We encounter, among others, the Archdukes
Albert and Isabella, protectors of the interests of church and state; Hendrik Heynot, the irascible pastor of Opwijk, exacting more than his share of the tithe in the opinion of the village magistrates; Jan Berchmans, the saintly and intelligent boy from Diest, moving from one school to another within a complex web of diocesan politics; Madam Joanna Boisot, an aristocratic Benedictine nun of Grand Bigard west of Brussels, repeatedly defying the strictures of cloister; Sister Cornelia vande Vinne of the Augustinian Black Sisters, under suspicion of robbing one of her home-care patients in Leuven.
Philip's wife, Queen Margaret of Austria, successfully negotiated aid for her brothers the Archdukes
Ferdinand and Leopold of Styria, used her religious patronage to strengthen her political influence, and pressured Philip to rely less on Lerma.
The essays in this collection cover the history of the Netherlands under the reign of the Archdukes
Albert and Isabella, from the Cession of the Netherlands (1598) to Albert's death in 1621.