Juana of Castile, the last queen of Spanish blood to inherit her country's throne, is an enigmatic figure, shrouded in lurid myth. Was she the bereft widow of legend who was driven mad by her loss, or has history misjudged a woman who was ahead of her time? In his stunning new novel, C.W. Gortner challenges centuries of myths about Queen Juana, unraveling the mystery surrounding her to reveal a brave, determined woman we can only now begin to fully understand.
The third child of Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand of Spain, Juana is born amidst her parents' ruthless unification of their kingdom, bearing witness to the fall of Granada and Columbus's discoveries. At the age of sixteen, she is sent to wed Philip, the Archduke of Flanders, as part of her parents' strategy to strengthen Spain, just as her youngest sister, Catherine of Aragon, is sent to England to become the first wife of Henry VIII. Juana finds unexpected love and passion with her handsome young husband, the sole heir to the Hapsburg Empire. At first she is content with her children and her life in Flanders. But when tragedy strikes and she inherits the Spanish throne, Juana finds herself plunged into a struggle for power against her husband that grows to involve the major monarchs of Europe. Besieged by foes on all sides, her intelligence and pride used as weapons against her, Juana vows to win her crown and save Spain from ruin, even if it could cost her everything . . . .
With brilliant, lyrical prose, author and historian C. W. Gortner conjures Juana through her own words, taking the reader from the somber majesty of Spain to the glittering and lethal courts of Flanders, France, and Tudor England. The Last Queen brings to life all the grandeur and drama of an incomparable era; and the singular humanity of this courageous, passionate princess whose fight to claim her birthright captivated the world.