Healthy Scepticism

An enquiring mind

The section on the influences on life in the 14th century identify the minutiae of  Cathar beliefs. What is more important is the section on what Ximene herself  believed, which concentrates of  her ideas of who Jesus might have been and why he was important. Beliefs which are so very different from the views propogated by the Church of Rome. If I  am to write about Ximene I must have a better understand of these beliefs so that I might understand how they affected her life decisions. I have however spent much longer than I should have done because every reference consulted asked more questions than it answers. I  have called it pseudo history because it goes beyond recorded history, it depends not just on facts but on interpretation, interpolation and extrapolation. however  i have come to believe that even accepted history has been developed by similar thought processes.

Healthy Scepticism

Is a fifteeth century genealogy from the library of an aristocratic german family reliable? Probably not! The records will have been manipulated to enhance the families nobility or claim to the right to rule.

On the other hand are any of the core documents  of the Roman Church reliable? Again probably not, given that we do know from other Church documents that it took over 100 years of editing to make sure they were “free from error’.  That meant doctrinal error not factual error! In any case this editing took place over four hundred years after the death of Jesus!

Much of the published information about the Cathar Faith is derived from the records of the Holy Inquisition. Do  transcripts of interrogations of the Inquisition give us an accurate picture of how people spent their lives or what they actually believed? Probably not, given the horrendous circumstances in which the statements were delivered and recorded!

Copyright of History

In the copyright case between Dan Brown and the three authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail; Michael Baigent, Henry Lincoln and Richard Leigh a court of appeal judgement said that the three authors of the earlier book had no case against, as it is “not possible to copyright history.”  The implication is that the genealogy which showed Mary Magdelene’s marriage to Jesus is “history”. Is that how the appeal court judge intended his judgement to be read? Once again probably not!

Multiple Sources

Everything I quote here in “Pseudo History” is based on information I have found elsewhere.

It is an echo of the opinions of other authors, who do not always agree with each other. The information from many independent sources has been compared and been supplemented by limited personal interpretation and extrapolation in attempt to interpret the anomalies. Robert Graves, one of those I nominate as being a modern heretic, opined it would take lifetime to check everything from original documents, which is why historians, real historians, concentrate on only small segments of history in which they specialise.

No Apologies

These pages draw information from a wide range of different sources which have been combined and interpreted. Conclusions have been drawn from a wide range of historical observations.  The conclusion is important to my stories about Ximene and therefore I have drawn my conclusions with care. I now have a very specific opinion. However the extrapolation and decision making process cannot be confirmed from original source documents, or at least not reliably. I was advised by one of my mentors never to apologised for my opinions and therefore my opinions are stated as if they are fact which of course they are not.

The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents

Pseudo History


Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355


'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’

The Prisoner of FoixVol 1 of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

Aquitaine, an English possession, is in crisis. It is under threat from neighbouring nations and internal dissension.

The Black Prince, King Edward III’s eldest son has been given the task of taking command in Aquitaine.

Suddenly there is an opportunity. Ximene Trencavel is the heiress to the lands of Occitan, to the east of Aquitaine: lands controlled by the Franks. Ximene wants independence, both for herself and for Occitan.

A union between Aquitaine and Occitan would be mutually beneficial. The Black Prince undertakes a secret journey to meet Ximene to negotiate a marriage contract. It is, however, a marriage neither of them really wants.

Meanwhile, the  Franks plot to murder Ximene to prevent ,not just the marriage, but any kind of union between England and Occitan.

The Eagle Of CarcassonneVol II of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

The loose alliance between Ximene Trencavel and the Black Prince is under threat.

The Prince invades Occitan, to show his support for Ximene but it becomes an invasion which creates more problems than it solves.

The Prince has fallen hopelessly in love with Joan of Kent and Joan is now determined to marry him and become the next Queen of England.

Joan is therefore  determined to convince Ximene that she should not marry the Prince.

Part of her strategy is to encourage Ximene’s relationship with John Stanley—one of the Princes bodyguards—not an easy task as both John and Ximene have doubts about their compatibility.

However, John is grievously injured in a battle and Ximene commits herself to nurse him back to health.