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Joan Arc Acclaimed historian Helen Castor brings us afresh a gripping life of Joan of Arc. Instead of the icon, she gives us a living, breathing young woman; a roaring girl fighting the English, and taking sides in a bloody civil war that was tearing fifteenth century France apart. Here is a portrait of a 19-year-old peasant who hears voices from God; a teenager transformed into a warrior leading an army to victory, in an age that believed women should not fight.

And it is also the story behind the myth we all know, a myth which began to take hold at her trial: that of the Maid of Orleans, the saviour of France, a young woman burned at the stake as a heretic, a woman who five hundred years later would be declared a saint. Joan and her world are brought vividly to life in this refreshing new take on the medieval world. Helen Castor brings us to the heart of the action, to a woman and a country in turmoil, a world where no-one – not Joan herself, nor the people around her, princes, bishops, soldiers or peasants – knew what would happen next.
This is a brilliant and fascinating account of one of the heroine of history. Castor writes in a beautiful style that pulls you along as the read and whilst we all know the story and ending it is a joy to read.

Sheila O’Reilly
Faber/9780571284627/£20.00

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