. 10
    King Hereafter by Dorothy Dunnett (Scorbet)
    Scorbet: King Hereafter has a different take on the Macbeth story.
  2. 00
    Macbeth the King (Coronet Books) by Nigel G. Tranter (myshelves)
    myshelves: Also a novel.
  3. 00
    Macbeth by William Shakespeare (joririchardson)
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» See also 18 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
I loved this book. It has been well researched and the characters were well fleshed out. Having read (and love) Shakespeare's Macbeth many times, I greatly enjoyed reading a story that was more realistic than the play. One understood that sometimes harsh decisions had to be made in such violent times. ( )
  scot2 | Apr 22, 2017 |
A well-written historical fiction novel about Lady Macbeth's path to becoming queen of Scotland. The plot line dragged a little and probably would only earn a 3 star rating, but the historical descriptions bumped the rating up. King's descriptions of Celtic traditions and the world of warriors and thanes were excellent.  ( )
  jguidry | May 31, 2016 |
3.5 stars

I thought initially that I would rate this book higher, because it is packed with details of everyday life, customs and superstitions. Also, the author keeps fairly close to the established historical facts, such as they are, and her author's note is very detailed and informative. What lets the book down though is the writing, which was somewhat distant und unemotional and never lets the reader come close to the main characters. At the end, Gruadh and Macbeth remain shadowy and unknowable, and I wished the author had simply taken a punt at some point as to their respective characters and emotional makeup. ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
3.5 Stars

Susan Fraser King's debut novel, Lady Macbeth, takes readers back to 11th century Scotland. The novel's protagonist, Lady Gruadh, is the last descendent of Scotland's ancient royal line. Married to one of Scotland's most powerful lords, Gruadh leaves the comfort and familiarity of her family home to join her husband in his vast and unforgiving northern domain. Just as she begins to feel comfortable in her new surroundings, a pregnant Gruadh is left a widow at the hands of Macbeth, a man many feel is rightful lord over her late husband's people and lands. Widowhood doesn't last long for Gruadh, who is forced to marry Macbeth almost immediately after the death of her husband. While tumultuous at the outset, the marriage evolves into one of respect, admiration and finally love on the part of Gruadh, who works with her husband to unite Scotland and put an end to the constant threats posed by the Vikings and Saxons. Lady Macbeth is Gruadh's story.

Overall, Lady Macbeth is an enjoyable read. This novel's greatest strengths are Fraser King's descriptive prose and attention to historical detail, which enable the politics, culture, customs and beliefs of 11th century Scotland to come vividly to life. My enjoyment of this novel, however, was tempered by the author's use of first person narrative. Gruadh is an aloof figure and, even though the story is told from her perspective, by the novel's end I didn't feel as if I knew her any better than I did at the start. Furthermore, by telling the story through Gruadh's eyes, the motivations of the novel's supporting characters are inadequately, or not at all, explained. Macbeth himself remains very much an enigma. Yet learning more about him would have enhanced my enjoyment of the story. While the characters failed to come completely alive for me, Fraser King's presentation of life in 11th century Scotland in and of itself makes this novel a worthwhile read.

Recommended to fans of historical fiction interested in Scottish history, particularly those interested in the early medieval era. ( )
  Melissa_J | Jan 16, 2016 |
A fictional retelling of the MacBeth story, from the point of view of MacBeth. This story reflects the historical record, according to the author, but does not mesh with Shakespeare's play. This story presents a less villainous MacBeth couple and a less saintly Duncan. The story starts much earlier in time, and traces events through the life of Lady MacBeth, ending a year after the death of MacBeth. An interesting, easy to read story, perhaps with a bit too much of the Gaelic sense at times for the average lay reader. This could perhaps have been avoided a bit by making the story third person instead of first person; for Lady MacBeth to stop the story to explain herself more than she did might have broken the flow (and did break the flow when she did). ( )
  Devil_llama | May 19, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Susan Fraserprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McCaddon, WandaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307341747, Hardcover)

I am granddaughter to a king and
daughter to a prince, a wife twice over, a queen
as well. I have fought with sword and bow, and
struggled fierce to bear my babes into this world.
I have loved deeply and hated deeply, too.


Lady Gruadh, called Rue, is the last female descendent of Scotland’s most royal line. Married to a powerful northern lord, she is widowed while still carrying his child and forced to marry her husband’s murderer: a rising war-lord named Macbeth. Encountering danger from Vikings, Saxons, and treacherous Scottish lords, Rue begins to respect the man she once despised–and then realizes that Macbeth’s complex ambitions extend beyond the borders of the vast northern region. Among the powerful warlords and their steel-games, only Macbeth can unite Scotland–and his wife’s royal blood is the key to his ultimate success.  

Determined to protect her small son and a proud legacy of warrior kings and strong women, Rue invokes the ancient wisdom and secret practices of her female ancestors as she strives to hold her own in a warrior society. Finally, side by side as the last Celtic king and queen of Scotland, she and Macbeth must face the gathering storm brought on by their combined destiny.

From towering crags to misted moors and formidable fortresses, Lady Macbeth transports readers to the heart of eleventh-century Scotland, painting a bold, vivid portrait of a woman much maligned by history. 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:05 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Lady Gruadh, called Rue, is the last female descendant of Scotland's most royal line. Married to a northern lord, she is widowed while still carrying his child and forced to marry his murderer: a rising warlord named Macbeth. Encountering danger from Vikings, Saxons, and treacherous Scots, Rue comes to respect the man she once despised--then realizes that Macbeth's complex ambitions extend beyond the borders of the vast northern region. Among powerful warlords and their steel-games, only Macbeth can unite Scotland--and his wife's royal blood is the key to his ultimate success.… (more)

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