The stories about Ximene Trencavel
England Aquitaine and Occitan
1355 Black Prince invades Occitan ( the chevauchee)
1355 Black Prince Sets Fire to “La Bastide” at Carcassonne
1355 Black Prince returns with a “vast treasure trove”
Ximene Trecavel and John Stanley establish a long term relationship, but far from a conventional one.
They decide that they must be “invisibly and indivisibly” entwined. They plan to help each other climb the ladder of power and influence until they each have the ear of Kings.
They believe that by keeping their relationship secret their opportunities to influence each other’s progress will be enhanced.
To achieve anything they must have resources. The major sub plot is the discovery and recovery of Ximene’s family treasure.
A second subplot is Ximene’s rescue of John, critically injured on the battlefield at Monsegur. She nurses him back to health and encourages him to train his way back to full strength.
She encourages him by taking part in every aspect of the recovery program including the use of weapons and unarmed combat. In the course of doing this, she becomes herself a formidable female warrior.
A third sub plot is the Prince’s invasion of Armagnac and Occitan and Gaston’s re-emergence as a political opportunist.
A further sub plot has du Guesclin finally managing to capture Ximene. John has to rescue her from being burnt at the stake in Carcassonne.
With John’s help and the involvement of the mysterious Don Fernandino, Ximene escapes from the Inquisition and Du Guesclin. She recovers her family treasure and becomes the wealthiest woman in England.
Sounds simple but it is not. Much research has been necessary to construct the plot for this second book. It has been necessary to know the detailed history of the Trencavel family (so that it can be modified to accommodate Ximene).
The plot requires detailed knowledge of the countryside surrounding Rennes le Chateau together with knowledge of the layout of Carcassonne (both La Cité and La Bastide ). However none of this could ever be classified as an arduous task!