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’. “

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