The early years of the reign of James VI and I have been much examined, but this book takes a new approach, via an overall survey rather than focussing on what are traditionally perceived as the most important moments, such as the Hampton Court Conference and the Gunpowder Plot. This enables the author to show how circumstances and events immediately after James' accession were crucial to shaping his approach to ruling England, and provides a fresh understanding of his reign in England. Unusually, the book draws on both English and Scottish sources, governmental and ecclesiastical, and makes extensive use of central and local records, in order to illustrate how the king managed the Elizabethan legacy he inherited by reference to his Scottish experience. The author argues that after initial misunderstandings, James proved himself to be a king of real political acumen, as he supervised foreign policy, finance, local government and religious policy in England whilst simultaneously ruling Scotland as an absentee monarch. Diana Newton is Research Fellow at the University of Teeside.