From Stanley (Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter, 1997, etc.), a sympathetic biography that is also a straightforward affair, captured in gemlike illustrations that feign a Book of Hours touch--though many are drenched in piety--recounting the story of Joan's life. Covered are her humble beginnings, the visions and voices of saints that came to her, the road to Chinon, and her meeting with the dauphin, the fateful battle at Orleans, and the disaster at Paris, and on to the recanting of her ways and subsequent execution. Stanley does well in treating the Maid's visions and foretellings as acceptable events, as distinct possibilities within the framework of medieval thought. Best of all, she outlines the political maneuverings of the English and the French during the Hundred Years War, how Joan was used by the French dauphin and military leaders, and the treachery of the Inquisition that found a way to kill her even after she, uncharacteristically and perhaps damningly, recanted.