Christopher Ondaatje

Hate and Wait

The Serpent and the Moon: Two Rivals for the Love of a Renaissance King


Simon & Schuster 405pp £20 order from our bookshop

Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent has written a moving account of a love triangle in Renaissance France. It is an extraordinary story.

The first half of the sixteenth century was a time of giants: the dazzling François I on the throne of France, a young and still handsome Henry VIII on the throne of England, a youthful (and less good-looking) Charles V as the Holy Roman Emperor, and two Medici popes holding sway, one almost after the other, in the Vatican. These powerful Christian rulers had to contend with Sulieman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Emperor, amid all the confusion and strife brought about by the Reformation. Political machinations would actually lead François I, and later his son Henri II, to form alliances with Sulieman, the infidel, against the Holy Roman Emperor. 

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