The bestselling author of Catherine de Medici turns to Francis I, the king who transformed France into a great nation.
Francis I (1494-1547) was inconstant, amorous, hot-headed and flawed. Yet he was also arguably the most significant king that France ever had. This is his story.
A contemporary of Henry VIII of England, Francis saw himself as the first Renaissance king, a man who was the exemplar of courtly and civilised behaviour throughout Europe. A courageous and heroic warrior, he was also a keen aesthete, an accomplished diplomat and an energetic ruler who turned his country into a force to be reckoned with.
Yet he was also capricious, vain and arrogant, taking hugely unnecessary risks, at least one of which nearly resulted in the end of his kingdom. His great feud with his nemesis Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, defined European diplomacy and sovereignty, but his notorious alliance with the great Ottoman ruler Suleiman the Magnificent threatened to destroy everything.
With access to never-before-seen private archives, Leonie Frieda's comprehensive and sympathetic account explores the life of the most human of all Renaissance monarchs - and the most enigmatic.
A captivating biography ... [Frieda] does herself proud. Battle scenes are vividly drawn and the intricacies of statecraft reconstructed with admirable clarity. She also has a fine eye for detail - this rollicking story is packed with anecdotes - THE TIMES
A thoughtful, vivid and well-paced telling of a complex story; and it is set against an even more complex background of European power-politics, which Frieda picks apart with admirable skill - SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
Swedish by birth, but educated in Britain, France and Germany, Leonie Frieda speaks five languages and is a member of the Institute of Linguists. She is the author of a bestselling biography of Catherine de Medici, and THE DEADLY SISTERHOOD: A STORY OF WOMEN, POWER AND INTRIGUE IN THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE and FRANCIS I: THE MAKER OF MODERN FRANCE. She lives in London and has two children.