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Agnes Sorel

G. P. R. James

Book Overview: 

The Hundred Years' War: a series of conflicts waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Plantagenet, rulers of the Kingdom of England, against the House of Valois, rulers of the Kingdom of France, over the succession to the French throne. It was a time of intrigue, plot, murder and romance. Agnes Sorel, aged 20, became the favorite mistress of the King of France, wielding much influence over him and earning many enemies. Her untimely death at the age of 28, just days after bearing him a fourth child, was blamed on dysentery. In this novel, we follow the trials of Jean Charost, secretary to the Duke of Orleans and brother of the king; and see how his life was entwined with that of the beautiful Agnes.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .at the table, however, and proceeded to fulfill the command he had received, not without difficulty, for the duke's writing, though large and bold, was not very distinct.

To will and not to do, Alas! how sad! Man and his passions too Are mad--how mad! Oh! could the heart but break The heavy chain That binds it to this stake Of earthly pain, And see for joys all pure, And hopes all bright, For pleasures that endure, And wells of light, And purge away the dross With life allied, I ne'er had mourn'd love's loss, Nor ever cried. To will and not to do, Alas! how sad! Man and his passions too Are mad--how mad!

"Read it, read it," said the Duke of Orleans; and, with some timidity, the young secretary obeyed, feeling instinctively how difficult it is to give in reading the exact emphasis intended by the. . . Read More