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Queen Margot by Alexandre Dumas
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Queen Margot (1845)

by Alexandre Dumas

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Valois Romances (1)

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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Queen Margot is an action-adventure novel by probably the best action-adventure writer, Alexander Dumas. Set in France in 1572, during the height of Catholic-Protestant wars, the story tells of conspiracies, plots, trysts, murders, poisonings and love. The story centers on Marguerite de Valois, sister of the French King Charles IX. Forced to marry a man she doesn't love, she enters into a political marriage that is supposed to bring peace between Catholics and Protestants. Then after all the Catholic and Protestant nobles are gathered to celebrate the marriage, the infamous Saint Bartholomew Massacre occurs, and Catholic Marguerite falls in love with Protestant Le Mole.

The novel includes the wickedly evil Catherine de Medicis, an expert at poisoning, Marguerite's power-hungry and debased brothers, each of whom takes his turn as King of France. Contrasting all the wicked and evil historical characters are the noble friendship between Le Mole and his friend Coconnos. And while Marguerite never comes to love her husband, Henri de Navarre, we watch their respect for each other grow as they learn to watch each other's back. Historical fiction doesn't get better than this. ( )
  ramon4 | Oct 29, 2016 |
You think you know scheming, backstabbing, double dealing and treachery? You don’t know anything compared to the French aristocracy. Yes, I know this is fiction, true historical fiction since it it set almost 200 years before it was written, but darn if it doesn’t ring true to some extent. No one gets and keeps power without a little skulduggery on the side. And in the French court, murder helps, too.

Because this is based on real people; Queen Catherine de Medici and her many sons, plus wives, girlfriends and hangers-on, I did some fact-checking to see how close Dumas got it. There is some embroidery and speculation (did Catherine poison Henry of Navarre’s mother Jeanne?) but the bare bones of the succession, religious turmoil and court drama is factual. And boy is it fun. Once I got the hang of the French names and titles it was a breeze. I nearly drew myself a quick family tree because damn, everyone is related to everyone else and it’s crazy. Eventually though I got it.

As you might suspect, at the heart of the plot is the succession to the throne of France and all the jousting and jockeying that goes into getting it. The sheer amount of lies and manipulation is staggering. Dumas keeps Francis alive even though he was king and died before Charles, who is king in the novel, ascends to the throne. His sister Margot describes Francis as “cunning and cold. He has never made friends, because he neither loves nor hates. He just plots for himself, and he will treat his friends as enemies, or take his enemies for friends, as he thinks it may be advantageous to him.” That pretty much goes for all of them and Charles does a good job of getting his brothers out of the way by giving them lesser crowns. His mother Catherine is also a master manipulator and isn’t happy now Charles is ruling independently. She employs a purfumier which is really just a nice way to say poisoner. As soon as the poisons start flying though, you know there will be an unintended victim and near misses.

We also get a massacre, secret romances, murder, imprisonment, friendship, changing alliances, secret passageways, eavesdropping, clandestine meetings and religious conversions. Great stuff. ( )
1 vote Bookmarque | Sep 6, 2016 |
Queen Margot by Alexandre Dumas; (4 1/2*)

This book is filled with intrigue, conspiracies, treachery, violence and even a bit of romance. I found it to be exhilarating, gripping, suspenseful and quite a page turner. It is an amazing piece of literature but then I find everything by Dumas to be more than wonderful.
It is based on history, two years of the history of France from 1572 to 1574. Events seem to come to life under the hand of this author.
At the forefront of the story itself is Queen Margot of France and her new husband King Henry of Navarre. She is the sister of the King of France, Charles IX. We begin with their wedding at a time when there is a "truce" between the Catholic French and the Protestant Navarre. The truce is false and within days of the wedding thousands of Protestants have been brutally killed in the streets of Paris which sets off the two years of deceit and treachery that Dumas details so thrillingly.
Because it has been an arranged marriage there is no love between the Catholic Queen and her Protestant King but the two of them form an alliance to protect one another.
My favorite (though she was quite despicible) character was the Queen Mother, Catherine de Medicis, who wants King Henry dead.
This is a novel rich in the telling. ( )
  rainpebble | Aug 1, 2015 |
Really great novel - even if I already knew the story from the opera and the movie. Wonderful characters - La Mole and Coccanas were brilliant. Great story of in-fighting in the French royal house. Poisonings, betrayals, and intrigue. A little like Wuthering Heights in that everyone has the same name so it is hard to keep everyone straight. Too many Henrys. ( )
  stuart10er | Nov 5, 2013 |
Plots and counterplots. Betrayal and friendship. Poisonings and swordplay. Romance and intrigue. Swashbuckling knights and beautiful women. Treachery and loyalty. What's not to like?

I certainly enjoyed this tale, set in Paris in 1572. The wedding of Henry, King of Navarre, a Huguenot (Protestant) and Margot, the sister of the Catholic French King Charles, is set to take place among much celebration -- and among a plan to massacre the Huguenots assembled for the wedding, which became known as the Massacre of St Bartholemew.. Thus begins a roller coaster ride of plots and love affairs, religious and political intrigue, vicious hatred and stalwart honor, all loosely based on history. Suffice it to say Dumas keeps the plot rolling along, but he also creates many memorable characters especially Margot herself, her murderous and power-hungry mother, Catherine of Medici, and her mother's "perfumer" (i.e., poisoner). It is interesting that these two women are so strong and important in an early 19th century novel.

The notes in my Oxford World Classics edition were very helpful, as was the introduction, which pointed out that the early nineteenth century saw a popular hunger for action-oriented, melodramatic works, and for novels that dealt with France's history. The notes also indicates where Dumas strayed from the historical record.

While I found this book hard to put down, I think a little goes a long way, at least for me. I do plan to read more Dumas, including The Count of Monte Cristo, but probably not until next summer since it is such a tome and because I think I need a rest between Dumas novels.
5 vote rebeccanyc | Oct 9, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (40 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alexandre Dumasprimary authorall editionscalculated
Coward, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coward, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dazzi, MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Somersalo, AiliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786880821, Paperback)

Released to coincide with the new Miramac film starring Isabelle Adjani, this is the classic novel unavailable for over 25 years. Massacres, conspiracies, clandestine trysts, secret alliances, daring escapes, sumptuous feasts, and duels of wit propel the action in this delightful story of French royalty during the 16th century. Advertising with movie.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:25 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Alexandre Dumas brings an extraordinary period of history to life in this exciting period romance. It is the twilight of the reign of King Charles IX, and France is dominated by religious wars between Catholics and Protestants. King Charles' sister, Marguerite, daughter of staunch Catholics Henri II and Catherine de Medici, is set to marry the Protestant Henri de Navarre. Their marriage sets off a series of conspiracies between the Catholics and the Protestants in a dangerous and breathtaking game for power. From the mysterious murder of Henri de Navarre's mother, cleverly plotted by the evil Catherine de Medici, to the notorious Saint Bartholomew Massacre which killed thousands of Protestants lured to Paris by the wedding, Queen Margot is full of suspense, intrigue, betrayals, and daring escapes. At the center of it all are the good-hearted Marguerite and Henri, perfect political allies with fascinating love lives.… (more)

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