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The Serpent and the Moon: Two Rivals for the Love of a Renaissance King (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 13. September 2005

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"A cracking good story...a consummate storyteller."
-- Lucinda Hahn, Chicago Tribune

"A hugely entertaining book...the stuff of high Renaissance drama."
-- Leonie Friede, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

"A sizzling story about love and betrayal in a royal family...a true tale of palace intrigue in the sixteenth century."
-- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"The author, who knows a thing or two about palace intrigue herself, writes with style and panache and serves up marvelous details of pageantry, court fashion, furniture, and gossip worthy of the master of the genre, the duc de Saint-Simon."
-- Dominick Dunne


As a descendant of both Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers, and an insider who has seen her share of palace intrigues, no writer could be more equipped than Princess Michael of Kent to explore one of history's most fascinating royal love stories. Catherine de Medici was fourteen when she was bartered in marriage to France by her ambitious cousin, Pope Clement VII. Catherine fell in love with her future husband, Henri, at first sight. But Henri had eyes only for his mistress, the beautiful Diane de Poitiers, eighteen years his senior. Diane and Henri ruled as one, their intertwined monograms and signature black and white colours appearing on everything from royal proclamations to palace doorknobs. Catherine, despised at court, watched miserably as Henri became Dauphin and then King, each day growing more devoted to Diane. Only Henri's death at the age of forty-two ended his love for Diane and Catherine's long, agonizing 'hate and wait'. THE SERPENT AND THE MOON is peopled by the most illustrious figures of the time - including Henry VIII of England, Francois I, and Anne Boleyn.

A ten-year labour of love from a uniquely qualified writer, this is a moving and personal love story as well as a richly woven history of an extraordinary time.

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x927f654c) von 5 Sternen 46 Rezensionen
51 von 54 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8eebc3f0) von 5 Sternen Entertaining Gossipy History But Highly Partisan 10. April 2005
Von strega2 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Having had a long interest in the life of Catherine de Medici, I was looking forward to a new perspective in this book.

I was appalled--it is chock full of historical detail that make it a very entertaining read. But that entertainment is like reading Cosmopolitan magazine: Princess Michael of Kent has done a commendable job of her research and detail, but the blatant bias in favor of Diane de Poitiers, and the contempt for Catherine de Medici make the book, to put it plainly, rather creepy. And as objective history, it is mud.

Princess Michael makes no secret of her bias, as she refers to Diane in the introduction as her 'heroine.' Everything Diane does is applauded, and held up as graceful, ladylike, classy, mature, selfless, motherly, etc--the adjectives go on and on, becoming increasingly less plausible. Catherine is referred to in such catty terms that it sounds like the book was written by a nasty high-school girl. Catherine is ridiculed for her physical lack of charms, but also for being two-faced, a liar, duplicitous, etc. But when Diane does the same things, she is excused as being 'a woman of her time.'

Princess Michael doesn't trouble herself with historical fact: Diane de Poitiers was a major figure in French Renaissance history, but her avariciousness, greed and manipulation of Henri II are glossed over in this book. Catherine de Medici ruled France as regent for 3 of her sons, and managed to survive and secure the throne in a dangerous and ruthless age by being a highly skillful monarch. She was no more or less ruthless than any other successful ruler of that age, but Princess Michael portrays her as alternately sneaky and petty. She goes into great detail over Catherine's supposed 'vengeance' on Diane after the death of Henri II, but in fact, Catherine was remarkably generous, allowing Diane to retire to her estate at Anet undisturbed when she could easily have hounded her unmercifully.

Read this once for the juicy and entertaining historical details of French Renaissance court life, but don't think for a moment that this is a book of history.
30 von 33 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8fe289a8) von 5 Sternen Interesting, but not a recommend 23. Februar 2005
Von Brian Hawkinson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I picked up this book because the author's noble title interested me. Normally I would stay away from a history book not written by an accredited historian, but the fact that she is royalty swayed that a bit as it gave hope that perhaps her insight into a world that only a few belong would be valuable.

At times this was true, perhaps, and there was some insight. But for the most part it was common knowledge that she reiterated, not really shedding any new light at all. Additionally, as other reviewers had stated, it seems that she really does not like Medici. Strange to take such a strong point of view when writing about history. History should be neutral, not judgemental. A point in her favor is that there probably was hate in Medici, but would this be any different than any other wife of the nobility who was affronted by a concubine and her husbund? No, there wouldn't be, so why put so much emphasis on Catherine?

As well, she focused way too much on the fashion of the time and what each woman was wearing. Certainly this should be included, perhaps as a side note, but not in every single chapter, sometimes going on for pages. Not to mention the fact that she repeated her description of the fashion and fabrics worn over and over again. This should be a history of the relationship of Henri II, Catherine and Diane (as the underlying stated premise of the book , not a rehashing of what they wore on a daily basis).

All in all, if you have free time and can't find a better history book to read, then give it a go. Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend this book.
22 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8eebcf54) von 5 Sternen tedious and vicious 21. April 2005
Von LuelCanyon - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This book is a royal dud. Unbearably tedious accumulation of detail and a vicious treatment of Catherine de Medici mark this as an unworthy book of history. It's a surprising disappointment in that Princess Michael of Kent has generally seemed one of the more intellectually solid members of the British royal family. The pages are laden with imperial minutiae to the point of distraction, serving only to interrupt the telling of the beguiling tale of Henri II and the contest between his wife and mistress. When the author gets distracted you can bet so does the reader, and it happens over and over again. The author's writing style has no simplicity about it when simplicity is the very tool needed to bring sympathy, and with it a genuine understanding of the history it seeks to reveal. Catherine de Medici has rarely been treated so forlornly, yet the fascinated affection lavished on Diane de Poitiers in the end makes a shallow mess of her story. The book desperately needs an unflinching editor, and the author needs a new direction and maybe a change of heart. This is more fairytale land than it is a presentable history.
15 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x910b0b94) von 5 Sternen A skewed view of the King's concubine 17. Oktober 2004
Von L. B. Bridges - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Princess Michael of Kent takes a very romantic view of Diane De Poiters. Poor Catherine De Medici is in love with her husband, but is villified for being unattractive and infertile. Of course, even after giving birth to 10 children, she is still way down on the list of her husband's preferences. Diane, 19 years the senior of the King, takes full advantage of his adolescent favor and obtains perferments for her children and great riches for herself. I couldn't help feeling sorry for Catherine. The only reason that Diane didn't get rid of Catherine ( in her 10 years of infertility) was because Diane was afraid that a younger wife might be more attractive to the King and eclipse her. I came away not admiring Diane one bit.
23 von 28 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8fe2893c) von 5 Sternen A skewed view; obviously anti medici 6. Dezember 2004
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I found this history of Henri II, Catherine de' Medici and Diane de Poitiers interesting for about the first third of the book. After that I found Princess Michael of Kent a hateful author. If she wanted to write a more flattering view of the King's Concubine that's fine but there was no reason whatsoever to be so hateful about Catherine De' Medici over and over she says Catherine could "Hate and Wait". She reduces the queen to a fat ineffectual brood mare and raises what is essentially the King's courtesan into a woman of dignity, class, and peity. It makes me wonder if this book is really about an historic french king or if it is about the current crown prince of England and his mistress.
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