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The Last Queen: A Novel Audiobook, by C. W. Gortner Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: C. W. Gortner Narrator: Marguerite Gavin Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2008 ISBN: 9781483057279
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,273 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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One of history’s most enigmatic women tells the haunting, passionate story of her tumultuous life. Juana of Castile is just thirteen when she witnesses the fall of Moorish Granada and the uniting of the fractured kingdoms of Spain under her warrior parents, Isabel and Fernando. Intelligent, beautiful, and proud of her heritage, Juana rebels when she is chosen as a bride for the Hapsburg heir—until she comes face-to-face with Prince Philip the Fair, a man who will bring her the greatest of passions and the darkest despair.

When tragedy decimates Juana’s family in Spain, she suddenly finds herself heiress to Castile, a realm prey to scheming lords bent on thwarting her rule. The betrayal of those she loves plunges Juana into a ruthless battle of wills—a struggle of corruption, perfidy, and heart-shattering deceit that could cost her the crown, her freedom, and her very life.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The 1492 conquest of Granada makes for high adventure and royal intrigue in this second sparkling historical from Gortner…Disturbing royal secrets and court manipulations wickedly twist this enthralling story, brilliantly told.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A gripping story of passion, intrigue and betrayal…an exceptionally good read.”

    Historical Novels Review

  • “A provocative and well-crafted historical novel. Marguerite Gavin superbly reads Juana’s first-person account…in a carefully controlled and subtly elegant tone that makes the listener wonder whether ‘Juana la Loca’ was truly mad or the victim of political machinations. Gavin richly portrays Juana…”


Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Drury | 2/15/2014

    " I enjoyed reading about an important figure in European history of whom I had never really heard. Juana I of Spain, last queen of Spain and sister of Catherine of Aragon as a matter of fact. Why had I never heard of her? Because she was a woman and was locked away out of sight for the last 46 years of her life. But she played an important role in spreading the Hapsburg Dynasty into Spain, and was the mother of two kings and three queens in Europe. Not bad for a crazy woman who was a victim of power plays and was basically removed from history at the age of 27. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mizmuzikmama | 1/30/2014

    " I love historical fiction. This author has brought to life Juana, the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella. Anyone interested in Spanish history will enjoy the details, the intrigue, and the struggles of this last queen of Castile. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deb | 1/27/2014

    " Main character Queen Juana of Spain really existed, as did most of the supporting cast, but author insists it is fiction... yes, one of those that makes you want to know more if you are a pseudo-history student, but is delightful to read if you are not. Pure historians might have a fit, but I'm not going to do the research to see if they have real justification to do so. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maren | 1/23/2014

    " I enjoyed reliving my Spanish History class, and remembering many of the places I've visited in Spain. However, the drama was a bit soap opera-ish for my taste. Not nearly as bad as Pope Joan, but of course this author had much more historical context to work with. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 1/5/2014

    " CW Gortner has written an excellent novel. Everyone in my book club loved the book and now we're waiting to read his next historical fiction novel - Catherine de Medici. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 1/5/2014

    " Excellent biographical novel about Isabelle of Castille. A lot of speculation on the part of the author but very well supported with fascinating characters and situations. I loved reading this book -- it was a real escape and a great history lesson. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 1/2/2014

    " Great historical fiction - interesting take on the story of Juana of Spain, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella and sister of Catherine of Aragon. Portrays her as more abused than insane. Slightly slow narrative at time, but fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tamsin | 12/22/2013

    " Absolutely scandalous, totally gripping and hard to put down. My only complaint is that Christopher Gortner is so good at making people evil I was at times terribly frustrated and wanted to step into the book and punch out the baddies (and give Juana a gook shake while I was there!) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yuki | 11/29/2013

    " just the best <3 would love to read again in the future "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christine | 10/11/2013

    " Reminiscent of Allende's novels, but without as much depth. Fun, easy read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lee | 9/7/2013

    " I was amazed by this woman's life (as interepreted by Gortner of course). Every chapter was thrilling and I stayed up way too late for several nights dying to know what happened next! Now I'm digging into the Spanish Royalty's family tree. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Helen | 8/27/2013

    " Another book about a queen caught up in intrigue and saving her throne and the rights of her children.Liked it very much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamie | 1/21/2013

    " I like historical fiction but sometimes they kind of read like a spicy version of your 8th-grade-text-book version. This book, however, was an exception to that rule. I really was deeply concerned for and affected by the life of Juana de Loca. Kind of gut wrenching and not an easy-feel-good read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Hannah | 9/26/2012

    " I don't know how you can make such a juicy story so dull. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cookie | 8/15/2012

    " Excellent book written from a first person point of view. The author is descriptive and ingenious in her autobiography/fiction of this Spanish Queen. The glimpse into the life of royals is made interesting by the sad story of the crazy queen who maybe wasn't so crazy after all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 5/30/2012

    " This tale of the Spanish queen Juana la Loca is among the better historical novels I have read. The author has clearly researched his subject well and one cannot help but feel sympathy for Juana's plight as she emerges as more a victim of court scheme than madness. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth | 3/23/2012

    " it's unbelievable what this woman struggled through. betrayal, love, loss, death, imprisonment - by her husband, her countrymen, and her family. an incredible story of a lesser-known historical figure whose legend of insanity follows her throughout time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 12/25/2011

    " I would definitely recommend this book. Juana is one of history's more tragic figures and Christopher does justice to her sad and compelling story. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amy | 9/26/2009

    " I wanted to like this book as there aren't that many historical fiction books about Juana Le Loca. I was completely turned off by the author's insertion of modern feminist ideals. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Duana | 8/23/2009

    " Liked it a lot. Good historical fiction and the author describes the research and where he/she (?) strayed from or took liberties with the known facts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy | 2/13/2009

    " It completely amazes me what SOME people will do for power. Good book - but also a bit depressing at the end. This story is told through the eyes of Juana - daughter to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. I am GLAD I was not born a princess. "

About the Author

C. W. Gortner is an American author of historical fiction novels, including the acclaimed The Last Queen and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, as well as three historical mysteries in the Spymaster Chronicles series. He holds an MFA degree in writing with an emphasis in Renaissance studies from the New College of California. In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard in a Tudor great hall and experienced life in a medieval Spanish castle. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights and environmental issues. Half Spanish by birth and raised in southern Sprain, he now lives in Northern California.

About the Narrator

Marguerite Gavin is a seasoned theater veteran, a five-time nominee for the prestigious Audie Award, and the winner of numerous AudioFile Earphones and Publishers Weekly awards. She has been an actor, director, and audiobook narrator for her entire professional career. With over four hundred titles to her credit, her narration spans nearly every genre, from nonfiction to mystery, science fiction, fantasy, romance, and children’s fiction. AudioFile magazine says, “Marguerite Gavin…has a sonorous voice, rich and full of emotion.”