Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France (Paperback)

Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France By Leonie Frieda Cover Image
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The inspiration for the STARZ original series, The Serpent Queen, streaming now!

“A beautifully written portrait of a ruthless, subtle and fearless woman fighting for survival and power in a world of gangsterish brutality, routine assassination and religious mania. . . . Frieda has brought a largely forgotten heroine-villainess and a whole sumptuously vicious era back to life. . . . This is The Godfather meets Elizabeth.” —Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar

Poisoner, besotted mother, despot, necromancer, engineer of a massacre: the dark legend of Catherine de Medici is centuries old. In this critically hailed biography, Leonie Frieda reclaims the story of this unjustly maligned queen of France to reveal a skilled ruler battling extraordinary political and personal odds.

Based on comprehensive research including thousands of Catherine’s own letters, Frieda unfurls Catherine’s story from her troubled childhood in Florence to her tumultuous marriage to Henry II of France; her transformation of French culture to her reign as a queen who would use brutality to ensure her children’s royal birthright. Brilliantly executed, this enthralling biography goes beyond myth to paint a very human portrait of this remarkable figure.

About the Author


Leonie Frieda is the author of a bestselling biography of Catherine de Medici and The Deadly Sisterhood: A Story of Women, Power and Intrigue in the Italian Renaissance. She lives in London.

Praise For…


“A stunning biography, which brings to vivid life a heroic woman and the tumultuous, cruel and gaudy times in which she lived. An outstanding first book by a newcomer to the ranks of English historians.” — Paul Johnson

“This intelligent and well-researched biography is a worthy testament to Catherine’s formidable strength. Catherine de Medici reveals Frieda, a first-time biographer, to be a writer of tremendous skill and talent.” — The Observer

“As Leonie Frieda relates in this well-researched and immensely readable first biography, from her turbulent home in Florence Catherine found herself presiding over perhaps the nastiest period in all French history. Frieda is much to be praised for painting a wonderfully rich canvas.” — London Times

“A carefully nuanced portrait. . . [Leonie Frieda] achieves remarkable balance as she freshly interprets Catherine. . . a revealing biography.” — Booklist

“Leonie Frieda does this remarkable woman full justice. Refusing to play judge, she reveals her to us through the best of means, which is narrative. The skill with which Frieda finds her way through the maze of this confusing period is exemplary. You read on eagerly. An enthralling book.” — Literary Review

“”Riveting and dramatic . . . there is no mistaking the abiding pleasure of this book.” — Washington Times

“Vivid and entertaining. . . . a convincing human portrait against the backdrop of a brutal age.” — Wall Street Journal

“A smart, revisionist biography. . . [Leonie Frieda] does a splendid job unraveling the maddeningly complex political-religious context of Catherine’s time.” — Bloomberg News



Product Details
ISBN: 9780060744939
ISBN-10: 0060744936
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: March 14th, 2006
Pages: 464
Language: English