George Heriot, jeweller to King James VI, moves with the Court from Edinburgh to London to take over the English throne. It is 1603. Life is a Babel of languages and glittering new wealth. The Scottish court speaks Danish, German, Middle Scots, French and Latin. James gives Shakespeare his first secure position. To calm the perfidious religious tensions in the country, he commissions his translation of the Bible. He creates the Union Jack, called after himself.
George becomes wealthier than the king as he sets a fashion for hat jewels and mingles with Drummond of Hawthornden, Ben Johnson, Inigo Jones and the mysterious ambassador Luca Von Modrich....
However both king and courtier bow before the phenomenal power invested in their wives.
‘Jean Findlay assembles a fascinating man from a strange collection of fragments with style, fittingly enough, and wit.’
‘... first-rate, playful, moving biography.’
‘Elegant and even-handed biography’
‘a fascinating read’
‘Biographies like Findlay’s are crisp air in cramped and stuffy literary rooms of ideology.’