IN CHRISTINE'S OWN WORDS
"Some tasks are beyond women because of their delicate bodies. But when women set out to do something, they are smarter and shrewder than men."
Christine de Pizan, Le Livre de la Cité des Dames, 1404–1405
In the Presence of Evil
Paris, 1393. Christine de Pizan, recently widowed, becomes a scribe to support her family, but when she is called to the palace to work, she dreads going. There, everyone fears the mad king's attacks of unreason, and they believe the charlatans who claim they can cure him with vile potions. When a mysterious book of magic leaves a corpse in its wake, Christine has more than black magic to worry about.
Then, one of the king's favorites, Hugues de Précy, is found murdered and his wife, Alix de Clairy, is blamed. Can Christine prove Alix's innocence and save her from being burned at the stake?
In the Shadow of the Enemy
Paris, 1393. A masquerade ball at the palace ended in tragedy, with four revelers burned to death. Was it an accident . . . or did someone deliberately hurl a flaming torch at the dancers? Convinced it was an act of murder and that the king himself was the real target, Queen Isabeau has asked Christine de Pizan to spend time at court in an attempt to uncover the identity of the would-be assassin.
With the king struck down by an illness no one can understand, Christine finds the palace to be a hotbed of rumor, suspicion, petty rivalries, and dark secrets: a place where no one can be trusted. Could the king's ambitious brother, the Duke of Orléans, be responsible for the deaths? One of his embittered uncles? Or could the killer lie even closer to home?
In the Company of Fools
Paris, 1396. Scribe Christine de Pizan is shocked when the Duke of Orléans's fools find a baby, wrapped in rags and covered in sores, abandoned in the palace gardens. Was there really a wicked plan to substitute the child for the queen's own baby daughter and blame the Duchess of Orléans, Valentina Visconti, who is accused of being a sorceress? Convinced of the duchess's innocence, Christine is determined to uncover the truth, and soon makes a number of disturbing discoveries. Could the palace fools be the key to unlocking the mystery?
Murder in the Cloister
Paris, 1399. Scribe Christine de Pizan is sent to the Priory of Poissy by the palace to copy a manuscript for the prioress. But the prioress already has many copyists, and Christine senses that something is amiss. Her suspicions are confirmed when the prioress reveals that one of the sisters has been found murdered in the cloister. Fearing for the welfare of the king's young daughter who resides at the priory, she is eager for Christine to find out who killed the young nun – and why. As Christine investigates, she uncovers dark mischief and closely guarded secrets, but can she unmask a killer?