At 128 pages long, this book is a quick read that can be finished in one sitting. Denise Mina‘s Rizzio is a fictionalization of the murder of David Rizzio, personal secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots. Rizzio, who is a favorite of the Queen, is brutally murdered in the Queen’s own private chambers during a coup attempt led by angry Scottish Lords and the Queen’s own husband. At its heart, this novella is an exploration of the consequences of greed, power, jealousy, and fanaticism. While based on a historic true event, the themes of this book are still relevant today.
I enjoyed this book, but I wish it was longer. This easily could have been a full-length novel with more details about the rich history of Scotland and more background and character development for the titular character, Rizzio. Why stop short at a novella? I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction who are looking for a fast read.
If you’d like to learn more about Mary, Queen of Scots, check out The Life of Mary, Queen of Scots: An Accidental Tragedy by Roderick Graham or Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy.