The second book in the captivating Birth of the Plantagenets series brings the twelfth-century reign of Henry II and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine to vivid life, from bestselling author Blanche d’Alpuget.
1154. After years of manipulation and political cunning, young Henry II accedes to the throne of England, with the beautiful and indomitable Eleanor of Aquitaine by his side.
But the kingdom he inherits is an impoverished shambles after the long, troubled reign of Stephen the Usurper. Together, the tempestuous royal couple use their charisma and shrewd diplomacy to restore England’s prestige and power, and ensure the future of their mighty dynasty.
In order to replenish the English treasury, Henry appoints Thomas Becket, the unordained Archdeacon of Canterbury, as Chancellor. Becket is no ordinary man: born without rank, he is charming, quick-witted, a masterful intriguer and a lavish dresser with a genius for raising money. Beneath this lies a man seething with ambition, jealousy, treachery and desire.
In a dance of scheming, vengeance and forbidden passions, during one of the most turbulent and compelling periods of English history, Henry, Eleanor and Becket fight for political power and control against forces seen and imagined – each with their own agenda, each determined to hide their own shameful secrets. ‘The character of Thomas Becket will rivet readers as they have not been riveted since Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell.’ Thomas Keneally, AO
BLANCHE D’ALPUGET is the acclaimed author of biographies, novels and essays. Her bestselling 1982 classic, Robert J. Hawke: A Biography, won the New South Wales Premier’s Award and remains one of the finest examples of political biographies in Australia. The second edition of the book was republished as Hawke: The Early Years, and d’Alpuget continued the story in Hawke: The Prime Minister in 2010. To mark the late prime minister’s extraordinary life and legacy, d’Alpuget combined the two books for the first time in an updated and revised commemorative edition, Bob Hawke: The Complete Biography, a definitive portrait of the man, on and off the political stage. d’Alpuget’s other non fiction works include Mediator: A Biography of Sir Richard Kirby, which was published to critical acclaim in 1977 and is still used as a university text in the study of industrial relations. Her novels Monkeys in the Dark, Turtle Beach, Winter in Jerusalem and White Eye won a host of literary prizes, including the PEN Golden Jubilee Award, The Age Novel of the Year Award, the South Australian Premier’s Award and the inaugural Australasian Prize for Commonwealth Literature. She is also the author of the Birth of the Plantagenets series: The Young Lion, The Lion Rampant, The Lions’ Torment, The Lioness Wakes and The Cubs Roar.