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Cosimo I de' Medici wearing the red lily crown

The Red Lily Crown

My next book, which is scheduled for the first half of 2014, has had a working title of The Alchemist Prince, because it is set in the court of Francesco I de’ Medici, historically known to have been obsessed with alchemy. However, my US publishers asked for a different title, and after considering dozens of possibilities, we came up with The Red Lily Crown.

Cosimo I de' Medici wearing the red lily crown

The red lily—a red fleur-de-lys—has been the heraldic symbol of Florence since the 1200s, and still is. When Cosimo I de’ Medici (Francesco’s father) managed to coax (or bribe) the pope into creating him the grand duke of Tuscany, he had the most outrageous crown made for himself, with a huge red fleur-de-lys in the front and seven red lilies around the rays, crammed in among all the jewels. At right is a portrait of him wearing it.

The crown with its red lilies is a symbol of ducal power in Florence, and really, that’s what everyone in the story is either angling for or struggling against. The word “red” evokes passion, fire and blood, and the story has a lot of all three. So The Red Lily Crown really does fit the book.

However, at the moment it does look as if the book is going to remain The Alchemist Prince in the UK, and that’s great, too, because Francesco, with his dark sadness, his malevolence, his vengefulness and his power, is not exactly the hero (or even really an anti-hero), but he is certainly the primary moving force of the story. I just want everyone to know that it’s the same book with two different titles!

4 Comments

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  • Allison Macias

    I can’t wait!!! The de Medici family is so interesting!!

  • elizabeth

    Hi, Allison–thanks for commenting! I only wish the book could come out sooner, but it’s my own fault for taking longer to write it. :)

  • Jill Taylor

    I am so looking forward to this book! The Alchemist prince sounds fascinating and I can’t wait to get my hands on the book.

    I must tell you how much I loved The Flower Reader: I was intrigued by its title and I am addicted to historical novels and particularly this era. I was spellbound from the beginning. What a fantastic concept. It is rare for me to find a book that I really don’t want to put down and this was one such. I was engrossed from start to finish; the detail of the inner workings of Mary of Scotland’s court, the intrigue- fantastic. I was desperate to read on, yet reluctant to finish the book at the same time. Who could ask for more?

    I am now reading The Second Duchess and loving it just as much, though differently: it is so compelling and so rich in detail, the characters drawn so well [as in The Flower Reader] that I can see them in my mind’s eye. However will I wait till 2014?

  • elizabeth

    Hi, Jill!

    Thank you so much for stopping by and posting… you have certainly made my day. :) I’m delighted that you enjoyed the books. If you haven’t already come across the link, there’s a free short story available from the main page of my blog, set in the world of The Flower Reader.

    All my best to you, Elizabeth.