Joan of Arc and Richard III loom large in the histories of their countries, but the myths surrounding them have always obscured just who they were and what they hoped to accomplish. In this book, medieval historian Charles Wood brings these fascinating figures to life through an original combination of traditional biography and wide-ranging discussion of the political and social world in which they lived. Wood draws on a range of unusual sources--from art and legal codes to chronicles and lives of saints--to present a new picture of medieval people and their concerns. Focusing on topics often neglected by other historians, he includes lively discussions of royal adultery scandals, child-kings and the problems they posed, and earlier people and crises that helped to shape the culture of sex and sainthood that was profoundly that of the Middle Ages. In so doing, he clarifies the historical contributions of Richard and Joan, and sheds new light on the political, social, and religious forces that shaped medieval government and made France and England such widely different countries.