I - The Young Life

Eleanor of Aquitaine : The Young Life

(Formerly titled Alienor : The Young Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine)

Book Brief


In The Young Life, Mark Beaulieu reveals the rich world of young Eleanor of Aquitaine (Alienor d'Aquitaine 1124-1204), who would twice become a queen – to Louis as Queen of France, and to Henry as Queen of England. This historical fiction weaves the never told story of young Alienor. Adventure, intrigue, mystery, and romance fill this first volume of an epic series bound to delight readers everywhere.

In a land that is unusually prosperous, the independent duchy of Aquitaine is surrounded by envious lords. Wealth affords what is nonexistent in medieval Europe children are allowed a period of play before adulthood at thirteen, females may receive an education, and toleration is shown for faiths, arts, and science. At the unique Fontevrault Abbey, started by Alienor's family, nuns live in balance with priests. Girls alongside boys learn the medieval skills of invention, poetic song, falconing, bird messaging, 'dictonic' speech, and rational thought. Encouraged to have curious minds, her young friends become attracted to what authorities will oppose: Alienor's pursuit of a personal code centered on love – not what everyone commonly understands as love, but her idea and practice of it. She astounds convention. How she comes to terms with love's many forces becomes her code. This code leads her to become one of the most powerful and enigmatic women of the middle ages.

Living in the shadow of her favored younger brother, Alienor adventures into the backwoods and rivers with new friends, until she makes a terrible discovery. A new friend's innocent father is thrown into a dungeon for a secret court of inquisition. It is the beginning of her story, and the Aquitaine – indeed the world – will never be the same.

On a larger stage, the outer world drawn to her wealth sees her lifestyle of fashion, beauty, music, and personal faith as alien and unholy. Alienor is a story of origins, of a woman who disdains undeserved privilege and brings her heart-felt values into a brutal world. The origin of modern justice, governance, romance and ascent to power are told by young knights, troubadours, counselors, priests, slaves, and a girl named Alienor.

In development for twelve years and based on the latest scholarly research, these stories significantly update earlier fictions about Eleanor of Aquitaine. Each character comes across challenges that many a young person faces and resolves them in exciting, unusual ways – leading to the creation of the Eleanor Code.


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