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Set in the French and Spanish courts of the eighteenth century, this novel is based on a true story about the fate of two young princesses caught in the intrigues and secrets of the moment Philippe d'Orléans, the regent of France, has a gangrenous heart--the result of a life of debauchery, alcohol, power, and flattery. One morning in 1721, he decides to marry eleven-year-old Louis XV to the daughter of Philippe V of Spain, who is only four. Orléans hopes this will tie his kingdom to Spain. But were Louis to die without begetting an heir--the likeliness of which is greatly increased by having a child bride--Orléans himself would finally be king. Orléans tosses his own daughter into the bargain, the twelve-year-old Mlle de Montpensier, who will marry the Prince of Asturias, the heir to the Spanish throne. The Spanish court enthusiastically agrees and arrangements are made. The two nations trade their princesses in a grand ceremony in 1722, making bonds that should end the historical conflict. Nothing turns out as expected.
A woman whose function it once was to read books aloud to Marie Antoinette is haunted by the memory of her last days at the French court of Versailles, when Louis XVI's magnificent palace succumbed to the irrepressible forces of revolution. Now exiled in Vienna, Madame Agathe-Sidonie Laborde looks back twenty-one years to the legendary opulence of Versailles and, overcome with nostalgia and remorse, discovers the full measure of her fascination with the Queen she served. Madame Laborde takes the reader within the palace, meticulously reconstructing the 14th, 15th, and 16th of July 1789feverish days when the servants have disappeared and many of the courtiers are fleeing. Versailles' miniature universe, sparkling with every outward appearance of happiness and beauty, is brilliantly juxtaposed with the chaos that erupts. We witness the unraveling of the palace's dawn-to-dusk ritual and the rising panic of the court as Versailles edges closer and closer to collapse. With the revolutionaries virtually at the gates of the palace, Madame Laborde herself flees the night of the 16th, escaping with members of the once-powerful de Polignac family. Transporting us to revolutionary France with the knowledge and insight of an historian and with the skill of a consummate storyteller, Thomas evokes this historical moment more powerfully than any historical analysis can.
Much has been written about the role of law in furthering development. More analysis and debate is needed to understand more fully the true nature of this role. The World Bank Legal Review collects much of this debate and analysis, contributed by scholars and practitioners from around the world. The subtitle of the volume, Legal Innovation and Empowerment for Development, focuses attention on how the law can respond to the challenges posed to development in a world slowly emerging from a protracted economic crisis. Innovation in law means new strategies and ways of thinking about what the law can do in the development realm. Empowerment can mean many things, such as how to place the law into the hands of the poor. The two concepts are linked by their relevance to the future of law as a force for development. This volume contains essays that examine legal innovations and efforts at empowerment worldwide, in individual countries and in the broader international system more generally. Contributions have been collected from scholars and practitioners from across the world. The World Bank Legal Review is an important contribution to the scholarship of law and development.
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