Two women from different worlds in Renaissance France cross paths in a way that changes both their lives.
One is Marguerite de Navarre, a King's sister.
Powerful, privileged and widely admired, Marguerite must nonetheless marry where she is told to, regardless of her feelings, and - despite the thrilling new ideas of religious reform causing upheaval in France - must toe the line for the good of her brother's kingdom.
Ever a risk-taker, she does what she can to protect her reformist friends. But she has always loved to write, and when disaster strikes in her personal life, she picks up her pen - but some of what she writes will get her into trouble.
The other is a cast out, itinerant child who longs to be a printer like her late father. Jehane goes dressed as a male by the name of Josse, at first for safety's sake and then by choice, fending off the risks of being alone, unprotected and born female, poor but trying to live in freedom.
Eventually Josse joins a group of printers and publishers in Paris. Despite her suspicion of men, she comes to idolise one among them.
But can they be true friends, and can she share her whole self with him?
Long before #MeToo, women were telling their unspeakable stories, and these two, both rich and poor, are no exception.
They come together in the most unexpected of ways.
In The Queen's Apprenticeship (Transit Lounge, $32.99, November 1) one of our very best writers brings to fully realised and magnificent life a world of drama and intrigue.
Author Tracy Ryan was born in Western Australia and grew up there as part of a large family.
She has taught literature, creative writing and film at various universities in Australia and in England, and worked as a bookseller, editor and translator.
She currently teaches fiction writing at the University of Tubingen, Germany.
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