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Nigel Tranter, Published by Hodder and Stoughton, 1996
ISBN 0 340 62581 3

The following details of the story are taken from the book jacket.

The action of this book is set Circa 1603 to Circa 1633.

Descended from the McAllisters of Kintyre, Laird of a small estate, William Alexander of menstrie was blessed with the gift of poetry. Little, however, could he have foreseen where his creative talents would lead him.

For James VI of Scotland was also a lover of poetry. And once the poetic genius of William Alexander came to the King's attention, the appointments and promotions followed thick and fast.

Then in 1603 James VI succeeded Elizabeth I to become a James Ist of England, the first ruler of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. When he journeyed south to London, he brought William with him. Amongst many other duties heaped on the former Laird of Menstrie at this time was the command at to translate the Psalms for the new royal version of the Bible in English, which remains the definitive edition to this day.

Always quick to learn, William Alexander succeeded in overcoming his comparatively humble beginnings, became adept at handling the malicious machinations, the petty feuds and jealousies of the English court. Eventually he proved himself so able that, by the time he died, he had become Earl of Stirling, Viscount of Canada, Governor of Nova Scotia and Secretary of State.

Laced with intrigue and absorbing historical detail Nigel Tranter charts the extraordinary story of this most astonishing of men.