THE DEVIL'S QUEEN
Kalogridis delves into the life of one of the most maligned women in history, Catherine de Medici. The author paints a compassionate portrait of a woman who was a pawn to her family, unloved by her husband and hated by the French, yet rose to a position of power -- perhaps through the black arts, perhaps through intelligence. Either way, Kalogridis makes Catherine acces-
sible to readers.
As a child Catherine is left a wealthy heiress, imprisoned by her family until she's wed to King Henry of France. She comes to France at a time of great political unrest and religious turmoil. Alone in a foreign country, despised by the people (blamed for the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre of French Protestants), she fights for her husband's affection against his powerful mistress, Diane de Poitiers.
She seeks help from the black arts of the occult to gain the love she craves. Barely noticed at court until her eldest son's death, Catherine uses her power to see her other sons placed on the throne. But as her children rise to their rightful places, she realizes she must pay the consequences for her unorthodox means of achieving her goals. (ST. MARTIN'S, Jul., 480 pp., $24.99)