James VI and I was the first king to rule both England and Scotland.
He was unique among British monarchs in his determination to communicate his ideas by means of print, pen, and spoken word.
James's own work as an author is one of the themes of this volume.
One essay also sheds new light on his role as a patron and protector of plays and players.
A second theme is the king's response to the problems posed by religious divisions in the British Isles and Europe as a whole.
Various contributors to this collection elucidate James's own religious beliefs and their expression, his efforts before 1603 to counter a potential Catholic claim to the English throne, his attempted appropriation of scripture in support of his own authority, and his distinctive vision of imperial kingship in Britain.
Some different reactions to the king, to his expression of his ideas and to the implementation of his policies form this book's third theme.
They include the vigorous resistance to his attempt to change Scottish religious practice, and the sharply contrasting assessments of his life and reign written after James's death.