This is Catharine de Valois, of a bad mother, J and a mad father, Charles, who was only 12 when she set her heart on Henry, on being a queen with a double crown, and on becoming as skilled a politician as her mother. From 1413 on, France, through the split between the Burgundians and the Armagnac, through a combined decision to resist Henry's demands for the vast territories c to his great-grandfather, through the many negotiations, suffered Henry's determination to make the country his own; his victories were used by one, then another, of France's ruling parties; Isabeau was imprisoned, escaped and threw her favor to the urgundians. Henry's ravages took famine as his ally as he stood before the many cities he forced to fall; treaties multiplied -- and still Catharine was a virgin until the marriage was a fact -- between battles. And her romantic prince by now was a man of arrogance and austerity, one who had small time for learning about his wife, who wanted an heir and who was disobeyed when Catharine bore their son at Windor rather than Westminster. Henry's death made no provisions for her as regent, and, lonely as a Dowager Queen in her early '20's, it was Owen Tudor who, first as her clerk of the war and later steward, won her love, married her secretly and became the father of her other children. Separated from the young king, watching the continued interplay of countries, bating the power the Maid of Orleans wielded and dying alone, Catharine knew how little her ambitions had rewarded her, how little was the part of which she had dreamed so much. A careful following of the years of war, of frustrations and of the change of balance with each English-French move and counter-move, this brings the 15th century into a close focus, personal and intimate in its period picture, and warm for all its detail.