The history of Renaissance France is rich and varied. The Renaissance in France, as elsewhere in Europe, saw glory crowned amidst conflict and squalor. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, France seemed set to become the most powerful nation of Europe, but as the century ebbed so did her fortunes. In between, during a century of more or less permanent combat which murdered the dreams, comforts and relatives of many Frenchmen and saw a soaring economy shot down, some of the greatest building, painting and thinking to come out of the whole European Renaissance was being done. Sixteenth-century France was a colourful, confusing and often downright fatal habitat, and we moderns might profitably look on the complexity of its successes and failures, to which Prefessor Knect is a matchlessly illuminating and genial guide.