The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc is a biographical novel, the story of her life as told through a childhood friend. Sieur Louis de Conte thought she was a marvel even as a child, enchanted with her dreams and startled by her courageous intelligence. When the local priest attacked a 'fairy tree' that the children enjoyed spending time in, delighting in the company of gentle spirits, she argued him into abashedness. When she confided to Louis that God had spoken to her in a vision and told her she must inspire the dauphin -- the rightful heir to France's throne, disavowed by his mother in the Treaty of Troyes -- to claim his crown by leading an army against the English, he was among the first to join her. Fighting in her every campaign, and then infiltrating Rouen during her trials, securing a position as an assistant court clerk, Louis delivers a full account of her life. Based on Twain's twelve years of research into her life, it's remarkable in many respects. It's easily the most personable biography of Joan I've read; Louis allows the reader to not just admire her from afar, or idealized her as a remembered saint, but to love her as a friend. Such adoration is startling from a man like Twain, known for his irreverence and cynicism. There are traces of the familiar Twain here, as Louis describes how men are inheritors of their beliefs and foibles, repeating a sentiment expressed more stridently in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. But this is a story replete with the miraculous; Joan's visions extend not just to commanding her to battle and giving her moral courage, but she's an intermittent prophet, predicting her own death within a year and -- at the trial -- announcing to her captors that within seven years' time, disaster will strike and English power in France will be broken for a thousand years. Louis does not doubt Joan's word; he has no reason not to believe, for throughout the tale she demonstrates foreknowledge.