This complex account of French and English personalities during the 100 Years War centers, somewhat erratically, on the Duke of Orleans. Both precocious and married at 11, he sought to avenge his father's murder and become a political power. But his early years of activity ended at Agincourt when at 20 he was imprisoned by the English for the next twenty-five years. During this time; Joan of Arc freed France and kings and countries rose and fell. Charles, though in jail, kept in contact with incendiary poems and messages to his people. On his release, he still had sufficient power to face down Charles VIII and his vicious son, start a new family, and write some fine poems (several translations are included). A moving story and a remarkable man- but the 25-year silence leaves an awkward gap in spite of some of the fillers such as fascinating contemporary reports on Joan of Arc. The material and the period are vividly interesting although the handling is on occasion disorganized.