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.
“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”
“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”