Quite the most picturesque personality in the long line of French monarchy, Henry IV combined physical bravery with mental enlightenment to a degree unmatched among rulers of mankind. He envisaged and worked for the union of the Christian religions and the brotherhood of the European nations, for the concord of sects and the amity of states.
Three and a half centuries ago his ideals were considered chimerical: now the’ are regarded as the only hope for the survival of civilisation.
Apart from his amazing achievements as a soldier and a ruler, winning all his big battles, raising France from destitution to affluence, and creating a nation out of feudal dukedoms hostile to the Crown, he was wonderfully good-hearted, tolerant, sagacious, witty and democratic. Like his grandson, Charles II of England, he was immoderately amorous, and his love-affairs brought out all the weaknesses of a generous, easy-going nature.
At the age of twelve Hesketh Pearson was attracted to Henry of Navarre in the romances of Dumas and Stanley Weyman, and since then has read innumerable books on the subject. In this work the biographer has extricated the man from the fictional and historical legends that have blurred his real nature, and has clearly displayed his strength, his frailty and his abounding humanity.