Queen Elizabeth I was all too happy to play on courtly conventions of gender when it suited her "weak and feeble woman's body" to do so for political gain. But in Elizabeth, historian Lisa Hilton offers ample evidence of why those famous words should not be taken at face value. With new research out of France, Italy, Russia, and Turkey, Hilton's fresh interpretation is of a queen who saw herself primarily as a Renaissance prince and used Machiavellian statecraft to secure that position.
Castroux, France, 1939. In a bare farmhouse above the village, Oriane lives in desperate poverty. When the Germans invade, her simple world crumbles. Passions erupt, moral boundaries break down , and rebellion is soon in the air. Castroux, France, 2000. In an idyllic gîte overlooking the river, Claudia sunbathes on the terrace. She’s pregnant, trapped, and terrified of the future. She confides only in a reclusive neighbour, Oriane, and discovers that she too carried a shameful secret.
It's 1199. King Richard the Lionheart is dead, leaving his brother, John, to inherit his lands. Young Isabelle of Angouleme is told that she is to be married to King John of England in a complex plot to gain the English succession, oust Christianity and restore the Old Religion to Europe. But when Isabelle takes matters into her own hands, passions will rage, and dynastic fortunes will rise and fall.
Italy, 1492. Five-year-old Mura is a strange and bewitching child. Daughter to a Nordic mother and Spanish father, she has been tutored in both Arabic learning and the ancient myth cycles of the north. But her widower father has been arrested by the Inquisition, and Mura is sold to a Genoese slaver. In the port of Savona, Mura's androgynous looks and unusual abilities fetch a high price.