Reading for pleasure
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Henry IV
A French King

The terrible destiny of Henry the Fourth, the King they wanted dead.

A gripping tale.

 He is the King of France and of Navarre who had hoped to overcome dissentions and permit Catholics and Protestants to live together by signing the Edict of Nantes. Henri of Navarre, the Huguenot, converted to Catholicism in order to bring the alliance to fruition. A decision he paid for with his life: on Friday May 14, 1610, the exalted Catholic François Ravaillac stabbed the king in his coach.  In this fast-paced text, Max Gallo paints the portrait of Henry IV, the vigorous Bearn, great hunting enthusiast, unbeatable at jeu de paume, crazy about women and yet one who never ceased, using a combination of strength and clever negotiation, to consolidate the State and prevent France from falling into civil war.

In his narrative Max Gallo slips into the skin of Ravaillac. He is heard ruminating over his obsession and then closing in on the sovereign in order to deliver the final blow. The Queen, Marie de Medicis, cries over her husband for nine nights, and then she orders a butcher to inflict the worse possible tortures on Ravaillac.

On May 27, 1610 the feet and hands of the regicide are attached to four horses, his flesh is torn off with hot tongs and then “we whip the horses and they rear up, neighing”. In Paris the wild mob fights over the remains of Ravaillac’s body.

History will retain that this great King was a king of all French people, tireless apostle of tolerance and harmony.