Introducing Lady M

0003_3 Susan Sarah here, offering a glimpse of my February 2008 release. For a long while, I’ve been hard at work in my little author-cave, tappity-typing away at a novel about the real Lady Macbeth, an 11th century Queen of Scots.

The intensive research is done, the hefty manuscript went in and was pared down (trust me, it had to happen), and wonder of wonders, friends and family are still speaking to me after way too much exposure to my little project. Now, the production process is still going on: galley pages, cover art, cover copy, map and glossaries, and all the various whatnots and wingdings of the production phase are flying back and forth for checking and rechecking, and at last the end product is in sight.

LADY MACBETH: A Novel by Susan Fraser King will be released by Crown Books in hardcover in February, 2008. The book will be their feature novel for that month, which is great recent news. Though my new website, www.susanfraserking.com, isn’t finished yet, a placeholder is up, and plans are moving ahead to reveal the final design soon.

Here’s a preview …

Lady_macbeth_new_2 LADY MACBETH: A Novel

Susan Fraser King

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 descendant 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 warlord 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 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 greatly misunderstood by history.

"The voice of the Scottish queen just burns off the page and will forever change the way you view Macbeth and his lady."
                      — Mary Jo Putney, New York Times bestselling author

"Turns Shakespeare’s play on its ear, setting history against fable as it brings a nuanced and fierce truth to the life of this much-maligned queen." 
                      — Eloisa James, New York Times bestselling author

                      and here’s an abridged excerpt

Scotland, 1058

   Snowflakes dazzle against the evening sky and fall gentle around this stark tower. The false King of Scots expects us to trudge our ponies through that cold deep, so that I may tuck myself away in some Lowland monastery. Malcolm Canmore, he who murdered my husband and now calls himself king, would prefer I went even farther south into England, where they have priories just for women. There his allies would lock me away, as the Scots will not.
   I sent a message to the usurper Malcolm: the dowager Queen Gruadh, lately wife to King Macbeth whom you have slain, chooses to remain in her fortress.
    A dare of sorts, and we shall see what he will do….

   In shadows and firelight, others sit with me listening to the harper’s music, while surly Finella moves in and out of the room like a wraith. Bethoc, seated nearest me, is my cousin and the healing woman in my household; the monk Drostan sits apart from us, his shoulders hunched as he reads the pages of a small book. Both of them ran with me as youngsters. Given my temperament, perhaps only Celtic loyalty has kept them with me since.
    Bethoc is a true friend, though at times she judges me harshly, and I her. The monk is one of the Céli Dé, or Culdees, those who allow priests to marry and Sabbath to be celebrated on Saturdays, among other rebellions that delight me. In much else, Rome has nagged the Scottish Church to its knees.
    Drostan has a fine hand with a pen, and hopes to write a chronicle about me. This would be an encomium, a book of praise, for his queen. I told him it was a silly notion.
    Sparks fly and small flames leap. Truthfully, I am considering it.
    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. I know embroidery and hawks and kingship, and more magic than I should admit. And I refuse to end my days in a convent.
   Now that is enough chronicle to suit me. Better to record the life of Mac bethad mac Finlach instead, the king who died near Lammas but six months past.
   From what my advisors say, Malcolm Canmore—ceann mor in Gaelic, or big head, two words that suit him—will order his clerics to record Macbeth’s life. Within those pages, they will seek to ruin his deeds and his name. My husband cannot fight for his reputation now.
   But I am here, and I know what is true.

I hope you’ll look for LADY MACBETH next February — and meanwhile I’ll be posting reminders on the blog, along with more info about the historical background, the research, and so on….

137_3792_3 Lady Macbeth and her Celtic warlord – the action figures?

             ~Susan Sarah

55 thoughts on “Introducing Lady M”

  1. ” 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. I know embroidery and hawks and kingship, and more magic than I should admit. And I refuse to end my days in a convent.”
    Magnificent! An encapsulated tribute to true womanhood. I’m already spellbound. LADY MCBETH is on pre-order.
    Nina

    Reply
  2. ” 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. I know embroidery and hawks and kingship, and more magic than I should admit. And I refuse to end my days in a convent.”
    Magnificent! An encapsulated tribute to true womanhood. I’m already spellbound. LADY MCBETH is on pre-order.
    Nina

    Reply
  3. ” 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. I know embroidery and hawks and kingship, and more magic than I should admit. And I refuse to end my days in a convent.”
    Magnificent! An encapsulated tribute to true womanhood. I’m already spellbound. LADY MCBETH is on pre-order.
    Nina

    Reply
  4. ” 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. I know embroidery and hawks and kingship, and more magic than I should admit. And I refuse to end my days in a convent.”
    Magnificent! An encapsulated tribute to true womanhood. I’m already spellbound. LADY MCBETH is on pre-order.
    Nina

    Reply
  5. ” 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. I know embroidery and hawks and kingship, and more magic than I should admit. And I refuse to end my days in a convent.”
    Magnificent! An encapsulated tribute to true womanhood. I’m already spellbound. LADY MCBETH is on pre-order.
    Nina

    Reply
  6. I love well-known tales told from an unknown POV. The first time I came across this was in Jean Rhys’ novel “Wide Sargasso Sea”, about the first Mrs. Rochester (she of the burning tower), and I’ve been on the lookout for similar books ever since. It also helps that I read Josephine Tey’s “Daughter of Time” at an impressionable age, so I’m also up for the restoration of historical figures. The excerpt sounds wonderful, although I’m sure I’ll need to keep a box of tissues at hand. My birthday is in February, and I’ve now got the first item on my b-day wish list.

    Reply
  7. I love well-known tales told from an unknown POV. The first time I came across this was in Jean Rhys’ novel “Wide Sargasso Sea”, about the first Mrs. Rochester (she of the burning tower), and I’ve been on the lookout for similar books ever since. It also helps that I read Josephine Tey’s “Daughter of Time” at an impressionable age, so I’m also up for the restoration of historical figures. The excerpt sounds wonderful, although I’m sure I’ll need to keep a box of tissues at hand. My birthday is in February, and I’ve now got the first item on my b-day wish list.

    Reply
  8. I love well-known tales told from an unknown POV. The first time I came across this was in Jean Rhys’ novel “Wide Sargasso Sea”, about the first Mrs. Rochester (she of the burning tower), and I’ve been on the lookout for similar books ever since. It also helps that I read Josephine Tey’s “Daughter of Time” at an impressionable age, so I’m also up for the restoration of historical figures. The excerpt sounds wonderful, although I’m sure I’ll need to keep a box of tissues at hand. My birthday is in February, and I’ve now got the first item on my b-day wish list.

    Reply
  9. I love well-known tales told from an unknown POV. The first time I came across this was in Jean Rhys’ novel “Wide Sargasso Sea”, about the first Mrs. Rochester (she of the burning tower), and I’ve been on the lookout for similar books ever since. It also helps that I read Josephine Tey’s “Daughter of Time” at an impressionable age, so I’m also up for the restoration of historical figures. The excerpt sounds wonderful, although I’m sure I’ll need to keep a box of tissues at hand. My birthday is in February, and I’ve now got the first item on my b-day wish list.

    Reply
  10. I love well-known tales told from an unknown POV. The first time I came across this was in Jean Rhys’ novel “Wide Sargasso Sea”, about the first Mrs. Rochester (she of the burning tower), and I’ve been on the lookout for similar books ever since. It also helps that I read Josephine Tey’s “Daughter of Time” at an impressionable age, so I’m also up for the restoration of historical figures. The excerpt sounds wonderful, although I’m sure I’ll need to keep a box of tissues at hand. My birthday is in February, and I’ve now got the first item on my b-day wish list.

    Reply
  11. Oh, Susan, I can’t wait for this! I can already envision using excepts with my classes (I’m a high school teacher). I’m curious to know if the novel has scenes that parallel the play. That “re-perspective” (sorry, the right word is escaping me)can be so fascinating–I’ll never forget the chills I got when I read the end of Geraldine Brooks’ “March” (the father from “Little Women” is the main character). Anyway, I loved the excerpt, and will be looking for the book next year!

    Reply
  12. Oh, Susan, I can’t wait for this! I can already envision using excepts with my classes (I’m a high school teacher). I’m curious to know if the novel has scenes that parallel the play. That “re-perspective” (sorry, the right word is escaping me)can be so fascinating–I’ll never forget the chills I got when I read the end of Geraldine Brooks’ “March” (the father from “Little Women” is the main character). Anyway, I loved the excerpt, and will be looking for the book next year!

    Reply
  13. Oh, Susan, I can’t wait for this! I can already envision using excepts with my classes (I’m a high school teacher). I’m curious to know if the novel has scenes that parallel the play. That “re-perspective” (sorry, the right word is escaping me)can be so fascinating–I’ll never forget the chills I got when I read the end of Geraldine Brooks’ “March” (the father from “Little Women” is the main character). Anyway, I loved the excerpt, and will be looking for the book next year!

    Reply
  14. Oh, Susan, I can’t wait for this! I can already envision using excepts with my classes (I’m a high school teacher). I’m curious to know if the novel has scenes that parallel the play. That “re-perspective” (sorry, the right word is escaping me)can be so fascinating–I’ll never forget the chills I got when I read the end of Geraldine Brooks’ “March” (the father from “Little Women” is the main character). Anyway, I loved the excerpt, and will be looking for the book next year!

    Reply
  15. Oh, Susan, I can’t wait for this! I can already envision using excepts with my classes (I’m a high school teacher). I’m curious to know if the novel has scenes that parallel the play. That “re-perspective” (sorry, the right word is escaping me)can be so fascinating–I’ll never forget the chills I got when I read the end of Geraldine Brooks’ “March” (the father from “Little Women” is the main character). Anyway, I loved the excerpt, and will be looking for the book next year!

    Reply
  16. Thought of another comment: When my kids were younger for a brief time there was an animated series called “Gargoyles”. I don’t recall the details, but I do remember they too retold the Macbeth legend, and in their retelling he was a much more heroic character. Don’t remember what, if anything, they had to say about Lady Macbeth.
    Also, one of my regrets about not being rich is that I didn’t have the money to see Sean Bean as Macbeth when he performed the role in London. I would have loved to fly over for the weekend, caught the play, and jetted home again.

    Reply
  17. Thought of another comment: When my kids were younger for a brief time there was an animated series called “Gargoyles”. I don’t recall the details, but I do remember they too retold the Macbeth legend, and in their retelling he was a much more heroic character. Don’t remember what, if anything, they had to say about Lady Macbeth.
    Also, one of my regrets about not being rich is that I didn’t have the money to see Sean Bean as Macbeth when he performed the role in London. I would have loved to fly over for the weekend, caught the play, and jetted home again.

    Reply
  18. Thought of another comment: When my kids were younger for a brief time there was an animated series called “Gargoyles”. I don’t recall the details, but I do remember they too retold the Macbeth legend, and in their retelling he was a much more heroic character. Don’t remember what, if anything, they had to say about Lady Macbeth.
    Also, one of my regrets about not being rich is that I didn’t have the money to see Sean Bean as Macbeth when he performed the role in London. I would have loved to fly over for the weekend, caught the play, and jetted home again.

    Reply
  19. Thought of another comment: When my kids were younger for a brief time there was an animated series called “Gargoyles”. I don’t recall the details, but I do remember they too retold the Macbeth legend, and in their retelling he was a much more heroic character. Don’t remember what, if anything, they had to say about Lady Macbeth.
    Also, one of my regrets about not being rich is that I didn’t have the money to see Sean Bean as Macbeth when he performed the role in London. I would have loved to fly over for the weekend, caught the play, and jetted home again.

    Reply
  20. Thought of another comment: When my kids were younger for a brief time there was an animated series called “Gargoyles”. I don’t recall the details, but I do remember they too retold the Macbeth legend, and in their retelling he was a much more heroic character. Don’t remember what, if anything, they had to say about Lady Macbeth.
    Also, one of my regrets about not being rich is that I didn’t have the money to see Sean Bean as Macbeth when he performed the role in London. I would have loved to fly over for the weekend, caught the play, and jetted home again.

    Reply
  21. Wonderful! I can’t wait to read this one, anf if I had had any doubts, the quotes from MJP and EJ would have sold me.
    My teacher instinct kicked in too, Kaley, and I thought how much fun it would be to use Susan/Sarah’s book with the play. I taught Jane Eyre last year with Wide Sargasso Sea and Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair–and the classes were engaging for me as well as the students.

    Reply
  22. Wonderful! I can’t wait to read this one, anf if I had had any doubts, the quotes from MJP and EJ would have sold me.
    My teacher instinct kicked in too, Kaley, and I thought how much fun it would be to use Susan/Sarah’s book with the play. I taught Jane Eyre last year with Wide Sargasso Sea and Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair–and the classes were engaging for me as well as the students.

    Reply
  23. Wonderful! I can’t wait to read this one, anf if I had had any doubts, the quotes from MJP and EJ would have sold me.
    My teacher instinct kicked in too, Kaley, and I thought how much fun it would be to use Susan/Sarah’s book with the play. I taught Jane Eyre last year with Wide Sargasso Sea and Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair–and the classes were engaging for me as well as the students.

    Reply
  24. Wonderful! I can’t wait to read this one, anf if I had had any doubts, the quotes from MJP and EJ would have sold me.
    My teacher instinct kicked in too, Kaley, and I thought how much fun it would be to use Susan/Sarah’s book with the play. I taught Jane Eyre last year with Wide Sargasso Sea and Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair–and the classes were engaging for me as well as the students.

    Reply
  25. Wonderful! I can’t wait to read this one, anf if I had had any doubts, the quotes from MJP and EJ would have sold me.
    My teacher instinct kicked in too, Kaley, and I thought how much fun it would be to use Susan/Sarah’s book with the play. I taught Jane Eyre last year with Wide Sargasso Sea and Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair–and the classes were engaging for me as well as the students.

    Reply
  26. Thanks all!
    Kaley and Janga, I would be honored if you would even consider using the book while teaching, and I do think the novel would work for an interesting contrast/compare when students are reading the play — it tells the actual historical story with as much accuracy as I could find. I ran the historical facts (and my own interpretations too) past a professor of medieval and Celtic history and one of the most respected Macbeth scholars around, and he gave me thumbs up. And corrected some of the Gaelic. *g*
    Besides, when reading the play, the impression of Lady Macbeth is of a mature woman with some real anger and power issues. *g* Who would ever suspect that the real woman was forced to marry the warlord Macbeth when she was 16, and very likely pregnant with her first husband’s child? (the facts allow for that interpretation, so I went for it!) It’s a far cry from Shakespeare… but he had very different sources, and some specific motivations for his plot and characters.
    SusanDC, I’ve heard of the Gargoyles series, and I think they did base some of their Macbeth and Gruoch stuff on the historical material. I kept running into it on Google searches!
    Thanks everyone — y’all will be hearing lots more about Lady M on this blog! 🙂
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  27. Thanks all!
    Kaley and Janga, I would be honored if you would even consider using the book while teaching, and I do think the novel would work for an interesting contrast/compare when students are reading the play — it tells the actual historical story with as much accuracy as I could find. I ran the historical facts (and my own interpretations too) past a professor of medieval and Celtic history and one of the most respected Macbeth scholars around, and he gave me thumbs up. And corrected some of the Gaelic. *g*
    Besides, when reading the play, the impression of Lady Macbeth is of a mature woman with some real anger and power issues. *g* Who would ever suspect that the real woman was forced to marry the warlord Macbeth when she was 16, and very likely pregnant with her first husband’s child? (the facts allow for that interpretation, so I went for it!) It’s a far cry from Shakespeare… but he had very different sources, and some specific motivations for his plot and characters.
    SusanDC, I’ve heard of the Gargoyles series, and I think they did base some of their Macbeth and Gruoch stuff on the historical material. I kept running into it on Google searches!
    Thanks everyone — y’all will be hearing lots more about Lady M on this blog! 🙂
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  28. Thanks all!
    Kaley and Janga, I would be honored if you would even consider using the book while teaching, and I do think the novel would work for an interesting contrast/compare when students are reading the play — it tells the actual historical story with as much accuracy as I could find. I ran the historical facts (and my own interpretations too) past a professor of medieval and Celtic history and one of the most respected Macbeth scholars around, and he gave me thumbs up. And corrected some of the Gaelic. *g*
    Besides, when reading the play, the impression of Lady Macbeth is of a mature woman with some real anger and power issues. *g* Who would ever suspect that the real woman was forced to marry the warlord Macbeth when she was 16, and very likely pregnant with her first husband’s child? (the facts allow for that interpretation, so I went for it!) It’s a far cry from Shakespeare… but he had very different sources, and some specific motivations for his plot and characters.
    SusanDC, I’ve heard of the Gargoyles series, and I think they did base some of their Macbeth and Gruoch stuff on the historical material. I kept running into it on Google searches!
    Thanks everyone — y’all will be hearing lots more about Lady M on this blog! 🙂
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  29. Thanks all!
    Kaley and Janga, I would be honored if you would even consider using the book while teaching, and I do think the novel would work for an interesting contrast/compare when students are reading the play — it tells the actual historical story with as much accuracy as I could find. I ran the historical facts (and my own interpretations too) past a professor of medieval and Celtic history and one of the most respected Macbeth scholars around, and he gave me thumbs up. And corrected some of the Gaelic. *g*
    Besides, when reading the play, the impression of Lady Macbeth is of a mature woman with some real anger and power issues. *g* Who would ever suspect that the real woman was forced to marry the warlord Macbeth when she was 16, and very likely pregnant with her first husband’s child? (the facts allow for that interpretation, so I went for it!) It’s a far cry from Shakespeare… but he had very different sources, and some specific motivations for his plot and characters.
    SusanDC, I’ve heard of the Gargoyles series, and I think they did base some of their Macbeth and Gruoch stuff on the historical material. I kept running into it on Google searches!
    Thanks everyone — y’all will be hearing lots more about Lady M on this blog! 🙂
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  30. Thanks all!
    Kaley and Janga, I would be honored if you would even consider using the book while teaching, and I do think the novel would work for an interesting contrast/compare when students are reading the play — it tells the actual historical story with as much accuracy as I could find. I ran the historical facts (and my own interpretations too) past a professor of medieval and Celtic history and one of the most respected Macbeth scholars around, and he gave me thumbs up. And corrected some of the Gaelic. *g*
    Besides, when reading the play, the impression of Lady Macbeth is of a mature woman with some real anger and power issues. *g* Who would ever suspect that the real woman was forced to marry the warlord Macbeth when she was 16, and very likely pregnant with her first husband’s child? (the facts allow for that interpretation, so I went for it!) It’s a far cry from Shakespeare… but he had very different sources, and some specific motivations for his plot and characters.
    SusanDC, I’ve heard of the Gargoyles series, and I think they did base some of their Macbeth and Gruoch stuff on the historical material. I kept running into it on Google searches!
    Thanks everyone — y’all will be hearing lots more about Lady M on this blog! 🙂
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  31. “That sounds so bloody cool. I can’t wait to read it. 🙂
    -Michelle ”
    LOL, Michelle, this really made me smile. Thanks!
    ~Susan

    Reply
  32. “That sounds so bloody cool. I can’t wait to read it. 🙂
    -Michelle ”
    LOL, Michelle, this really made me smile. Thanks!
    ~Susan

    Reply
  33. “That sounds so bloody cool. I can’t wait to read it. 🙂
    -Michelle ”
    LOL, Michelle, this really made me smile. Thanks!
    ~Susan

    Reply
  34. “That sounds so bloody cool. I can’t wait to read it. 🙂
    -Michelle ”
    LOL, Michelle, this really made me smile. Thanks!
    ~Susan

    Reply
  35. “That sounds so bloody cool. I can’t wait to read it. 🙂
    -Michelle ”
    LOL, Michelle, this really made me smile. Thanks!
    ~Susan

    Reply
  36. Susan:
    I don’t know how you do it, but you truly are brilliant! Seeing Lady M in a new light will be facinating and I look forward to reading your book. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  37. Susan:
    I don’t know how you do it, but you truly are brilliant! Seeing Lady M in a new light will be facinating and I look forward to reading your book. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  38. Susan:
    I don’t know how you do it, but you truly are brilliant! Seeing Lady M in a new light will be facinating and I look forward to reading your book. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  39. Susan:
    I don’t know how you do it, but you truly are brilliant! Seeing Lady M in a new light will be facinating and I look forward to reading your book. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  40. Susan:
    I don’t know how you do it, but you truly are brilliant! Seeing Lady M in a new light will be facinating and I look forward to reading your book. Keep up the good work!

    Reply

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