Plagues, assassinations and warring popes. The reign of Joan I had it all.
Her domain was the Kingdom of Naples. And she held onto it for forty years, resisting everything from a Hungarian invasion to the scourge of the Black Death. Her most scandalous moment came in 1345, when her first husband was murdered. And Joan was one of the main suspects.
This killing would eventually lead to Joan’s dethronement and her execution. Alexandre Dumas paints a complex picture of a powerful woman in a man’s world—beautiful and learned, but also ruthless. It’s a fascinating entry in his ”Celebrated Crimes” series. Alexandre Dumas (1802 - 1870) was a hugely popular 19th century French writer. Born of mixed French and Haitian heritage, Dumas first rose to prominence in Paris as a playwright, but later gained international fame with his historical fiction. Often co-authored with other writers, these stories wove together swashbuckling adventure, romance, and real events from France’s past. Among the best known are ”The Three Musketeers”, and its sequels ”Twenty Years After”, and ”Le Vicomte de Bragelonne: Ten Years Later”. Set across four decades, this trilogy follows the rise of the dashing D’Artagnan—from hot-headed soldier to trusted captain under Louis XIV. Dumas’ other novels include ”The Count of Monte Cristo” and ”The Black Tulip”. His works have been adapted into more than 200 movies, including The Man in the Iron Mask starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
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