The Afterlife of King James IV

01/04/19 | By Sarah-Beth Watkins

The Afterlife of King James IV explores the survival stories following the Scottish king's defeat at the battle of Flodden in 1513, and how his image and legacy were used in the years that followed when he remained a shadow player in the politics of a shattered kingdom.

Keith John Coleman has written a legend-based biography of James IV that straddles the gap between history and folklore that looks at the undying king motif and otherworld myths of James IV, one of Scotland's most successful rulers.

The Afterlife of King James IV should be a major discovery for people of Scottish descent who want to know more about their heritage! The author, Keith Coleman, is a native of Dundee, where some of my ancestors came from. Just one more reason for me to find interest. I was fascinated to read about the iron belt worn by James IV for Lent, making it heavier year by year. I could not imagine wearing something like that all my life to assuage my guilt over my not very popular father's death. James III does not sound like a nice guy at all. I was also unaware that Margaret Tudor, who was apparently the sister to Henry VIII, practically twisted herself into a pretzel trying to talk her husband James IV out of going to war with Britain. The reports of James IV's survival of the Battle of Flodden remind me that mankind never changes--how like our myths of Elvis and Hitler! There are so many startling tidbits that I am loath to reveal as spoilers--stop reading now if you do not want to know, although there are loads of these--like the nude corpse of James III being paraded around Leicester, that no one will come away from this book unenchanted or without ripe and juicy dining table anecdotes. Very hard to put this book down! Julia Simpson-Urrutia | NetGalley


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