"The Devil's Queen: A Novel of Catherine de Medici" is the first book I have read by Jeanne Kalogridis. As a rule, I do not normally read historical fiction. My usual fare is science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, urban fantasy, thrillers and psychological suspense. I do read "The Count Saint-Germain" series by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Her books contain an abundance of historical detail that brings ancient eras to life. Of course, the hero is a four thousand year-old vampire. The heroine in "The Devil's Queen" is a real person. But her story is so fascinating it had me totally engrossed.
Catherine was a pampered child who entered an arranged marriage with Henry, the heir to the French throne. They were both fourteen years old at the time. Although Catherine loved and supported her husband, who became King Henry II, he took a mistress, the beautiful Diane de Poitiers. Catherine turned to sorcery to win her spouse's love and enhance her fertility so she could bear heirs to the throne. She went to Cosimio Ruggieri, an astrologer and medieval psychic. He persuaded her to play a part in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre of French Protestants to insure her children would inherit what was rightfully theirs.
Kalogridis' novel is well researched and highly entertaining. She casts a favorable light on Catherine who is usually depicted as a devil and her prose brought Catherine de Medici to life for me. The betrayals, political intrigue and vivid descriptions of the Renaissance French court were all fascinating. And as a reader who enjoys the supernatural I was especially interested in Catherine's dabbling in the occult. Having enjoyed the book I intend to look for the authors previous books, "I, Mona Lisa" and "The Borgia Bride." Future books by the author will definitely be on my "to be read" list. Historical fiction has moved up a notch on my favorite genre list.
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (July 21, 2009)
Hardcover: 480 Pages