Read The Queen's Prophet by Dawn Patitucci Online


Inspired by Velázquez’s baroque masterpiece, Las Meninas, The Queen’s Prophet is an imagined account of the dwarfess Maribarbola of Spain and her struggle for survival and self-determination at a time when dwarfs were kept by aristocracy as pets, prophets, and good luck charms.When her caretaker dies, the German dwarfess Mari is forced to work as a fraudulent prophet forInspired by Velázquez’s baroque masterpiece, Las Meninas, The Queen’s Prophet is an imagined account of the dwarfess Maribarbola of Spain and her struggle for survival and self-determination at a time when dwarfs were kept by aristocracy as pets, prophets, and good luck charms.When her caretaker dies, the German dwarfess Mari is forced to work as a fraudulent prophet for a traveling magician, who betrays her by selling her to the Queen of Spain. At the royal court in Madrid, Mari finds herself in a bizarre, enchanted world, a society culturally splendid but intellectually isolated. There she becomes Maribarbola, prophet to the Queen, and, her survival at stake, endeavors to outsmart the Spaniards.Mari’s wits and loyalties are tested as she becomes embroiled in palace intrigue alongside the politically embattled Queen. When Mari’s carefully schemed prophecies dazzle all of Spain, she and the Queen climb to intoxicating and dangerous heights of power. But even as Mari survives and thrives at the Spanish court, the loss of identity she suffers from living a lie makes her question whether she is really surviving at all....

Title : The Queen's Prophet
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781683366829
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Queen's Prophet Reviews

  • Emelia
    2019-04-01 14:52

    RTC...what an interesting book !

  • Debra
    2019-04-16 06:46

    Mari's long time caretaker passes away and this leaves her with a dilemma: find work elsewhere as her caretaker's family does not want her or be placed in a home. Mari is a dwarf who has been with her mistress for a long time and the life of a dwarf can be very rough. On an outing into town she meets a traveling magician who tells her she can work with him as a prophet. Seizing the opportunity to earn an income and have her fate in her own hands she takes him up on this offer. Mari soon learns that the offer is too good to be true as the Magician double crosses her and she is sold to the Queen of Spain. At the time (1600's), the aristocracy believed dwarfs to be prophets and good luck charms. The Queen hopes to use Mari as a prophet and also to spy on her husband. It is not long before Mari gets involved intrigue, secret alliances and scandal. She must use her wits to stay ahead of others at court who would love to show her as being a false prophet. Mari must use her wit when making prophecies and avoid being outed as a fraud. She learns that court can be a lonely place. One never knows who has a secret agenda, if there are hidden truths, hidden alliances, hidden enemies, if you are being tricked or fed false information. Mari often has to think fast on her feet to stay ahead of the game. Along the way she begins to realize that what she thought she knew about a certain character at court - she did not as she did not have the entire story. I have often seen dwarfs portrayed as buffoons/clowns at court and it was nice to see Mari be treated as a valuable member of the Queen's cabinet. I appreciated that Mari was a fast thinker and played an important role in court. She is capable and cunning - and she needs to be as she is not really a prophet but a woman trying to survive while living a lie.This debut novel was inspired by Velázquez’s Las Meninas. This book gives the reader a unique look at King Phillip and Queen Margarita of Spain through the eyes of Mari. Not only was life rough for a woman in the 1600s but it was even more dangerous and hard for a dwarf. The Author has done a great deal of research in writing her book and does explain in her Author's note when and why she took liberties. I enjoyed the Author's unique way of telling history through the eyes of the Queen's dwarf. While reading this book I thought of Ursula Hegi's Stones from the River which also focuses on a dwarf and her story. Please not these book are not alike but as it is rare to read the story of a dwarf, and I could not help but think of another book I have previously read about a female dwarf character.I could not decide between a 3.5 and 4 star rating so I rounded up to a 4.I received a copy of this book from the Author in exchange for an honest review.See more of my reviews at

  • MAP
    2019-03-28 11:57

    I won this book as a Goodreads Giveaway.So I may have a slight bias towards this book, because I swear it was written specifically for me. I have been obsessed with Velazquez's work since high school, and I've always been frustrated with the dearth of books/movies/anything focusing on the particular time and place in which he lived and worked.In summary, Philip IV and his wife (and niece), Mariana, rule over the last vestiges of the Spanish Empire. Despite being only 2 generations post-Philip II, the dashing and incredibly powerful King of Spain who smashed Mary Tudor's heart into pieces before setting his sights on Elizabeth I (blech), Philip IV's empire, as well as his genetic code, is crumbling. The country is in turmoil, Catalan terrorists plot against them, there are plenty of miscarriages but no legitimate heir, and the royal coffers are empty. However, like many royal households of the time, the King and Queen employ dwarves as entertainment and companions. Maria Barbara, a German, is brought to court to serve the Queen, where she becomes MariBarbola, a prophet and seer. She is quickly sucked into the intrigues and dangers of court life and must learn to play the game in order to aid her Queen - and herself.This book is a definite page turner. My heart was in my throat several times throughout the book, trying to figure out how Maribarbola was going to save herself. It reminded me a lot of reading the Game of Thrones books, where the political intrigue is so twisted and the characters all so likely to be hiding secrets that you end up squinting suspiciously at every person who crosses Mari's path, unsure of who to trust or what game they're playing. Although Patitucci admits in the afterword that several people and timelines had to be jostled around for the sake of plot, she is honest and forthright about what she changes, which I always appreciate because some authors are unwilling to fess up to inaccuracies. And the plot is WELL worth a few character assassinations (though the people they're based on may disagree.) I never knew where the plot was going to take us next, and felt that the characters were expertly fleshed out into real people with real, complex, often grey motivations. It's hard not to sympathize with every person in the book, even when they're being sneaky schemers. My only teeeeensy complaint is that Velazquez himself just isn't in it that much. Since Velazquez is famous for being one of the only painters to paint dwarves, "buffoons," and commoners in general with great dignity, I had assumed we would see some of that interaction. But oh well.Finally, it's the rarest of all books: a novel, with a female protagonist, that DOES NOT HAVE a romantic subplot. Hurrah!5 enthusiastic stars.

  • Cynthia
    2019-04-11 12:04

    I was initially drawn to “The Queen’s Prophet” because of its tie in with a famous painting however Velasquez’s art is peripheral to the story. The real strength of the book is Patitucci’s exploration of prejudice and how it effects lives, in this case dwarfism is at the heart of action. Mari, the main protagonist, lands in Spain via her native Germany. She’s cast in the role of seer to Queen Margarita of Spain and is embroiled in many intrigues and power plays.Patitucci creates lively believable characters and brings the time (17th century) alive. She’s also skilled at looking at the motivations behind the action as well as the interpersonal loves and hates...even the boredom that occasionally plaques such a court. Besides painting she touches on other art forms and activities as they were practiced at the time such as theater, feasting, outrageous fashion, hunting, religious life and beliefs in sorcery, etc.Thank you to the publishers fore providing an advance reader’s copy.3.5/5 stars

  • Kathleen Gray
    2019-03-27 14:02

    Oh this was a surprise! Mari is one of the most interesting characters I've read in a long time. A dwarfess who is sold (!) to the Queen of Spain, she is one tough cookie. Imagine this happening to you when you are middle aged and have always lived in Germany. Even in the weirdest of circumstances, the Spanish royal court in the 1600s, she's able to maneuver and keep her self strong. Well researched and wonderfully written, this one will draw you in and keep you reading not only because of Mari but also because of the terrific details. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. This is perfect for fans of historical fiction- especially for those looking for something very different.

  • Sandy
    2019-04-16 06:48

    Finally! This is the one I’d been waiting for! I just love a book that I cannot put down – and The Queen’s Prophet is it! Love the characters. Love the story. It’s a charming mix of drama, suspense, and humor – and perfectly intriguing for anyone who loves to get caught up in a good story. I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. Thank you D. Patitucci for this little gem!

  • Barbara
    2019-03-30 10:09

    Based in a time in history that I do not know a lot about. The author enabled the reader to flow right into the story and characters even for one not familiar. A highly recommended read.

  • Laurie
    2019-04-15 07:01

    Maria-Barbara is middle aged when the Countess of Walther, her owner, dies. The Countess’s family doesn’t want her, which leaves her future up in the air. On a trip into town, Mari encounters a traveling street magician who quite quickly convinces her that she could make a living as a seer. Mari takes him up on it, figuring that making her own living, even as a fraud, beats an unknown future. Middle-aged dwarfs are not in high demand in 1600s Germany. Dwarfs of whatever age, however, are in demand in the Spanish court. They are entertainers, dancers, buffoons, good luck charms. The Queen has heard that Mari is a prophet. In a court where everyone is plotting, a good luck charm and prophet can be very useful. Mari is terrified; she knows nothing about prophecy. What will happen when they find out she is a fraud? Some good luck, some knowledge of astronomy and math, and a quick mind help her make her place secure, at least as secure as anyone can be in a court full of intrigue and backstabbing. Even the Queen is insecure. The story was inspired by a painting by Velasquez, ‘Las Meninas’, in which the focal point is the beautiful Infanta of Spain, but rather than focus on her or the Queen, the author chose Maribarbola, who stands to the side of the painting. This outsider’s view of the court has a very different feel from what it would have if the author had made the Queen the protagonist. The story also takes liberties with time; she condenses several years into a short time, making for more exciting reading. The author paints the court of King Philip and his niece/wife Queen Mariana vividly, bringing it to life with lush descriptions of the clothing, the buildings, the plantings, the food, the drink. Lots of food and drink. I knew nothing about this period but found it extremely interesting and I was completely drawn into the story. Mari came to life with her fears, her triumphs, her physical pains, her hangovers, and her concern for the Queen. Four and a half stars.

  • Elizabeth Perez
    2019-04-03 13:53

    So good I wished it would never end. A fantastic story about an often untold era of Spanish history. Mari's struggles as a dwarf always felt authentic, but never the overly maudlin self-pity that historical novels about a person experiencing injustice often stray into. She's a real person, not a stand-in for general struggle.

  • Benjamin Bookman
    2019-03-28 08:43

    This was a great read. I was interested from the first to the last page. I love stories based of images, and the use of a painting as inspiration is well done here. I wish the complete painting was included in the book, but minor quibble. The book is clearly not historically accurate, which the author fully acknowledges, so I can't be too picky about that either, although it was clear even to a non-expert in the era that some liberties were being taken. A few language/writing repetition patterns that irked me a tad as well, but considering that this is a debut novel, I generally found the writing quality pretty high and would read more by this author for sure. Very well done.

  • Linda Edmonds cerullo
    2019-04-22 11:00

    Beautiful book! Exquisite writing, lush descriptions of court life with a unique perspective by a female dwarf assigned to be the queen's prophet. Mari has no ability to foretell the future but through a series of fortuitous events she comes to the attention of the rivals working for the king. This book details what a delicate balance existed in royal courts and the dangers of rising to a position of prominence in any way -- thereby angering hostile figures who are looking out for their own interests. Mari is a woman who would rather not be a hero, but who ultimately saves not only her own life, but others within the court. With this lavish tale inspired by Velazquez' painting "Las Meninas", Dawn Patitucci is an author to look out for in the future.

  • Michelle
    2019-04-16 13:09

    Very nicely done; had intrigue and suspense around how this woman was going to survive in that highly toxic, political and dangerous world -- and she was basically set up to fail, "sold" as a prophet at a time when dwarfs were bought by nobility as pets, prophets, and lucky charms. And one false step could land her in the Inquisition's torture chamber! It was also really fascinating that these were real people -- I love that with well-researched historical fiction -- and that the author got the idea for this novel from that famous Velasquez painting. A great debut novel!

  • Allison
    2019-03-27 12:12

    Character-driven historical fiction gold!Experience the inner circle of dysfunctional Spanish/Austrian royalty through the perspective of Mari-Barbara, a Germanic dwarf trying to cope with her station in life. I own a book of Velazquez' paintings and was actually able to peruse "Las Meninas" while reading the author's depiction of its creation. How fun is that? The whole book was a real joy to read!

  • Laura Trombley
    2019-04-03 10:07

    The incestuous court of Philip the fourth of Spain and all of its intrigue is brought to life through the eye of Maribarbola the queen's dwarf. Just as I have discovered with Marie Antoinette, these rich and favoured people were born to horrors all their own. The trick is to stay alive in a place of rumor and superstition and political maneuvering. Being king isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

  • nikkia neil
    2019-03-26 10:05

    Thanks Edelweiss for this ARC.Never forgetting the way she was born, Mari takes her role and makes it work for her. Mari is a unforgettable heroine of her story. The queen and king of Spain plus all the intrigues of court make this a great adventure.

  • Karen
    2019-04-03 13:57

    I enjoyed this fictionalization of the Spanish court and the dwarves in the Velaquez painting. Not a part of history about which I have much knowledge. The book is full of political intrigue and scheming. A well told story.

  • Nina Romano
    2019-04-08 14:49

    Excellent historical fiction set in Spain. Highly recommend!

  • Elisha (lishie)
    2019-04-22 11:53

    Enjoyable read- such a different time -1650s, Madrid, Spain in the beautiful Alcazar I've visited. And from the POV of a little person... very interesting.

  • Erin
    2019-04-18 10:10

    I really enjoyed this book. It was very interesting. I really didn't know much about Spanish history.The court intrigue was fascinating,

  • Stephanie
    2019-04-10 13:50

    I love historical fiction like this

  • Saba Ahi
    2019-04-25 12:44

    I had to sit on this one for a while and let it all sink in. The main character of this book finds herself in many difficult situations where she is constantly second guessing everything that goes on around her, and that was me reading this book as I wondered which side each character was really on. It was a very enjoyable read with great imagery while also being incredibly moving. Thank you Goodreads giveaways for sending me a copy of this book.