Allan Massie

Reigning Over Terror

Catherine De Medici


Weidenfeld & Nicolson 440pp £20 order from our bookshop

I HAVE THE impression that the second half of the sixteenth century in France is little known here, neglected even by historical novelists, at least since the splendid Stanley Weyman a hundred years ago. (Are any of his books in mint? If not, why not?) Academic historians, have, of course, given the period their attention, notably Kobert Knecht, but even Catherine de Medici, the subject of this admirable new biography, is probably little more than a name to most English readers, even to those who gobble up biographies of her daughter-in-law Mary Queen of Scots or of Elizabeth I. The Latter, incidentally, for some years flirted , . with. the idea of marrying ‘another of Catherine’s sons, whom she described affectionately as her ‘little Frog’. “

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Darley’s book is not a mad dash through this most compelling and complex of English counties. Nor is it another ti… ,
    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,
    • 'Now that the Thames is too fast-flowing to freeze, its spirit’s devotees ... have found other climes for their pri… ,