Captive Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine

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9781441754660: Captive Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine
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Renowned for her highly acclaimed and best-selling British histories, New York Times bestselling author Alison Weir has in recent years made a major impact on the fiction scene with her novels about Queen Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey. In this latest offering, she imagines the world of Eleanor of Aquitaine, the beautiful twelfth-century woman who was queen of France until she abandoned her royal husband for the younger man who would become king of England. In a relationship based on lust and a mutual desire for great power, Henry II and Eleanor took over the English throne in 1154, thus beginning one of the most influential reigns and tumultuous royal marriages in all of history. In this novel, Weir uses her extensive knowledge to paint a most vivid portrait of this fascinating woman.

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Interesting Facts About Eleanor of Aquitaine, from Alison Weir

  • Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204) is arguably the most important and admired female figure in medieval European history.
  • Captive Queen tells the epic and dramatic tale of this strong and remarkable woman who held her own in a male-dominated world.
  • Eleanor was queen first to Louis VII of France and then to Henry II of England.
  • Her lands comprised half of what is now France, making her the greatest heiress in Europe. The transfer of that landed inheritance, first to France and then to England, set the pattern of European diplomacy and warfare for the next four centuries.
  • Her marriage to Henry II of England, which is the focus of Captive Queen, was one of the most passionate and tempestuous in history. Both Eleanor and Henry were larger-than-life, charismatic characters.
  • Eleanor was a true daughter of the south of France, raised in a society in which women were valued more highly than elsewhere, and morals were lax. She grew up imbued with the culture and poetry of the troubadours, and her beauty was famous.
  • Eleanor’s reputation was notorious, in her own lifetime and increasingly thereafter. She was a sensual woman with little regard for the moral precepts of her day, and she had adulterous affairs with several men, including her uncle and her future father-in-law.
  • Many of the romantic or sinister legends that have attached themselves to Eleanor’s name center upon her rival, Henry’s mistress, Rosamund de Clifford. In this novel, Alison Weir has made creative use of those legends.
  • Eleanor bore eleven children—among them Richard the Lion Heart, renowned as the greatest crusader in Christendom, and the notorious King John, who was forced to sign the Magna Carta.
  • The book’s title derives from the fact that Eleanor was a captive in her marriage, loving and hating Henry at the same time. Later on, having dealt him a bitter betrayal, she would become his captive in very truth.
  • Ultimately, Captive Queen is a searing psychological odyssey, an intense exploration of the character and motives of an extraordinary woman.

About the Author:

ALISON WEIR is the author of two previous books of historical fiction, Innocent Traitor and The Lady Elizabeth. Her nonfiction books include The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen Isabella, and, most recently, Mistress of the Monarchy. She lives and works in Surrey, England.

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