In the six short years before her death Gabrielle d'Estrees rose through the ranks of minor nobility from a pampered lazy beaty of dubious repute to the person most powerfully respected in France next to her lover King Henry IV. In that short time her ork in reconciling the warring religious factions culminated in the 1598 religious olerance Edict of Nantes. She also played a major part in converting the King to at east nominal acceptance of Catholicism by which an uneasy national unity was achieved. Her constant diplomatic activities and skill as a negotiator were ended by her death in 1599 which also robbed her of her ultimate goal to be Queen of France. The author of this painstaking historical fragment has based his lively account of Gabrielle d'Estrees life and times on original contemporary documents which adds an authentic note to sympathetic biography. But although he catches the flavor of the period the characters of his chief protagonists remain curiously flat. As the first biography written in English to detail the meteoric career of Henry IV's mistress and her family, this has a certain special value.