HE IS THE ORPHANED BOY, the lost boy, the unscrubbed child who never quite grew up, nor had any mind to. I am not sure I have enjoyed writing a book as much as I enjoyed writing this one.I believe it achieves an effervescence, a vitality that reflected the England of James I, the London of Shakespeare and Walter Raleigh. There were times I actually sat at my desk and had to remind myself that I was actually getting paid for this. The work, including endless hours of research, did not seem like work to me. And delight is contagious. "You had fun doing this book, didn't you?" a friend asked. My answer grinned back at him without saying a word. There are times, he noted, that he swore he heard me chuckling in the background.
The King James I went looking for was not the King James I found. I went looking for the buffoon, for the jester, the lottery winner who came riding into town in a golden pumpkin, the spoiled boy who could not possibly have replaced the great Elizabeth.
—From the Prologue
A study in contradiction, the James I actually discovered was a brilliant though neurotic, smutty though grand, shrewd though flawed English King who aroused (or ignited) such fascination in me the book seemed to write itself. I actually wept in moments, particularly when writing about his childhood. Orphaned at 11 months old (his father dead, his mother arrested, whom he never saw again), crowned King of Scotland at 13 months, and kidnapped 9 times before his teens, his early life was a story of a loveless boy of great name and blood swept up in a violent whirlwind of intrigue, treachery, and factious politics.
But I fell hard for this odd bird. His contradictions only endeared him to me. I hope you will find him, for all his foibles, lovely though they are, as enchanting as I did. The best way to discover the life of James and the colorful times in which he lived is to read the book for yourself.
MAJESTIE: THE KING BEHIND THE KING JAMES BIBLE (Thomas Nelson, 2011).
Also available in Audio (Audible.com) and Amazon Kindle.