The Brood of False Lorraine: The history of the Ducs de Guise (1496-1588),
subsequently taken to the year 1671, volumes 1 & 2
The power behind several throne s— and if they were not behind the throne, they were breathing heavily in the wings, threatening to unseat its occupant - the Dukes and Cardinals de Guise were a hugely influential family in sixteenth and early seventeenth century France.
The story of this family gives an intimate insight into the reigns of François I, Henri II, Henri's sons François II (husband of Mary Queen of Scots), Charles IX and Henri III, and to a lesser extent that of Henri IV.
Along the way are detailed accounts of the St Bartholomew's Day massacre, of the horrors of the French Wars of Religion, of assassinations, murder and revenge, of plots with England, Spain and Rome. It's a story of courage and cowardice, of greed and arrogance. It overlaps with and continues the same author's Henri II: His Court and Times.
The cover picture is from a painting of the assassination of Henri, 3rd Duke de Guise, showing King Henri III, who instigated the murder, turning over the body with his foot.
Extraordinary as it may seem, someone thought this a good subject for the lid of a chocolate box.
The caption reads (in English): "He seems even bigger dead than he did alive," (Henri III).
The Brood of False Lorraine: Amazon US / Amazon UK
The Dunnett connection:
Several members of the Guise family appear in Queen's Play and Checkmate, in particular: François, 2nd Duke de Guise, and his brothers Charles, 2nd Cardinal de Lorraine, and Claude, Duke d'Aumale.