Synopses & Reviews
Having proven herself a gifted and engaging novelist with her portrayals of Queen Elizabeth I in The Lady Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey in Innocent Traitor, New York Times bestselling author Alison Weir now harks back to the twelfth century with a sensuous and tempestuous tale that brings vividly to life England’s most passionate—and destructive—royal couple: Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry II.
Nearing her thirtieth birthday, Eleanor has spent the past dozen frustrating years as consort to the pious King Louis VII of France. For all its political advantages, the marriage has brought Eleanor only increasing unhappiness—and daughters instead of the hoped-for male heir. But when the young and dynamic Henry of Anjou arrives at the French court, Eleanor sees a way out of her discontent. For even as their eyes meet for the first time, the seductive Eleanor and the virile Henry know that theirs is a passion that could ignite the world.
Returning to her duchy of Aquitaine after the annulment of her marriage to Louis, Eleanor immediately sends for Henry, the future King of England, to come and marry her. The union of this royal couple will create a vast empire that stretches from the Scottish border to the Pyrenees, and marks the beginning of the celebrated Plantagenet dynasty.
But Henry and Eleanor’s marriage, charged with physical heat, begins a fiery downward spiral marred by power struggles, betrayals, bitter rivalries, and a devil’s brood of young Plantagenets—including Richard the Lionheart and the future King John. Early on, Eleanor must endure Henry’s formidable mother, the Empress Matilda, as well as his infidelities, while in later years, Henry’s friendship with Thomas Becket will lead to a deadly rivalry. Eventually, as the couple’s rebellious sons grow impatient for power, the scene is set for a vicious and tragic conflict that will engulf both Eleanor and Henry.
Vivid in detail, epic in scope, Captive Queen is an astounding and brilliantly wrought historical novel that encompasses the building of an empire and the monumental story of a royal marriage.
"Weir (Innocent Traitor) captures the perspective of the subject of her bestselling biography, Eleanor of Aquitaine, the medieval duchess who wielded power across Europe at a time when women were required to cede all possessions to their husbands. Both of Eleanor's husbands were kings--she divorced Louis VII of France to marry the soon-to-be Henry II--and Weir offers a vivid history of Eleanor's second marriage, highlighting Henry's fiery temper, unflagging energy, and obsession with loyalty. Weir's portrait of Eleanor reveals a mother devoted to her children, even as they grow up to rebel; a queen dedicated to her native land, even when governed by husband or son; and a woman yearning for love. Part of a wave of fiction re-interpreting famous female figures, Weir gives a credible account of an encounter between Eleanor and the girl reputed to have replaced her in Henry's affections, and a convincing explanation of how Henry and Thomas Becket became mortal enemies. Although her style is more studied and sedate than, say, Philippa Gregory's, Weir doesn't skimp on the sex-obsessed court, and her weaving of personal and political narratives with minor details, social trends, and history-defining events creates a surprisingly modern-feeling romance. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
About the Author
Alison Weir is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Innocent Traitor and The Lady Elizabeth and several historical biographies, including Mistress of the Monarchy, Queen Isabella, Henry VIII, Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Life of Elizabeth I, and The Six Wives of Henry VIII. She lives in Surrey, England with her husband and two children.