Set in a period of invasion, military conflict, social and political chaos perpetrated by the Tudor conquest of Ireland, the story of Eleanor, Countess of Desmond recounts the heroic efforts of a woman to protect her family against insurmountable odds.
Aristocratic, educated, intelligent and able, Lady Eleanor Butler’s destiny was as a wife and mother. But marriage to Garret FitzGerald, the powerful Earl of Desmond, hurls her headlong into a maelstrom of invasion, rebellion, intrigue, appalling cruelty, double-dealing, confiscation plantation, famine, social and political meltdown, as she and her husband become embroiled in a struggle to the death against the formidable, Machiavellian government of Queen Elizabeth I of England.
Enduring imprisonment, exile, poverty, hunger and deprivation, her only son held hostage in the Tower of London, her mission to save the House of Desmond, her husband, her children and herself from annihilation becomes Eleanor’s obsession and for which she will sacrifice anything, including herself. When all seems lost, like some latter-day phoenix, she rises, time after time, to bravely confront each new challenge.
The life of Eleanor, Countess of Desmond is the story of the triumph of the human spirit against the most horrific adversity.
In this vigorous and deeply moving biography that has all the constituents of a Shakespearean tragedy, sourced from primary contemporaneous manuscripts, including the Countess of Desmond’s own letters, Anne Chambers, author of the bestselling Granuaile, vividly brings the life of this neglected heroine to light against the backdrop of one of the most convoluted and traumatic periods in Irish history.
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About the Author
Anne Chambers is a bestselling biographer, novelist and screen writer. Her biographies include Adorable Diva: Margaret Burke Sheridan; Ranji: Maharajah of Connemara; Granuaile: Grace O’Malley – Ireland’s Pirate Queen; At Arm’s Length: Aristocrats in the Republic of Ireland; Sea Queen of Ireland; The Geraldine Conspiracy; Finding Tom Cruise; and Shadow Lord – Theobald Bourke: Son of the Pirate Queen. Her books have been made into radio and TV drama-documentaries for Discovery Channel, Learning Channel, RTÉ and have been translated and published abroad. She has appeared regularly on radio and TV programmes, most recently on the BBC’s popular series Who Do You Think You Are, on Nationwide RTÉ 1 and RTÉ Lyric FM. She was short-listed for the GPA Irish Book Awards (biography) and for the 2004 Irish Hennessy Literary Awards (short story).
She holds an MA in History from the National University of Ireland and is a member of the Irish Writers Union and the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild.
Over the years Anne’s name has become synonymous with Grace O'Malley. Her biography of the Pirate Queen has become the inspiration for documentary film makers, composers and writers from a range of creative disciplines worldwide, as well as for students in all educational levels, both in Ireland and abroad.