Synopses & Reviews
For a thousand years men have denied her existence Pope Joan, the woman who disguised herself as a man and rose to rule Christianity for two years. Now this compelling novel animates the legend with a portrait of an unforgettable woman who struggles against restrictions her soul cannot accept.
When her older brother dies in a Viking attack, the brilliant young Joan assumes his identity and enters a Benedictine monastery where, as Brother John Anglicus, she distinguishes herself as a scholar and healer. Eventually drawn to Rome, she soon becomes enmeshed in a dangerous mix of powerful passion and explosive politics that threatens her life even as it elevates her to the highest throne in the Western world.
"Engaging...Pope Joan has all the elements: love, sex, violence, duplicity, and long-buried secrets." The Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Brings the savage ninth century vividly to life in all its alien richness. An enthralling, scholarly historical novel." Rebecca Fraser, Author of The Brontës
"A fascinating story...Explores the extraordinary life of an independent, intelligent, and courageous woman who overcomes oppression and ascends to the highest religious power." The San Francisco Chronicle
"A vivid and compelling re-creation of the Dark Ages." Mary Ellen Quinn, Booklist
About the Author
'Donna Woolfolk Cross graduated cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Pennsylvania in 1969 with a B.A. in English. She moved to London, England, after graduation and worked as an editorial assistant for a small publishing house on Fleet Street, W.H. Allen and Company. Upon her return to the United States, Cross worked at Young and Rubicam, a Madison Avenue advertising firm, before going on to graduate school at UCLA where she earned a master\'s degree in Literature and Writing in 1972.
In 1973, Cross moved to Syracuse, New York, with her husband and began teaching in the English department at an upstate New York college. She is the author of two books on language, Word Abuse and Mediaspeak, and coauthor of Speaking of Words. The product of seven years of research and writing, Pope Joan is her first novel. Cross is at work on a new novel set in 17th century France.'