(The Queen’s Diamond). Intrigue and passion surround a gift to the new queen at the court of Felipe II of Spain in this fast-paced historical novel. Isabel de Valois is duty-bound to leave her home in France at just thirteen years old and travel to Spain to meet her husband, the severe Felipe II, to whom she had been promised in a political marriage to seal the peace between the two countries. The most powerful monarch in the world longs for a healthy heir to his crown and tries to win the love of the young girl with the most precious of gifts –El Estanque– a magnificent diamond cut especially for her and the most valuable item in the crown jewels. Nevertheless, the young queen still feels the loneliness and the desolation of the cold rooms of the Alcázar in Toledo, and later, in Madrid. The rigidity of the court suffocates her joy for life and her only consolation is the handsome Juan de Nápoles, custodian of the diamond. Meanwhile, a mysterious woman covets the precious stone and the power that it represents in the court of the Austrias. Mari Pau Domínguez’s first historical novel combines an ease of style with a solid account of this fascinating episode in the sixteenth century. The intrigues and passions of the plot leave the characters no room to breathe from the first page right up to the unexpected ending.