Thursday, December 31, 2015

Weekly Geek! Domenico & Matthew

As a bit of background, Hugh de Clermont was killed along with the leadership of the Templars - it is unclear what name Hugh was operating under, but the connection can be made from the entries in the KoL ledgers.

On the evening of March 18, 1314 Jacques de Molay the Grand Master and Geoffrey de Charnay, the Preceptor of Normandy, were burned to death on an island in the Seine. Both had recanted their previous confessions, which had been obtained under torture. Before he succumbed to the flames,  de Molay is alleged to have sworn a curse on both Philip and the Pope (Clement V). Within a year, both were dead.   These daemons think the "curse" was named de Clermont.

The reason Gallowglass  won't set foot in France is because he blames the French king (Philip IV) and the Avignon papacy for his father's death.  The next pope wasn't much better...

 Now that the background is out of the way, onto Matthew and Domenico.  They were involved in the war which broke out in Ferrara in 1321 following the death of Azzo VIII d’Este which ultimately determined succession.   Azzo VIII was reputed be a piece of work - assassinating his father to gain the throne and buying his bride - Beatrice, the daughter of Charles II.  Dante did not hold a high opinion of him as reflected by the less that complimentary references in the Divine Comedy.

There were competing interests supporting different claims to the throne. Matthew was affiliated with the Ghibellines who opposed the temporal power (the political and secular governmental activity of the popes of the Roman Catholic Church) of the pope (Pope Clement V slaughtered of the Templars at the behest of the French king six years earlier).  It would serve the interests of the deClermonts and the KoL to limit the Church's influence in secular politics - keep in mind that the wealth and power of the Templars drew the attention of the Pope and was a factor in their downfall.   Domenico and the Venetians supported the claims of the illegitimate sons of Azzo -which would line the Venetians' pockets (you know Domenico - always the opportunist).  Meanwhile, the Pope (John XXII), who initially supported the claims of the legitimate sons, ultimately seized Ferrara for the Holy See and installed Robert d’Anjou as vicar general, who was essentially Pope's right hand.

Castle Este at Ferrara by Nycholas Ewstas
Feed your daemons:

The demise of the Templars:
Italy in the Middle Ages:
Avignon papacy:

P.S. If you have something you'd like us to explore on Weekly Geek, contact us! You may find your curiosities addressed on one of our future geekly posts!

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Monday, December 28, 2015

The Maven Daemon Takes Manhattan – Part I

There she is...The Big Apple!
We consider ourselves always learning – perpetual students, if you will.  So when an opportunity for a field trip presents itself, we take it!  This excursion took shape in the form a big apple – or rather the Big Apple!  (Sure we could talk about the apple, Diana’s unfortunate walk in the garden at Sept-Tours, but that’s another delve for another time.)  So, what does the All Souls Trilogy and New York City have in common?  A whole lot more than you think -- an incredible amount of items that are or could be in the de Clermonts’ – namely Matthew’s – possession are at some of the finest museums in Manhattan.

First, touchdown at La Gaurdia Airport – ala Matthew and Diana in A Discovery of Witches.  (First-class was the best we could do until Baldwin invites us to travel on his jet.)

“I didn’t wake until we landed at La Guardia…” ~ A Discovery of Witches (Truthfully, this Daemon hadn’t either.)

No time to waste – off to The Morgan Library and Museum1!
There are various exhibits on display throughout The Morgan Library and Museum (“ML&M”), but it was a mission to head straight for – you guessed it – the Library!  It is a Pierpont Morgan’s (aka J.P. Morgan, American financier and banker) 1906 library in a preserved state.  The Library is by far the largest and grandest of the rooms there. The walls reach to a height of thirty feet and are lined floor to ceiling with triple tiers of bookcases fashioned of bronze and inlaid Circassian walnut. (Tell us that doesn’t sound de Clermont-like?!)

The immediate sight of the East Room (“the Library”) at ML&M is breathtaking!  Although the de Clermonts have had centuries to amass loads of artifacts and valuables, this collection certainly reminded us of one that may meet the approval of Matthew, if not Phoebe!

One wall of the Pierpont Morgan’s 1906 library
What All Souls Trilogy and Matthew-like items were inside?  Let’s cut to the chase:

As in Matthew’s own library at Sept-Tours, there was a copy of the Gutenberg Bible on display.  (We’ll admit, Matthew is a bit more discreet!) The ML&M is the only institution in the world to own three copies of the Gutenberg Bible (one on vellum and two on paper).  Only around fifty copies - maybe 51 if you count Matthew’s ;) – exist today, when there were only around 160–180 copies ever produced in the 1450s!

In A Discovery of Witches, Diana remarks: “I absolutely refuse to treat a Gutenberg Bible as a reference book, Matthew.”  We feel you Diana!  The Morgan's copy is spectacularly preserved, but we feel like a whisper could force deterioration upon it.

Biblia Sacra Latina, Mainz: Johann Gutenberg and Johann Fust, 1455
This is the second volume of one of Morgan’s paper copies.
The image on the left shows the gilt edges of the Bible, and the right image shows a close-up of the text.
These are just a few Gutenberg images, but if you’d like to see ML&M’s own digital images of their Old Testament copy along with commentary on its history and significance, go here.

Moving along the room, there is a glass case that houses several brilliantly illuminated manuscripts.  Book of Hours anyone?  Right this way…

The Book of Hours is a Christian devotional book from the Middle Ages. Each manuscript is unique in one way or another but most share in common a collection of texts, prayers and psalms, often with appropriate decorations, for Christian devotion. Illumination or decoration is minimal in many examples, often restricted to decorated capital letters at the start of psalms and other prayers, but books made for wealthy patrons (like Queen Elizabeth I and possibly someone like Matthew de Clermont) were sometimes extremely lavish, with full-page miniatures.

Just one look at this illuminated manuscript reminded us of Diana examining Ashmole 782:  “The colors were luminous and strikingly well preserved. Artists had once mixed crushed stone and gems into their paints to produce such powerful colors. And the image itself had been drawn by someone with real artistic skill. ” ~ A Discovery of Witches


 Exhibit 1: The Book of Hours in Latin and French (Paris, France ca. 1460) Illuminated by a Follower of the Master Jean Rolin II
On the left you can see where the gilt in the illumination catches the light.  On the right you see the ornate clasp.
Exhibit 2: Book of Hours: Warwick-Psalter Hours, Sarum in Latin / England for Henry Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick 1430-45 with additions made in Ferrera, Italy 1482 by Alessandro Leoni
Exhibit #3:  Hours of Don Alfonso de Castile, Rome use in Latin / Spain for Don Alfonso (brother of Queen Isabella) ca. 1465-1475, from workshop of Juan de Carrión
As jaws continued to drop browsing continued, the spying of a certain book immediately brought Gallowglass to mind!

Only the museum can truly give the description justice, but many All Souls readers will giggle upon seeing “All For One! One For All!” (and then silently add… “and all that jazz.” aaaand maybe think of the less than polite term Gallowglass used to refer to the Musketeers.)

Striking Medieval and Renaissance books and manuscripts aren’t the only treasures in Mr. Morgan’s magnificent collection though.

Classical music plays (no pun intended!) across the All Souls Trilogy and most prominently in The Book of Life - so this Daemon was delighted to come across the sheet music and manuscript pages of Mozart, Brahms, and Beethoven on this excursion – all who have been mentioned or featured in the trilogy.

The Morgan Library's collection of classical, popular, and folk music includes autograph scores, composers' letters, printed music, and other printed materials. The Morgan houses the largest collection of Mahler manuscripts anywhere as well as substantial holdings of Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, Mozart, Schubert, and Richard Strauss. The collection spans six centuries and many countries.

“Stop thinking and listen,” he commanded. “It’s impossible to be tense around Mozart.” ~ A Discovery of Witches

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Sonata for violin and piano in F major, K. 376, 1781
(sample of music)
“There was an ancient stereo there and enough Brahms to muffle the lengthiest of conversations.” ~ The Book of Life

Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897) Symphony No. 2 in D Major, op 73, 1877
(sample music)
“Jack was invited to join Matthew and to bring his cello with him. He played Beethoven for hours on end, and not only did the music have positive effects on my husband, it unfailingly put my daughter to sleep as well.” ~ The Book of Life

Ludwig van Beethoven, Violin Sonata no. 10 in G Major. Autograph manuscript, 1815
(sample music)
Taking one more sweep over the room, there are books as far as the eye can see, but above the fireplace, there is a beautiful Renaissance wall hanging.  Weaving is the cornerstone of the All Souls Trilogy, and tapestries are mentioned in the literal and figurative senses -- especially in Shadow of Night.

This particular tapestry hangs above the mantelpiece on the east wall of the Library.  “This grand piece is titled “The Triumph of Avarice”, with a moralizing Latin inscription that translates, ‘As Tantalus is ever thirsty in the midst of water, so is the miser always desirous of riches.’ The tapestry belongs to a series depicting the Seven Deadly Sins, designed by Pieter Coecke van Aelst (1502–50).  It was later produced in a Brussels workshop."

Being Daemons, we like to take a flight of fancy now and again. Here’s how we fantasize it loosely tied to the All Souls series: A set of the Seven Deadly Sins panels was woven for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (Henry VIII’s chief advisor) to display at Hampton Court Palace.  We like to imagine that Sebastian St. Clair (who we hope to see in The Serpent's Mirror!) visited on occasion and may have taken a glimpse of it!  At the very least, we were certainly tempted to take a peek to see if any undiscovered telescopes or other anomalies were hiding behind it! ;)  (You just never know where Philippe sent Gallowglass on “errands”!)

The Triumph of Avarice tapestry
There are many more stunning artifacts and structures in the study, rotunda and other exhibits of the museum so if you are ever in the city, we highly recommend you visit the library and museum to see it in its entirety.  You can go on your own All Souls scavenger hunt (e.g. William Blake Collection incl. The Tyger, Crusader Bible, reliefs of antiquities, etc.).  Just as Shadow of Night closes with William Shakespeare, be sure to bid adieu to him before departing The Morgan Library and Museum.  Later, Will!

1. A quick history lesson “About” the Morgan Library and Museum: It is “A complex of buildings in the heart of New York City, The Morgan Library & Museum began as the private library of financier Pierpont Morgan (1837–1913), one of the preeminent collectors and cultural benefactors in the United States. As early as 1890 Morgan had begun to assemble a collection of illuminated, literary, and historical manuscripts, early printed books, and old master drawings and prints.”

Links to check out:
360° view of The Morgan Library (courtesy of Bruno Viégas de Barros on Instagram)

Until next time...

(Specifically, the Maven Daemon today!)

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Weekly Geek! Florence

Ludovico Sforza
Matthew’s Italian “escapades” as Philippe referred to them involved the Italian Wars of 1494 -98.   This interlude involved quite a cast of characters - the Borgia pope Alexander VI, his son Cesare Borgia, the Medici family, Fra Savonarola, and Ludavico Sforza  (daVinci's foremost patron).

Charles VIII of France, at the urging of Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, invaded Italy, initially to press his claim to the Kingdom of Naples.

The French stormed the Italian peninsula - taking over Mordano after a brutal siege - and set their sights on Florence.  Piero, the son of Lorenzo the Great, basically handed over some key fortifications and a big wad of cash, to save Florence from Mordano's fate.

This unrest gave Savonarola, the Dominican friar who had the bonfire of the vanities (it destroyed all but three Botticelli paintings), the leverage to convince the Florentines to overthrow the de Medici's and help the Piagnoni to power - it also antagonized the Borgia pope who was trying to keep a lid on Savonarola.  The Florentines soon learned that life in Savonarola's Florence was not what they hoped for.
Bonfire of the Vanities
It was not long after that the League of Venice was formed, which joined forces with the Pope and other anti French forces, including an alliance with Spain.  Charles soon retreated to France, leaving a garrison in Naples which was ultimately overrun.

Suffice it to say, Matthew would have been persona non grata in Florence just as Philippe had intimated, thanks to the mess that Charles VIII 's invading force left behind!

da Vinci's Last Supper was commissioned by Sforza

Time to feed those daemons!

P.S. If you have something you'd like us to explore on Weekly Geek, contact us! You may find your curiosities addressed on one of our future geekly posts!

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Bishop-Clairmont Family Trees & More...

For those of you who haven't had a chance to look at our website beyond the posts, we wanted to highlight a few items that could be helpful in your re-reads (or first-time reads) of the All Souls Trilogy (AST)

Have you ever just wanted a comprehensive graphic to see how everyone was tied to one another in AST?  Well, we can definitely attest to the value of visual aids!  From locations, to timelines, to charts they've helped us keep everything straight!  Here are some tools for you! (click images to enlarge)

On Matthew's side of the family:

Bishop-Clairmont on Matthew's side!
 On Diana's side of the family:

Bishop-Clairmont on Diana's side!
Special thanks goes to Maro Hogan, for creating the info graphics and allowing us to publish them for All Souls fans!

Also, we have our Daemon Guides available to give brief overviews and to help with comprehension of the overall story arc.  It's not a replacement for reading the series, but they will help in refreshing your memories as you move on from book to book!  You can find our Daemon guides -- >HERE

And if you don't feel like scrolling through all of our posts to find one in particular, we have made a MASTER POST LIST.  There you will find all of our posts categorized from guest blog posts, to giveaways, to our regular features and other pieces.  We like to keep things as organized as we can in the blog, and for us this made the most sense.  Hopefully it will help you navigate!

And don't forget our DOWNLOADS section, and ALL SOULS LINKS.  The downloads section contains documents from interviews with Deb to the family trees shown above, to printable versions of our Daemon guides!  All Souls Links will give you links to other sites in the fandom so you can see what's out there to explore!

All of these items can be found under our "Main Menu" on the left side of the site if you are on a laptop/desktop, or you can scroll through the mobile menu (if on your phone) right underneath the banner.

On the left is the menu you'll see on our full site - on the right is the mobile version of the menu.

Thanks for visiting us, and hopefully this will help you find what you are looking for when you are navigating our site! 

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ann Daniel Reports on Her Trip to Oxford!

We are so fortunate to have a wide swath of of followers and friends who are fans of the All Souls universe!  Today's post is from Ann, our guest blogger today, who was so gracious to share her adventures with us.  There are a LOT of pictures, so we will show some here on this post, then direct you to the full experience!  From Ann:
Bus ride to Oxford
We landed at Heathrow at 7:05 am on June 16 and headed straight for the bus to Oxford. Our introduction to England was this crusty bus driver, who yelled at me because I was not loading my suitcase fast enough. Then he yelled out the door at the passengers coming up behind us to “hurry your asses up or I’ll leave you!” He turned out to be a complete hoot ~ entertaining us the whole way to Oxford. His driving? Like being in a Washington, DC cab. A really big DC cab!

This is the lovely little B&B we stayed in. Our room and bath was in their basement, with a separate entrance. But we ate breakfast with the owners, Hoonie and Hugh. Hugh graduated from Exeter College, Oxford University and teaches there.   He was the quintessential English gentleman / professor.

Although it wasn't the Brown's it was a Brown's!
“Wordlessly he closed the car’s door behind me and opened the cafe door. I stood resolutely in place, waiting for him to enter. A gust of warm, humid air carried the smell of bacon fat and toasted bread. My mouth started to water.” ADOW p. 67. We had been awake for over 24 hours, but decided to take in some of Oxford as soon as we arrived. I wanted to eat at Brown’s Cafe in the Covered Market, where Diana and Matthew had breakfast together. Our hostess sent us to this Brown’s ~ a quite upscale restaurant ~ and by the time we registered that we were not in the right place, we had already been seated. Not wanting to be the rude Americans, we stayed. Jet lag. The mother of muddled thinking. The meal was delightful, however.

The Bridge of Sighs
“The vampire sat in the shadows on the curved expanse of the bridge than spanned New College Lane and connected two parts of Hertford College, his back resting against the worn stone of one of the college’s newer buildings and his feet propped up on the bridge’s roof.” ADOW, p. 27 I was awestruck to see the Bridge of Sighs in person. The beauty of Deb’s story is that she weaves what is real into her fiction. We took many photos from several angles, but this was the best. No tourists in sight. Just an Oxford don in his robes. And maybe a vampire up on the roof. 

The Tower of Five Orders
“My feet clattered against the linoleum floors and echoed against the stone walls as I sped through the reading room’s lattice gate, past the books guarded with velvet ropes to keep them from curious fingers, down the worn wooden stairs and into the enclosed quadrangle on the ground floor.” ADOW p. 21. The Tower of Five Orders in the Schools Quadrangle. It is so named because it is ornamented with the columns of each of the five orders of classical architecture, in ascending order ~ Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite.

Ann goes on to show us the statue of William Herbert, The Divinity School, The Sheldonion, the Ashmolean Museum, and much more!  It's a fascinating personal tour, that we were happy to virtually attend!  Go ahead!  Take the tour with Ann!

All photos provided by Ann Daniel (and husband, Lee!).  To see the photos in full resolution, click them to enlarge.

Click to Read Ann's Full Post...

Thank you, Ann!

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Friday, December 4, 2015

Happy Holidays - Giveaway!

“Phoebe had encouraged the entire family to think of gifts that were handmade or hand-me-down, which struck us all as both meaningful and practical.” ~The Book of Life

For our giveaway, that’s what we are doing.  We are offering a hand-me-down...or better, a well-loved copy of A Discovery of Witches to a lucky recipient!  And yes, it’s signed!  Great gift for first time readers of the story, people who have the ebook and would appreciate a signed physical copy, or people who have not had an opportunity to get a signed copy at all.  This one is special because it was loved before!  Deb inscribed it appropriately:

On the left is the copy of A Discovery of Witches, on the right is Diana's commonplace book.
That’s not all…we are including some other gifts to be loved exclusively by you!

From Shadow of Night, we are including a copy of Diana’s commonplace book (signed!)

From The Book of Life we are including Miriam’s t-Shirt: “Stand back, I’m going to try Science!”  See a close-up —> here

And to look forward to the future we are giving away a serpent’s mirror in anticipation of The Serpent’s Mirror!

To wrap it all up we are throwing in a Penguin tote bag.  Great place to tote your books, or all of those cool presents you will be giving and/or receiving this year!

The whole prize package!

This contest is open to everyone worldwide!  Good Luck!  Please read the Terms and Conditions at the end of this post.

Update!  Prize received!

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Monday, November 30, 2015

Weekly Geek! Which One is the Witch?

Catherine was always being left at home, which is most unpleasant for a wife.” She shot me a withering glance. “Henry’s whore was named after the goddess of the hunt, like you.”
“I wouldn’t have crossed Catherine de’ Medici.” I shook my head.
“The king’s mistress, Diane de Poitiers, was the dangerous one,” Ysabeau said darkly. “She was a witch.”
“Actually or metaphorically?” I asked with interest.
“Both,” Matthew’s mother said in a tone that could strip paint.

Although Ysabeau only makes a passing reference to it in A Discovery of Witches, the love triangle of Henry II, Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Médici deserves its own Weekly Geek for several reasons.  It's a story full of court intrigue, illicit love, and rumors of witchcraft; it may possibly be connected to The Serpent's Mirror; and finally, this Daemon just thinks it's a great story and a perfect fit for the All Souls universe.

Diane de Poitiers

Ysabeau's familiarity with all involved - especially her antipathy towards Diane - is especially intriguing, given the fact that rumors of witchcraft swirled around both women.  Maybe, if we're lucky, perhaps Ysabeau will explain herself further someday?  We hope!  Until then, we're left with the history books, as well as some well known novelizations of the story.   Daemon disclaimer: I was originally introduced to this story through The Serpent and the Moon by Princess Michael of Kent  and Courtesan by Diane Haeger so I tend to favor Diane over Catherine.

It takes three sides to make a triangle.  Shall we meet them?

Henry - The Second Son

Henry II  (born March 31, 1519, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, France—died July 10, 1559, Paris), king of France from 1547 to 1559.  The second son of Francis I and Claude of France, Henry was sent with his brother Francis (the Dauphin) as a hostage (in place of their father) to Spain in 1526 (he was seven) and did not return to France until 1530.  When the Dauphin died in 1536, Henry became heir to the throne.  Henry felt that the Spanish mistreated him during the four years he was a prisoner, and bore a lifelong grudge against both his father and Emperor Charles V (ruled from 1519 to 1556).  Henry first met Diane - a Lady of Honor to his mother Queen Claude - when he returned from Spain in 1530.  His father, King Francis I, asked the widow to instruct his son in courtly manners.  Henry and Catherine began a love affair when he was 19 years old, which lasted until Henry's death in 1559.

In October 1533 he wed Catherine de Médici (1519–1589) as part of an alliance with the Médici pope, Clement VII (reigned 1523–1534).  The Pope died soon after, ending the political value of the marriage.  The marriage also came under strain because it produced no children for the first ten years.  Henry and Catherine did eventually have seven that survived childhood.  When his older brother died in 1536, Henry became the Dauphin.  He ascended the throne 31 March 1547, after the death of his father.  Henry eventually died as a result of injuries suffered during a joust (whoops!) held as part of the celebration of the marriage of his son, Dauphin Francis and Mary, Queen of Scots.

The fatal tournament between Henry II and Montgomery (Lord of "Lorges")

Catherine - The Political Bride

Catherine Caterina de’ Médici (born April 13, 1519, died January 5, 1589), queen consort of Henry II of France (reigned 1547–59) and subsequently regent of France (1560–74).   She bore him 10 children, of whom 4 boys and 3 girls survived.  She also had a passionate interest in the tarot, consulted alchemists with philosophical questions, and astrologers for advice before taking major decisions (including Nostradamus).  Upon Henry's death, Catherine acted as regent for her teen-aged son.  Three of her sons were kings of France: Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III.  Their reigns were dominated by civil war fueled by the conflicts between the Catholics and Huguenots.  The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572  was purportedly ordered by Catherine.

Recumbent figures of Henry II and Catherine de Medici by Germain Pilon at Basilica of St. Denis

Diane - The Other Woman

Diane de Poitiers (1499-1566) was born into a family of wealth and influence.  Diane, who was very well educated and intelligent, was one of the most eligible young ladies at court.  Ironically, she had far more noble blood than Catherine!  At the age of fifteen she was married to Louis de Brézé, Seigneur d’Anet and a grandson of Charles VII, who was thirty nine years her senior.  Her husband died in 1531, leaving her a very wealthy widow!  She returned to court after a two year mourning period, and became a friend and confidante of Henry, whom she was instructing in courtly manners (and other stuff, we imagine...).  Francis' mistress, Ann, was threatened by Diane's beauty and the esteem the King held her in.  She began circulating rumors (of course...) that Diane's enduring beauty was the result of witchcraft.  It was around that time that Diane and Henry's relationship evolved and she was eventually promoted to his official mistress (yes, there was such a thing!).  The rumors of witchcraft died down, but just like it is in present time the rumors never completely disappeared.  Once Henry became king, Diane remained his most trusted confidante - almost a co-ruler.  Many called her the brains behind the throne, and eventually she was the official governess to Henry's children by Catherine de Médici.  Many testaments to their partnership remain - from their combined monogram on the Louvre itself to painting celebrating Diane's beauty and the architectural masterpieces in which they shared their lives.

Diane at Chenonceau
de Clermont Connections?

Basically, two of the most powerful men in Christendom were involved in marital turmoil and romantic travails concurrently, and the players in these domestic dramas crossed paths.   It makes one wonder how many de Clermonts crossed their paths.  Anne and Mary Boleyn were present in the Court of Francois I at the same time as Diane was Lady of Honor to Queen Claude.  Diane and her husband also attended the Field of Cloth of Gold, where she met Henry VIII.  Did Diane meet Matthew in his guise of Sebastian St. Clair during that time?  And while it was after Henry and Diane's time - there is the St. Bartholomew's day massacre that cemented Matthew and Philip Sidney's friendship.   Hmmmm....

Field of Cloth of Gold

As always, here's a little something to feed your own personal daemons:

Henry and Diane in words and art:


Field of Cloth of Gold:

The French War of Religion:

P.S. If you have something you'd like us to explore on Weekly Geek, contact us! You may find your curiosities addressed on one of our future geekly posts!  If you enjoy our Weekly Geeks and/or our other regular features, you can subscribe and have our posts come straight to your inbox.  No spam, promise!  No post, no email.  Simple as that, and you can unsubscribe at any time!

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