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House of Lilies: The Dynasty that Made Medieval France (Hardback)
  • House of Lilies: The Dynasty that Made Medieval France (Hardback)
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House of Lilies: The Dynasty that Made Medieval France (Hardback)

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Hardback 448 Pages
Published: 28/03/2024
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Waterstones Says

Chronicling the riveting story of the House of Capet, Firnhaber-Baker's authoritative history recounts how Medieval France's greatest dynasty swept all before it.

The sweeping story of one of the great epics of Europe's history: the rise and rise of the dynasty that dominated the Middle Ages

Starting in the tenth century from an insecure foothold around Paris, the Capetians built a nation that stretched from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and from the Rhône to the Pyrenees. They founded practices and institutions that endured until the Revolution, transformed Paris from a muddy backwater to a splendid metropole, and popularized the fleur-de-lys, the lily, as the emblem of France. Time and again, their opponents woefully misjudged who they were up against, as through guile, ruthlessness, luck and marriage the Capetians disposed of them all.

This is the story of the most powerful kingdom in Christendom. It is a tale of religious upheaval, heroism, adulterous affairs, holy wars, pogroms and persecution. From Hugh Capet to Eleanor of Aquitaine, the Capetians were men and women of vision and ambition, who considered themselves chosen by God to fulfil a great destiny. They did not simply rule France: they created it.

House of Lilies is a highly enjoyable account of this extraordinary sequence of events, set against one of the great eras in the history of western Europe. Justine Firnhaber-Baker brilliantly conveys not only the cultural effervescence of the French court, but also the intellectual achievements, the battles and the religious fervour, as well as the series of catastrophes that led to the dynasty's ultimate demise.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241552773
Number of pages: 448
Weight: 723 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 40 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

A mighty, panoramic history… Firnhaber-Baker does a real service for those with an interest in France and England alike by providing a dexterous and engrossing account, a treasury for anyone with an interest in the royal, political and religious worlds of the high medieval period - David Brooks, Daily Telegraph

Sparkling dynastic history… galloping through 15 reigns to tell the story of French politics, religion and architecture by way of battles, crusades, pogroms, plots and a truly incredible number of grisly executions. The result is a riotous, scintillating book… It is everything good narrative history should be: learned and gloriously entertaining - Dan Jones, Sunday Times

More than the history of a dynasty, House of Lilies is the engrossing story of the building of France, the greatest political and cultural power of the Middle Ages. The book's protagonists are not only violent, saintly and hapless kings, but also a series of fascinating, clever, and often indestructible queens and consorts. - Paul Freeman, Yale University

House of Lilies is a delight in every way. Justine Firnhaber-Baker demonstrates her complete mastery of the lives of the Capetians, while also telling a story that pulls you along from beginning to end. The book manages to convey how history ebbs, flows, and thunders, but even more importantly allows the reader to almost feel how events moved across four centuries of medieval Europe. - Matthew Gabriele, co-author of The Bright Ages

With consummate erudition and narrative artistry, Justine Firnhaber-Baker brings to life the human drama of an extraordinary dynasty. This rich and engaging history recounts the stories of men and women made great by birth, and sometimes by deeds, who created Capetian kingship. House of Lilies recounts the marvellous and the terrible origin story of the French nation, not-to-be-missed for lovers of the medieval, the royal, or the French. - Sara McDougall, City University of New York

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“An enjoyable and informative romp through medieval France”

Thanks to Penguin for sending me a proof copy in exchange for an honest review.

As someone whose knowledge of the Capetian dynasty was fairly limited, this book represented the perfect introduction to these... More

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