Blood Royal by Eric Jager

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline: I wonder how many less murders we would have if people kept it in their pants?

Quick synopsis: The murder of the Duke of Orleans, Louis I, in 1407.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like: This murder wasn’t very straightforward because a lot of people wanted to kill Louis. Mostly because he had a penchant for sleeping with people’s wives.

Fun Fact for History Nerds: Oh, one of those wives he might have been sleeping with? His brother’s wife, Queen Isabeau.

My Take: Historical true crime is always an interesting subject. However, Blood Royal is the first book that highlighted something which is common sense, but you don’t think about.

Medieval cities used to get really dark at night. There is no light, and you can’t have a fire going because you would easily burn down all of the buildings which were made primarily of wood. Finally, there is no police force as we know it today. If you went out after dark, you probably wouldn’t even see your murderer coming. On top of that, no one would be investigating in any meaningful way.

With that backdrop, here comes the story of the king’s brother being murdered after leaving from seeing the queen. At night. Louis had a lot of lovers and it made for a lot of potential killers.

The chief of police, Guillaume de Tignonville, is tasked with finding the murderer. Jager shows just how far from today’s methods 1407 was and yet, Tignonville ends up being pretty effective considering the circumstances. The ending is pretty straightforward but not without drama.

Verdict: A really fun book. If you like historical true crime, then this is right up your alley.

If You Liked This Try:

  • Eric Jager, The Last Duel
  • Hallie Rubenhold, The Five
  • Thomas Asbridge, The Greatest Knight
  • Joel Harrington, The Faithful Executioner
  • Holly Tucker, City of Light, City of Poison
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Blood Royal by Eric Jager
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