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Synopsis

The daughter of one king and the lover of another; matriarch of a powerful dynasty and the cause of conflict and war: Nest, princess of Dyfed, became a legend. Through the years of the Norman invasion and conquest of South Wales, she was the friend, ally, confidant and temptress of kings, princes and barons. After the death in battle of her father, Rhys ap Tewdwr, the last king of South Wales, Nest was torn from her family and country to grow up a hostage at the Norman court. Henry I made her his mistress and she bore him a lovechild, before giving her in marriage to Gerald of Windsor, the lord who ruled her father's former kingdom for the Normans. This might have won her the enmity of her Welsh compatriots, but Nest walked the tightrope of diplomacy with skill and care. Not only did her Welsh neighbours admire her - they desired her for themselves. When Owain ap Cadwgan, leader of the Welsh resistance, abducted her from her home under the nose of her husband and his guards, Henry I himself intervened, both to secure peace and to protect his former mistress from censure or punishment. In this most fascinating of biographies, Kari Maund reveals Nest's role in one of the most exciting and dynamic periods of Welsh, Irish and English history. Her life provides a rare opportunity to explore the role of women in early Wales, and how a Welsh princess could control a Norman king...

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