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"It's so gratifying to read about those rare heroes whose strength of vision enables them to ignore the almost overpowering messages of their own historical period... Pope Joan has all the elements one wants in a historical drama--love, sex, violence, duplicity and long-buried secrets. Cross has written an engaging book." -Los Angeles Times
“A fascinating and moving account of a woman’s determination to learn, despite the opposition of family and society. Cross vividly creates the 9th century world…Above all, she brings to life a brilliant, compassionate woman who has to deny her gender to satisfy her desire for learning. Highly recommended." -Library Journal (starred review)
“Cross makes an excellent, entertaining case that in the Dark Ages, a woman sat on the papal throne… Lavishly plotted, the book brims with fairs, weddings, and stupendous banquets, famine, plague, and brutal battles…A colorful, richly imagined novel." -Publishers Weekly
”Pope Joan reveals the harsh realities of the Dark Ages. Violence is rife in the government, church and home; logic and reason are shunned as “dangerous ideas” and women are considered useful only as men’s servants and child bearers. The novel explores the extraordinary life of an independent, intelligent and courageous woman who overcomes oppression and ascends to the highest level of religious power…Cross’ masterful use of anticipation, as well as the sweeping historical landscape of the story, keep “Pope Joan” intriguing…an exciting journey through history as it’s being made." -San Francisco Chronicle
“Eloquently written and spellbinding in its account of this legendary figure.”
-The Arizona Republic
“The life of an intelligent, headstrong woman in 9th-century Europe, the kind of woman who might have dared such an adventure in an era when obedience was a woman’s most admired trait…Cross succeeds admirably, grounding her fast-moving tale in a wealth of rich historical detail.”
-Orlando Sentinel
“A story of passion and faith--and a reminder that some things never change, only the stage and players do.”
-Ft. Worth Morning Star Telegram
"Stormy early Church history, Viking and Saracen raids, the collapse of the Carolingian empire, and a heroine who would rather give up everything than live without learning--this is the stuff of grand entertainment. The well researched background gives a real sense of time and place to this splendid tale of the legendary "lost" female Pope." -Judith Merkle Riley
"A vivid and compelling re-creation of the Dark Ages" -Booklist
“A remarkable woman uses her considerable intellect--and more than a little luck--to rise from humble origins to become the only female Pope, in this breakneck adventure.” -Kirkus Reviews
"Donna Cross's Pope Joan brings the savage ninth century vividly to life in all its alien richness. An enthralling, scholarly historical novel."
-Rebecca Frasier
"A fine historical novel capturing the ninth century in all its complexity and illuminating a woman whom history deliberately chose to forget."
-Karleen Koen
“A page-turner!” -Glamour Magazine

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