From the back cover of a paperback edition: This is the first English translation of this monumental work. First published in the Netherlands in 1949, and never out of print, it has sold more than 100,000 copies - equivalent to a U. S. sale of 2.5 million. Set in the fifteenth century, during the Hundred Years War between France and England. Hella Haasse's epic masterpiece brilliantly captures all the drama of one of the great ages of history.The novel's larger-than-life characters move across a panoramic tapestry woven together by criss-crossed bloodlines and intense rivalries. There is the mad king Charles VI and his heartless Bavarian wife Isabeau; the King's dashing brother Louis, Duke of Orleans; his sensitive Italian Duchess, Valentine, and their son Charles, who inherits a ferocious feud with the powerful and scheming Duke of Burgundy. There are also Louis' bastard son Dunois - the fruit of his seduction of the beautiful wife of a courtier - who becomes the right arm of Joan of Arc, and the English kings: Richard II; Henry IV, the brilliant architect of the English army, who changes the face of war at the battle of Agincourt.