Geoffrey the Handsome, the virile and charming Duke of Normandy, seduces Queen Eleanor of France to spy for him in the struggle between Normandy and France and Normandy and England. Said to be the most beautiful woman in Europe, and very rich, Eleanor has not been able to give birth to an heir for France. Her liaison with Geoffrey could remedy that - or lead to her downfall and Geoffrey's death. But what begins with cool calculation becomes a passionate affair.
Despite his love for Eleanor, however, Geoffrey has larger plans: to help his warrior son, Henry, seize the English throne from the uncle who usurped it from its rightful heir, Henry's mother. When Henry is forced to intervene to save the lives of his father and Eleanor, he falls foul of the French queen - and madly in love with her Byzantine maid. Should he become King of England, however, this dazzling foreign girl will never be acceptable as his queen.
These two relationships, both forbidden, both perilous, are at the centre of a tale of consuming ambition, family vengeance and political intrigue set in the glorious flowering of troubadour culture, mysticism and learning that is 12th century France.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
It's been a long time since Blanche D'Alpuget turned her hand to fiction and it's good to have her back. This time she's decided to tackle historical fiction, which allows her to revisit her longstanding interest in power and passion in a story about the ascendancy of the Plantagenets, the most powerful dynasty to rule England.
The twelfth century in England and France is a time of abundance and intrigue, of endless strategy, plotting and insurgency, of illicit bedchamber visits and risky liaisons. D'Alpuget wears her research lightly, takes permissible liberties with confidence, relishes the opportunity to explore the dark motives of her ambitious men and women and keeps a tight rein on plot and pace.
You can almost hear her young lion roar.
About the Author
Blanche d’Alpuget is a journalist and the author of numerous books, including Mediator: A Biography of Sir Richard Kirby, On Longing, and Winter in Jerusalem. She is the recipient of various literary prizes, including the Age Novel of the Year Award, the Australasian Prize for Commonwealth Literature, and the South Australian Premier's Award.
Number Of Pages: 480
Published: 1st September 2013
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.5 x 3.8
Weight (kg): 0.56