Considered the greatest English queen, Matilda of Flanders came from Normandy with William the Conqueror and was at the forefront of politics and culture in her era. Sofonisba Anguissola was an accomplished Renaissance artist who studied with Michelangelo and became his protégé, and Lucie Dillon, once a lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette at Versailles, survived the Terror, living in the new United States as a farmer for a time before returning to France to aid Napoleon and Josephine build the social connections they needed to manage their political power. In their own words, these ghostly women describe their widely different lives and loves, and the three periods in which they lived—the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the French Revolution.
Born to wealth and privilege in New York, David Osborn chose to spurn both as false icons after World War II combat as a Marine Corps dive bomber pilot. On his own and following brief careers in television and public relations, he expatriated to France when falsely accused of un-Americanism in the infamous Senator McCarthy era, paying his way with a co-authored first motion picture script, Chase a Crooked Shadow. When its star-studded success took him from laboring in a rock quarry in France into Britain’s film industry, he was launched on a long world-class writing career that saw him dangerously engaged during several Cold War years with Czech anticommunist resistance behind the Iron Curtain. Living in France and England as well as isolated for twelve years in a tiny Alpine village in Switzerland, Osborn authored numerous stellar TV plays and a score of major motion pictures, including The Trap, which earned an Academy Award nomination. Turning novelist with the critical success of The Glass Tower followed by the world best-selling classics Open Season, The French Decision, Love and Treason, and a half dozen more outstanding thrillers, he has had many imitators, but none reaching the startling originality of his stories, the stunning impact of his flawless page-turning plots, and his literate prose in each that packs a powerful punch with nearly every line.