The truth is, none of us are innocent. We all have sins to confess. So reveals Catherine de Medici in this brilliantly imagined novel about one of historyrsquo;s most powerful and controversial women. To some she was the ruthless queen who led France into an era of savage violence. To others she was the passionate savior of the French monarchy. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner brings Catherine to life in her own voice, allowing us to enter into the intimate world of a woman whose determination to protect her familyrsquo;s throne and realm plunged her into a lethal struggle for power. The last legitimate descendant of the illustrious Medici line, Catherine suffers the expulsion of her family from her native Florence and narrowly escapes death at the hands of an enraged mob. While still a teenager, she is betrothed to Henri, son of Franccedil;ois I of France, and sent from Italy to an unfamiliar realm where she is overshadowed and humiliated by her husbandrsquo;s lifelong mistress.
Catherine de Medici uses her natural and supernatural gifts to protect the French throne in Gortner's (The Last Queen) portrait of a queen willing to sacrifice happiness and reputation to fulfill her family's royal destiny. Orphan Catherine has her first vision at age 10, and three years later is betrothed to Henri d'Orleans, brother of the sickly heir to the French throne. She heads to France with a vial of poison hidden among her possessions, and after negotiating an uneasy truce with her husband's mistress, she matures into a powerful court presence, though power, she learns, comes at a price. Three of her sons become king in succession as the widow Catherine wields ever-increasing influence to keep the ambitious de Guise clan at bay and religious adversaries from murdering each other. Gortner's is not the first fictional reinterpretation of a historical villainess-Catherine's role in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, for instance, is recounted in a way sympathetic to her-but hers is remarkably thoughtful in its insight into an unapologetically ruthless queen. (May) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
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May 25, 2010
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