Sunday, 26 September 2021

Fictional tale about evil queen of France

A MAN from Kingwood has written a novel tracing the life of a notorious French queen.

A MAN from Kingwood has written a novel tracing the life of a notorious French queen.

Peter Mowbray wrote The Serpent of the Valois about Catherine de Medici.

In 1572, after 10 years of civil war, the queen arranged the marriage of her daughter Marguerite to the Protestant Henry, King of Navarre, to reconcile the warring factions.

But during the wedding celebrations in Paris, the Huguenot leader Coligny was murdered, as were hundreds of other Protestants who had gathered for the occasion.

This became known as the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in which Catherine was probably involved.

Mr Mowbray’s book is a fictional story based on her life.

He said: “The novel traces her story from the middle years of her life as Queen Mother during a time of great religious conflict throughout France.

“Through the centuries she has become synonymous with evil and deception and infamous for her role in the massacre.

“She was certainly a complex character and has become cast as one of the wickedest women in history and not without good reason.”

Mr Mowbray, a general manager for a conference production company, began writing the novel years ago.

“I started it in longhand but never got round to typing it up,” he said. “I recently completed a diploma course in historical writing and felt that I could maybe bring a few new ideas to the story.”

Mr Mowbray was born in Henley and grew up in Bix where his family ran The Fox pub. He is married to Sally and they have two children, Oli and Ross.

He is writing a sequel, tentatively titled The Second Jezebel, which should be completed later this year.

The Serpent of the Valois is available online.

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