A young woman forced to fight for her beliefs. A chaplain with a secret that could determine the fate of a kingdom.
England, 1452. Under the reign of King Henry VI the country is on the brink of civil war after the Hundred Years’ War.
Young mystic Lady Isabelle d’Albret Courteault’s family is forced to flee the Duchy of English Gascony for a new and unforeseeable life in England. While they become established in the courts, Lady Isabelle discovers dark secrets about their chaplain and tutor. As their growing relationship places her in harm’s way, can she remain steadfast in her promises to uphold the monarchy and her faith?
Set amidst a period of grave uncertainty, this is the story of a woman learning to stand up for her beliefs in a patriarchal world – a beautifully crafted narrative of faith, love and grace.
The story of poison is the story of power…
For centuries, royal families have feared the gut-roiling, vomit-inducing agony of a little something added to their food or wine by an enemy. To avoid poison, they depended on tasters, unicorn horns and antidotes tested on condemned prisoners. Servants licked the royal family’s spoons, tried on their underpants and tested their chamber pots.
Ironically, royals terrified of poison were unknowingly poisoning themselves daily with their cosmetics, medications and filthy living conditions. Women wore makeup made with lead. Men rubbed feces on their bald spots. Physicians prescribed mercury enemas, arsenic skin cream, drinks of lead filings and potions of human fat and skull, fresh from the executioner. Gazing at gorgeous portraits of centuries past, we don’t see what lies beneath the royal robes and the stench of unwashed bodies; the lice feasting on private parts; and worms nesting in the intestines.
The Royal Art of Poison is a hugely entertaining work of popular history that traces the use of poison as a political – and cosmetic – tool in the royal courts of Western Europe from the Middle Ages to the Kremlin today.