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The Queen's Prophet

The Queen's Prophet

Inspired by Velázquez’s baroque masterpiece, Las Meninas, The Queen’s Prophet is an imagined account of the dwarfess Maribarbola of Spain (featured prominently in Velázquez’s painting) and her struggle for survival and self-determination at a time when dwarfs were kept by aristocracy as... more

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Overview

Inspired by Velázquez’s baroque masterpiece, Las MeninasThe Queen’s Prophet is an imagined account of the dwarfess Maribarbola of Spain (featured prominently in Velázquez’s painting) and her struggle for survival and self-determination at a time when dwarfs were kept by aristocracy as pets, prophets, and good luck charms.

When the Countess of Walther dies at her German estate, her loyal dwarfess Maria-Barbara is forced to work as a prophet for a traveling magician, who betrays her by selling her to the Queen of Spain. At the royal court in Madrid, Mari finds herself in a bizarre, enchanted world, a society culturally splendid but intellectually isolated. There she becomes Maribarbola, prophet to the Queen, and, her survival at stake, endeavors to outsmart the Spaniards.

Mari's wits and loyalties are tested as she becomes embroiled in palace intrigue alongside the politically embattled Queen. When Mari's carefully schemed prophecies dazzle all of Spain, she and the Queen climb to dizzying heights of power, a place as intoxicating as it is dangerous. But even as Mari survives and thrives at the Spanish court, the loss of identity she suffers from living a lie makes her question whether she is really surviving at all.

Dawn Patitucci has lived her entire life in the Chicago area and is a long-time college professor in computer science. She is a Germanophile, a power-tool-wielding handywoman, and an orange male cat...more

Reviews

The Queen’s Prophet offers masterful storytelling, memorable characters, and an imaginative depiction of a world that is as layered and enthralling as the Velázquez painting the novel brings to vivid life.

Deborah Davis, author of Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X

Impeccably researched, The Queen’s Prophet offers a rare glimpse into an age that was at once colorful, magical, and beautiful but also brutal and violent—a world few people today can begin to imagine, but wonderfully and vividly rendered by the author. The reader is drawn into a world of passions, loyalties, betrayals and ruthless court intrigue filled with twists and surprises. In Mari we have a heroine who is unique, sympathetic, strong, and we pull for her all the way. An impressive debut.

New York Times best-selling author, Barbara Wood

The Queen's Prophet is an extraordinary reenactment of the life of Maribarbola, dwarf-prophet of Mariana, the wife-niece of Felipe IV of Spain. This captivating tale, written in elegant and sumptuous prose, is an exquisite portrayal of court life in a well-rendered historical fiction, one that kept me turning pages into the wee hours, wanting to read the conclusion yet sorrowful to know it would soon end.

Nina Romano, The Secret Language of Women, Lemon Blossoms, and In America

Mari is a sympathetic protagonist, and Patitucci does a good job of depicting the precarious, often heartbreaking, existence of dwarves in the 1600s. The court politics are fascinating, as are many of the players, especially fellow court dwarf Nicolas. Inspired by the life of the dwarf Maribáribola, depicted in Velázquez's masterpiece Las Meninas, this debut novel will likely appeal to fans of Philippa Gregory and the HBO series Game of Thrones.

Library Journal