“It is as if Chen has crept inside a statue and breathed a soul into it, re-creating Joan of Arc as a woman for our time.”—Hilary Mantel, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Booker Prize winner Wolf Hall
Girl. Warrior. Heretic. Saint? From the acclaimed author of Mary B comes a stunning, secular reimagining of the epic life of Joan of Arc.
1412. France is mired in a losing war against England. Its people are starving. Its king is in hiding. From this chaos emerges a teenage girl who will turn the tide of battle and lead the French to victory, becoming an unlikely hero whose name will echo across the centuries.
In Katherine J. Chen’s hands, the myth and legend of Joan of Arc is transformed into a flesh-and-blood young woman: reckless, steel-willed, and brilliant. This meticulously researched novel is a sweeping narrative of her life, from a childhood steeped in both joy and violence, to her meteoric rise to fame at the head of the French army, where she navigates the perils of the battlefield and the equally treacherous politics of the royal court. Many are threatened by a woman who leads, and Joan draws wrath and suspicion from all corners, while her first taste of fame and glory leaves her vulnerable to her own powerful ambition.
With unforgettably vivid characters, transporting settings, and action-packed storytelling, Joan is a thrilling epic, a triumph of historical fiction, as well as a feminist celebration of one remarkable—and remarkably real—woman who left an indelible mark on history.
Katherine J. Chen is the author of the novel Mary B. Her work has been published in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, and the historical fiction anthology Stories from Suffragette City. She received her MFA from Boston University, where she was a senior teaching fellow and awarded the Florence Engel Randall Fiction Prize.
“Joan brings one of history's most iconic heroines to life.”—The Daily Beast
“This story is meticulously researched and skillfully told. In Katherine J. Chen’s capable hands, Joan becomes fully flesh and achingly real.”—Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Lost Friends
“Measured, austere, profoundly physical—I loved it.”—Jo Baker, bestselling author of Longbourn
“In Chen’s transporting prose, you will meet a towering new Joan of Arc, one of amazing physical strength, kindness, loyalty, and endurance.”—Sena Jeter Naslund, New York Times bestselling author of Ahab’s Wife, Four Spirits, and Abundance
“An epic novel with the mythic power of a fairy tale . . . gripping, resonant, and illuminating.”—Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and The Exiles
“This Joan is of the earth—scrappy and strong, resilient and curious. . . . An ambitious, thrilling novel, rich with captivating detail.”—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Magnolia Palace
“Beautifully written and confidently told, this is a story of how feminine strength can change the world.”—Megan Chance, bestselling author of A Splendid Ruin
“With Joan, Chen has created nothing short of a masterpiece, a wholly original novel that inspires one’s mind and awakens one’s soul.”—Alyson Richman, USA Today and internationally bestselling author of The Lost Wife
“Visceral and piercing—I was blown away.”—Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post
“A glorious, sweeping novel . . . richly imagined, poignant, and inspiring.”—Jennifer Saint, internationally bestselling author of Ariadne
“When you look up the term ‘historical fiction’ in the dictionary, it should say, simply, Read Katherine J. Chen.”—Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Kaiser’s Web
“Chen has stunningly summoned another time and place.”—M. J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Tiara
“Making [Joan of Arc] real requires imagination and empathy, and Chen brings both to the task.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Revolutionary . . . Chen masterfully transforms the two-dimensional martyr into a multifaceted woman and warrior.”—Booklist (starred review)
“[A] good choice for historical fiction readers who are curious for a unique perspective on the saint, one which may serve as an entry point to learn more about her life.”—Library Journal
“For readers who love Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy, Joan offers . . . an immersive evocation of a character whose name everyone knows, all these centuries later, but whom, perhaps, none of us knows at all.”—BookPage