Thursday, January 13, 2022


Please join me in congratulating Lara Byrne on the publication of her debut novel, Lotharingia: Charlemagne's Heir! I had the pleasure of helping Lara design the cover. Here's the book description:

From the royal halls of Germany to the papal Curia, to the walled cities, mighty fortresses, and rolling hills of Central Italy, Lotharingia is a rare journey through the characters and events that convulsed the Holy Roman Empire at the dawn of the second millennium.


After a long-held feud has claimed the men in her family, Matilde prepares to succeed her father as margrave of Tuscany. A descendant of Charlemagne, heiress to the most prestigious relics in Christendom, and a trained warrior, she could comfortably rule on her own. To her dismay, the Church will support her extraordinary claim to power only if she accepts a traditional role and marries the Duke of Lotharingia - a man who fills her with dread.

Despite her formidable mother's diplomatic nous and mysterious relics of the Holy Blood, Matilde's efforts to extricate herself from her betrothal are crushed by the intrigues of the all-seeing papal archdeacon Ildebrando.


Across the Alps, the late emperor's son, King Heinrich, has come of age, in a court rife with passions and treasonous ambitions. Resenting the bride chosen for him, he stuns his subjects and Rome with a defiant request to divorce. Ildebrando shatters his hopes. When, after a chance meeting, Heinrich rescues Matilde from her abusive husband, friendship blossoms into forbidden love. If their sin is discovered, the Church may strike them down with excommunication, political and personal ruin. Unbeknown to Matilde and Heinrich, the stakes are even higher: Charlemagne's prophecy is about to come true.

In the 11th century, Countess Matilde of Tuscany was the most famous woman in Western Christendom, a trailblazer who defied the gender expectations of her age to become the most powerful prince of the Holy Roman Empire for two generations. Exploiting the gaps and contradictions in medieval chronicles, Lotharingia weaves history and fiction into an alternative account of the world and challenges that shaped her youth, as she grappled with the constraints of femininity in her quest for self-definition, power, and love.

Lotharingia is available now in ebook and print editions on Amazon. Add it to your shelves on Goodreads, and visit Lara's website for her historical blog posts and a sneak peek at the prequel to Lotharingia.

Need a cover designer?
Email me anytime to chat about your project!