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Head of Zeus
The Burgundians
The Burgundians: A Vanished Empire by Bart Van Loo, translated by Nancy Forest-Flier

A masterful history of the great dynasty of the Netherlands' Middle Ages.

'A sumptuous feast of a book' The Times, Books of the Year
'Thrillingly colourful and entertaining' Sunday Times
'A thrilling narrative of the brutal dazzlingly rich wildly ambitious duchy' Simon Sebag Montefiore
5 stars! Daily Telegraph
'A masterpiece' De Morgen
'A history book that reads like a thriller' Le Soir

At the end of the fifteenth century, Burgundy was extinguished as an independent state. It had been a fabulously wealthy, turbulent region situated between France and Germany, with close links to the English kingdom. Torn apart by the dynastic struggles of early modern Europe, this extraordinary realm vanished from the map. But it became the cradle of what we now know as the Low Countries, modern Belgium and the Netherlands. This is the story of a thousand years, a compulsively readable narrative history of ambitious aristocrats, family dysfunction, treachery, savage battles, luxury and madness. It is about the decline of knightly ideals and the awakening of individualism and of cities, the struggle for dominance in the heart of northern Europe, bloody military campaigns and fatally bad marriages. It is also a remarkable cultural history, of great art and architecture and music emerging despite the violence and the chaos of the tension between rival dynasties.

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * Medieval History
14 Apr 2022 * 624pp * £20 * 9781803286969
REVIEWS
'Bart Van Loo does something extremely difficult; he brings to life an illusion of a state in an unfamiliar world. And he does this with such verve and energy that you very nearly believe it'
Literary Review
'A thrilling narrative of the brutal dazzlingly rich wildly ambitious duchy that was the most advanced and sophisticated economy and the most extravagant flashy court of its time. Filled with flamboyant murderous and debauched dukes, courtesans, courtiers and maniacs, it is a total pleasure to read'
Simon Sebag Montefiore, Aspects of History, Books of the Year
'In this perky popular history, a bestseller on mainland Europe, Bart Van Loo traces the steady rise and sudden end of the Burgundians, sprinkling his narrative with many entertaining asides'
The Times
Bart van Loo is in top form. The Burgundians reads like a train and hits you like a sledgehammer. A masterpiece... He does not try to be a wise man or a moralist. What he does make clear is that that the history of early Dutch unification is one that came about both through excessive bloodshed and praiseworthy magnanimity. Mission accomplished'
De Morgen
'History told – and well told, too – for those who value narrative at least as much as the finicky details of economics or treaty-making'
Daily Telegraph
To narrate the legendary story of the dukes of Burgundy, you need a learned and visionary guide like Bart Van Loo... A masterful work'
Le Figaro
'Suitably epic'
BBC History Magazine
A sparkling history of the origins of the Low Countries... Van Loo arouses interest in the past among thousands of readers, spectators and listeners in an inimitable way'
The Low Countries
'A pleasure to read from start to finish. How fortunate that Van Loo is not just a historian but also a writer. Truly spectacular!'
Neue Züricher Zeitung
The political and the personal, economics and culture, belief and violence, success and failure, major developments and spicy details – it's all there. The Burgundians expertly draws on the latest scientific insights, but is also told with lightness and elegance'
Frits van Oostrom
'The formidable saga of our Burgundian origins. Over 650 pages that read like a great political adventure novel, a Game of Thrones soap opera where everything is true'
La Libre Belgique
'Full of cliff hangers and moving passages. Irresistible'
Herman Pleij
'Bart van Loo is back and emerges once again as a true storyteller. Van Loo is the perfect guide through the past. It is as if we are there'
De Standaard
'A history book that reads like a thriller'
Le Soir
'Colourful and multidimensional: a Belgian master storyteller'
Kulturradio, SWR2
Narrative history of the highest level... The author conjures the tastes, smells, colours and feelings of the past'
Kulturradio, WDR 3
'Thrillingly colourful and entertaining'
Sunday Times
'Most of us think of wine when we hear the word 'Burgundy', but Bart Van Loo uncovers a lost empire of mad dukes, strange delicacies and great wealth'
The Times, Books of the Year
'A worthwhile and satisfying read'
Sunday Independent
A sumptuous feast of a book... Van Loo recreates the world of Ghent and Bruges in loving detail, a bustling, blood-soaked landscape of quays, merchants and money changers'
The Times, '21 best history books of 2021'
'Lively, anecdotal unpicking of this fascinating but nebulous entity'
New Statesman
'Belgian historian Bart Van Loo tells its story in 'rollicking' style'
The Week
Author
Bart Van Loo
Bart Van Loo
Bart Van Loo has developed a rare twin talent over the years. While drawing big crowds in the theatre, he is also the author of the universally praised France Trilogy and the bestseller Chanson: A sung history of France. The Burgundians is the first of his books to be translated into English.
Translator

Nancy Forest-Flier

Nancy Forest-Flier
Nancy Forest-Flier grew up in a Dutch-American milieu in the United States and studied English literature and creative writing at Hope College, Michigan before settling in the Netherlands in 1982. She works as a freelance English-language editor and Dutch-English translator.
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