Books: Daughter of Debate

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS by Antonia Fraser. 613 pages. Delacorte. $10.

The beautiful woman who serenely lay down on the executioner's block one morning in 1587 seemed to be leaving behind a life of failure. She had spent nearly half of her 44 years in captivity, and was now condemned to be beheaded as a traitor. During the seven years that she had actively reigned over a small and backward nation, she had achieved nothing of note in foreign or domestic policy and had gradually yielded her power to a swarm of savagely contending noblemen....

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