Mary Queen of Scots hits theaters in December, and that’s just enough time to catch up on Britain’s bloodstained, power-obsessed past. Here are just a few of the books to help you prepare!

Mary Queen of Scots: The Fair Devil of Scotland by Jean Plaidy

Mary Queen of Scots lived a life of luxury at the French Court until she went to Scotland and found herself at the center of a political storm. When her husband Lord Darnley is murdered and she is abducted, she lands on a path that could lead to her execution at the hand of Lord Bothwell.

Arbella: England’s Lost Queen by Sarah Gristwood

Based on letters written by England’s “Lost Queen,” this revealing portrait details the life of Arbella – the niece of Mary Queen of Scots and cousin to Elizabeth I. During her short life she was used as a pawn in the struggle for sovereign power, while she worked tirelessly to escape a life that would inevitably end in death.

Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley by Alison Weir

When Mary Stuart, Queen of England, married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, she soon discovers that her charming, accomplished husband is really after her seat at the throne. But when he is killed suddenly in an explosion, Britain is engaged in a gripping murder mystery surrounding his death.

The Plantagenet Prelude by Jean Plaidy

When William X dies, the territory of Aquitaine will fall to his 15-year-old daughter, Eleanor. But the kingdom is at risk at the hand of an unmarried woman. So, on his deathbed William does something drastic – he creates a will promising his daughter’s hand in marriage to the future King of France.

The Autumn Throne: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Elizabeth Chadwick

In this stunning conclusion to the Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy, Eleanor is imprisoned by her husband and forbidden to see her children. But her spirit is not broken and her yearning to overthrow King Henry II is more powerful than ever. She is pushed to her limits when forced to cross the Alps mid-winter on an unimaginable journey that requires her greatest courage and fortitude.

The Way by Kristen Wolf

Set in the heart of ancient Palestine, this is the story of young Anna as she undertakes an epic and dangerous journey disguised as a boy. Mystical teachings of health and healing await as she fulfills a powerful and unknown destiny, and danger lurks around every corner when she’s caught between two commanding forces.