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The history of the Scottish monarchy can be presented as a long tale of triumph over adversity, characterized by the personal achievements of its truly remarkable rulers who transformed their fragile kingdom into the master of northern Britain. This volume charts that process, tracing it through the lives of the men and women whose ambitions drove it forward on the often rocky path from its semi-mythical foundations to its integration into the Stewart kingdom of Great Britain. It is a route filled with such towering personalities as Macbeth, Robert the Bruce, and Mary Queen of Scots, whose lives have made an indelible imprint in world history, but directed also by a host of less well-known figures, such as Causantin mac Aeda, who challenged the heirs of Alfred for the mastery of Britain; David I, who extended his kingdom almost to the gates of York; and James IV, builder of the finest navy in northern Europe. Their will and ambition, successes, and failures not only shaped modern Scotland, but have left their mark throughout the British Isles and the wider world.

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