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A top ten bestselling novelist and historian recreates in fiction the most extrordinary and tempestuous marriage in history

It is the year 1152 and a beautiful woman of thirty, attended by only a small armed escort, is riding like the wind southwards through what is now France, leaving behind her crown, her two young daughters and a shattered marriage to Louis of France, who had been more like a monk than a king, and certainly not much of a lover.

This woman is Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, and her sole purpose now is to return to her vast duchy and marry the man she loves, Henry Plantagenet, a man destined for greatness as King of England. Theirs is a union founded on lust which will create a great empire stretching from the wilds of Scotland to the Pyrenees. It will also create the devil’s brood of Plantagenets – including Richard Cœur de Lion and King John – and the most notoriously vicious marriage in history.

The Captive Queen is a novel on the grand scale, an epic subject for Alison Weir. It tells of the making of nations, and of passionate conflicts: between Henry II and Thomas Becket, his closest friend who is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral on his orders; between Eleanor and Henry’s formidable mother Matilda; between father and sons, as Henry’s children take up arms against him; and finally between Henry and Eleanor herself.

Reviews

A vibrant historical novel that explores the rocky relationship between Henry Plantagenet and Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose union produced King John and Richard the Lionheart

Marie Claire

A tumultous tale, told here with insight, empathy, vitality and vision . . . A brilliant portrayal of a marriage in meltdown

Lancashire Evening Post

Alison Weir deserves the large and loyal popular following for her readable historical biographies . . . Eleanor of Aquitaine is the most fabulous (literally) of subjects

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099534587

    September 1, 2011

    Arrow

    528 pages

    RRP $24.99

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  • EBook

    9781446455890

    March 1, 2011

    Cornerstone Digital

    528 pages

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