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Posted January 11, 2007
There are many ways to read and enjoy Sir Walter Scott's rich, brilliant ANNE OF GEIERSTEIN: OR THE MAIDEN OF THE MIST (1829). Think of the novel as Scott's view of Europe a few years before the discovery of the New World and the Reformation. Realize how little most of us know of the 1470s and early 1480s and why we should want to learn more. Read ANNE as well for its romance, the intrigue, the battles, the chivalry, the treachery. More up-to-date assessments include that ANNE OF GEIERSTEIN helps understand post-Civil War America and also the novel, THE DA VINCI CODE. *** ANNE OF GEIERSTEIN takes place on the eastern periphery of the end phase of the Wars of the Roses (1455 - 1485) when rival lines of the Plantagenet family -- House of Lancaster (Red Rose) and House of York (White Rose) -- fought for the throne of England. Disguised as merchants named Philipson, the exiled Lancastrian Earl of Oxford and his son Arthur attempt to rally support for their cause in northern Italy, then pass through Switzerland en route to Duke Charles the Bold of Burgundy. In Switzerland they are befriended by a mountain notable and his beautiful daughter Anne of Geierstein. The merchants then travel with the Swiss, who are part of a peace delegation, towards the court of Burgundy. En route the father has a frightening encounter with the hooded judges of a Secret Court which will ultimately condemn Charles the Bold to death.*** Charles promises his old comrade in arms Philipson that he will help the Lancastrians regain the throne of England if they and their deposed Queen Margaret of Anjou persuade her weak, art-loving 80-year old father Rene of Anjou to cede his realm of Provence to the greedy Duke Charles. But plans go astray when, in a series of three campaigns against the militarily underestimated, fiercely independent Swiss foot soldiers, Charles the Bold, Europe's richest ruler, is defeated and killed. *** Young Arthur Philipson is, as we slowly learn, of the noble de Vere family. So he is eligible to wed the equally noble Anne of Geierstein (whose wizardly grandmother may not have been human!). They settle with Arthur's parents in Switzerland but return in triumph to England after King Henry VII wins the throne of England and ends the Wars of the Roses. *** Scholars cite Walter Scott's Secret Court (vehme-gericht) as a source inspiring in December 1865 the handful of Scots-Americans who founded the Ku Klux Clan in Tennessee. And King Rene of Anjou is one of the string of Masters of the Priory of Sion in HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL. The Priory of Sion is an institution also important in THE DA VINCI CODE. -OOO-Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.