Italy, 1453. Seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is brilliant, gorgeous—and accused of heresy. Cast out of his religious order for using the new science to question old superstitious beliefs, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurrences across Europe, in this year—the end of days.
Isolde is a seventeen-year-old girl shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her father’s estate. As the nuns walk in their sleep and see strange visions, Isolde is accused of witchcraft—and Luca is sent to investigate her, but finds himself plotting her escape.
Despite their vows, despite themselves, love grows between Luca and Isolde as they travel across Europe with their faithful companions, Freize and Ishraq. The four young people encounter werewolves, alchemists, witches, and death-dancers as they head toward a real-life historical figure who holds the boundaries of Christendom and the secrets of the Order of the Dragon.
The first in a series, this epic and richly detailed drama is grounded in historical communities and their mythic beliefs. It includes a medieval map of Europe that will track their journey; and the interior will include relevant decorative elements as well as an interior line illustration. And look for a QR code that links to a note from the author with additional, detailed information about the setting and the history that informed the writing. With Philippa Gregory’s trademark touch, this novel deftly brings the past—and its salacious scandals—vividly and disturbingly to life.
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Read an Excerpt
CASTLE SANT’ ANGELO,
ROME, JUNE 1453
The hammering on the door shot him into wakefulness like a handgun going off in his face. The young man scrambled for the dagger under his pillow, stumbling to his bare feet on the icy floor of the stone cell. He had been dreaming of his parents, of his old home, and he gritted his teeth against the usual wrench of longing for everything he had lost: the farmhouse, his mother, the old life.
The thunderous banging sounded again, and he held the dagger behind his back as he unbolted the door and cautiously opened it a crack. A dark-hooded figure stood outside, flanked by... see more
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Reading Group Guide
Changeling: Order of Darkness Book One
By Philippa Gregory
About the Book
It is 1453: The Church reigns supreme in Europe, but there are disturbing signs that the Muslims in the East are getting stronger and suspicions that the End of Days may be approaching. Novice priest Luca Vero, aged seventeen, joins a secret church order that battles evil by investigating mysteries—spiritual mysteries. At the same time, recently orphaned Lady Isolde of Lucretili, also seventeen, finds herself banished to the local nunnery. Isolde and her Moorish servant and best friend, Ishraq, immediately suspect that something is not right at the Abbey: nuns are fainting in chapel, seeing visions, sleepwalking, even finding bloody stigmata on their palms. Is it the work of the devil? Her worst fears seem confirmed when the Abbey receives a visitor: investigator Luca Vero, accompanied by his servant, Freize, and a dour clerk, Brother Peter. What dark force is terrifying the nuns and causing them to act this way? Can Luca and Isolde uncover the true source of the problem?
1. In the first chapter, we learn that Luca’s monastery has accused of him of heresy. What is heresy, and why is it so harshly punished by the Church?
2. Why has Luca, who loves numbers and calculations, never heard of the numeral zero? Why is he so excited when he learns about it? see more
Behind the Book
Changeling Behind the Book
I have been lucky enough to meet many fans over the years, and have loved seeing so many young adult readers among them. Through signings and school visits, I know my young adult readers are enthusiastic, smart, and loyal. I’m so pleased to be writing a series especially for them!
I have particularly enjoyed this new series because I have created the characters rather than drawn them from history. I wrote two great heroines: one is the daughter of a C see more