By Andrea Camilleri
From the author of the Inspector Montalbano series comes the remarkable account of an exceptional woman who rises to power in 17th century Sicily and brings about sweeping changes that threaten the iron-fisted patriarchy, before being cast out in a coup after only 27 days.
Sicily, April 16 1677. From his deathbed, Charles III’s viceroy, Anielo de Guzmán y Carafa, marquis of Castle Rodrigo, names his wife, Doña Eleonora, as his successor. Eleonora de Moura is a highly intelligent and capable woman who immediately applies her political acumen to heal the scarred soul of Palermo, a city afflicted by poverty, misery, and the frequent uprisings they entail.
The Marquise implements measures that include lowering the price of bread, reducing taxes for large families, re-opening women’s care facilities, and establishing stipends for young couples wishing to marry—all measures that were considered seditious by the conservative city fathers and by the Church. The machinations of powerful men soon result in Doña Eleonora, whom the Church sees as a dangerous revolutionary, being recalled to Spain. Her rule lasted 27 days—one cycle of the moon.
Based on a true story, Camilleri’s gripping and richly imagined novel tells the story of a woman whose courage and political vision is tested at every step by misogyny and reactionary conservatism.