The Last Duel by Eric Jager
Length: 256 pages
First Published: 2004
The gripping true story of the “duel to end all duels” in medieval France that pits a knight against a squire accused of violating the knight’s beautiful young wife, soon to be a major motion picture.
In the midst of the devastating Hundred Years’ War between France and England, Jean de Carrouges, a Norman knight fresh from combat in Scotland, finds his wife, Marguerite, accusing squire Jacques Le Gris of brutally raping her. A deadlocked court decrees a “trial by combat” that also leaves Marguerite’s fate in the balance. For if her husband loses the duel, she will be put to death as a false accuser.
While enemy troops pillage the land, and rebellion and plague threaten the lives of all, Carrouges and Le Gris meet in full armor on a walled field in Paris. What follows is a fierce duel before a massive crowd that includes the teenage King Charles VI, during which both combatants are wounded—but only one fatally.
Based on extensive research in Normandy and Paris, The Last Duel brings to life a colorful, turbulent age and three unforgettable characters caught in a fatal triangle of crime, scandal, and revenge. The Last Duel is at once a moving human drama, a captivating detective story, and an engrossing work of historical intrigue with themes that echo powerfully centuries later.
About Eric Jager
Eric Jager is an American literary critic and a specialist in medieval literature. He is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of the book The Last Duel.