The first book in the Birth of the Plantagenets series is sumptuous, rich historical fiction for fans of Wolf Hall and Game of Thrones.
Queen Eleanor of France, said to be the most beautiful woman in Europe, has not been able to give birth to an heir. A strategic liaison with Geoffrey the Handsome, the virile and charming Duke of Normandy, could remedy that – or lead to her downfall and Geoffrey's death.
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.
When Henry saves his father from discovery and execution by the French, he falls foul of Eleanor - and madly in love with her Byzantine maid. Should he become King of England, however, this dazzling woman will never be acceptable as his queen.
These intertwined relationships - heated, forbidden and perilous - are the heart of a vivid story of ambition, vengeance and political intrigue set in the glorious flowering of troubadour culture, mysticism and learning that is twelfth-century France.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Romance, war, espionage and the supernatural intertwine in this irresistible troubadour fiction by Blanche d’Alpuget. The first novel in the Birth of the Plantagenets series thrusts us into the 12th-century via vivid, action-packed depictions of war, complex politics and the tug-o-war between true feelings and duty. The Duke of Normandy, hellbent on royal power, begins a scandalous affair with French Queen Eleanor, while grooming his once-wild son Henry to become the next king. But when Henry falls in love with Queen Eleanor’s lowly maid, the stakes grow higher still, and emotional, familial and political ties clash even more dramatically. D’Alpuget excels at world building and carefully paced character development, drawing us into a battle between France, England and Normandy, while taking us on the personal, often deeply emotional journeys of a varied cast of characters.