Books & Books. February 22, 2012. 8:00 p.m.
Based on manuscript documents and written with meticulous scholarship that required months of work in French archives, Éminence is surprisingly entertaining and a true pleasure to read. Not only an account of Cardinal Richelieu’s political intrigue, it is also a juicy portrait of the French royal family, and they’re all out of control: the melancholic and disquieting King Louis XIII, the choleric and stubborn Queen Mother Marie de Medici, the seductive and at times disloyal consort Queen Anne of Austria, the happy-go-lucky and lethal brother Gaston d’Orléans. It is an endlessly fascinating tale of war exploits, love affairs, escapes, kidnappings, conspiracies, and executions.
Jean-Vincent Blanchard is an associate professor of French Studies at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. A specialist on pre-revolutionary France, he has published on a broad range of subjects in politics, history, religion, philosophy, and the arts. Éminence is his first book in English. He divides his time between Swarthmore and New York City.
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