After a brilliant career as a trader, Jacques Coeur was summoned to the court of Charles VII and appointed Master of the Mint in 1436. He rose to become the King of France's visionary First Banker who, with his tours of the Far East, his opposition to the crusades, and his efforts to develop trade, brought France out of the darkness toward the Renaissance and modernity. At the height of his success, his ill-considered infatuation with Agnès Sorel, King Charles VII's favorite mistress, precipitated Coeur's fall from grace.
Jean-Christophe Rufin is one of the founders of Doctors Without Borders and a former Ambassador of France in Senegal. He has written numerous bestsellers, including The Abyssinian, for which he won the Goncourt Prize for a debut novel in 1997. He also won the Goncourt Prize in 2001 for Brazil Red.