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Summary

From the award-winning Denise Mina comes a radical new take on one of the darkest episodes in Scottish history - the bloody murder of David Rizzio.

This breathtakingly tense work is a tale of sex, seduction, secrets and lies, one that looks at history through a modern lens and explores the lengths that men - and women - will go to in the search for love and power.

It's Saturday evening, 9th March 1566, and Mary, Queen of Scots, is six months pregnant. She's hosting a supper party. Outside, Edinburgh is bustling. It’s full of the great and the good and the idiot sons of the rich, here for a Parliament that will take Scotland by the shoulders and turn it from England to face Europe.

Mary doesn't know that her palace is surrounded - that, right now, an army of men is creeping upstairs to her chamber. They're coming to murder David Rizzio, her friend and secretary, the handsome Italian man who is smiling across the table at her. Mary's husband wants it done in front of her, and he wants her to watch it done....

©2021 Denise Mina (P)2021 W F Howes

Critic reviews

"Best seller Mina vividly recreates a gruesome episode from the Tudor era in this searing novella set mostly over the course of a single day, Mar. 9, 1566. Mina interjects well-wrought characterisations; this superior historical thriller reads like a real-life episode of Game of Thrones." (Publishers Weekly)

"May be Britain's finest living crime novelist." (Daily Telegraph)

"The cream of the crop, an author who pushes the crime novel in new and exciting directions." (Ian Rankin)

What listeners say about Rizzio

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Mary, Queen of Scots

This is an interesting view of proceedings in the Mary, Queen of Scots story. Other than the undeniable facts, I am not sure how historically accurate this may be - would we ever know, unless we had been there - but it certainly gives a contemporary feel to imagined conversations.

The story is minus one star as it was very short to merit the cost of an Audible credit.

The narrator - Katy Leung is a Scot, her accent is good for the story - but my goodness she is monotone and her pronunciation of certain words is really not good. “The Earl of Mow Rae” - how American is that?! She also narrated Val McDermid’s ‘1979’ book which was also spoiled by her mispronunciation of words. I am totally flummoxed as to how a Scot could get it so wrong - and also so right in accent?!

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  • 02-10-21

History told as her story.

As ever, Denise Mina tells a brilliant story and she never veers away from harsh realities. Read well with a voice that took some time to adjust to as at first, the voice seems flat and monotone but after listening several times, this apparent lack of emotion in the narrators voice, serves the tale well. Thank you.

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Makes the story clear

This is short but it really tells the story well. It brings the characters to life and shows the chronology and reasons to good effect. The reader makes a good fist of it but pronounced a few words oddly which grates on my pedantic nature.

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excellent

fast paced, excellent retelling. I recommend Denise Mina's version and the terrific performance of Katie Leung, pitched perfectly.

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Short and vivid recreation of a historical moment

Well read in a strong Scottish burr.
Short character sketches no less vivid for their brevity. Tension and momentum perfectly managed.

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Recreates the period magnificently

Really atmosoheric, almost cinematic screenplay. For a scot its doubly interesting as even if its fiction it resonates the desire for a European outlook over the English control. Great and smart observation. I just wish the story was a bit longer.. Great narration too. Loved it.

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Rizzio

Giving a historic view of a such an important time in Scottish history. Was gripped yet aghast at the brutality of it all. The sound recording was terrible though as the beginning of practically each sentence faded up too late, it felt like a bit of a guessing game and took away a bit of the pleasure of audiobook listening.