The Treasure of Trencaval is about people, but it is also about how one of the greatest conflicts in history—the Hundred Years War— began.
It tells of the dreadful impact the conflict had on ordinary people.
It is also about the Cathar faith, now championed as liberal, vegan and feminist. A faith which supported euthanasia, to avoid unnecessary suffering at the end of life, but is also celebrated for its culture of the courts of love and its believe that sexual pleasure, however obtained, was not sinful but merely the good gods way of showing what reunion with him—or her—might be like.
The Church of Rome spent the best part of four hundred years determinedly eradicating this faith, this culture, this way of life, which it deemed to be heresy.
Once again our story tells of the suffering imposed on ordinary people who dared to have different beliefs
Ximene Trencavel is the hero of the story. She is a descendant of both the Comte de Carcassone and the Comte de Toulouse.
Both her Uncle Gaston de Foix and her grandmother Eleanor Garcia de Padilla believe she should lay claim to her inheritance, but for very different reasons.
Eleanor wants Ximene to found a state which can provide a safe haven for those who espouse the Cathar faith, declared to be a heresy by the Church of Rome.
Gaston on the other hand, wants to use Ximene’s inheritance as leverage to promote his own territorial ambitions.
Eleanors lover Guillam de Clermont—Dessous will do anything for Eleanor, even risking his own life.
Guillam makes plans to allow Ximene to escape from her dominant uncle.
Gaston has decided that his interests will be best served if Ximene marries the Edward of Woodstock, Black Prince, heir to the English throne, Prince of Wales and Duke of Aquitaine
The Black Prince is however deeply in love with his cousin, Joan, Countess of Kent.
The Prince meets a shepherd boy, John Stanley , during a deer hunt in the north of England. He recruits John into his service and by dint of hard work bravery and loyalty John quickly progresses through the ranks.
John comes to the attention of Ximene who decides to groom him to become her perfect knight.
Bertrand du Guesclin is an evil antihero who commits himself to murdering Ximene, preferably after raping her first.
Those Closely Involved
Ximene has two close—very close—friends, Philippa De Roet—Pipa, and Alyse Perez de Padilla .
Alyse has an elder brother Juan Perez de Padilla and they are both close relatives of Lady Eleanor. Juan acts as troubadour to Lady Eleanor .
Alyse makes herself Ximene’s mentor in the areas of statesmanship and politics. Pipa becomes Ximene’s mentor in affairs of the heart.
Piers de Windsor acts as close friend and mentor to John Stanley.
William de Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, King of Mann, Former husband of Joan of Kent. Mentor to John Stanley.
Don Fernandino Is another of Eleanors relatives. He is a Cathar agent who is also known as The Shadow Without A Name.
The English Royal Family
The geographical area now known as France was in 1355 divided between the Franks, and the English. The area in what is now North – West Spain was an independant nation—Navarre.
Ximene’s inheritance—Occitan— was under control of the Franks despite the fact that its inhabitants speak a different language and have a different Culture.
As she struggled to define her role and destiny Ximene could not avoid the conflict.
Because she was thrown into close contact with the Black Prince and ultimately John Stanley, her perfect knight, the most important background force was the strategy and objectives of the King and Queen of England.
The hundred years war started because the Franks rejected Edward III’s claim to the Frankish Throne. This was partly because there were doubts about Edwards parentage.
Edward was however prepared to wage war to claim what he saw as his rights.
Edward had married Philippa d’Avesnes of Hainhault. Philippa was a strong minded constructive partner. She took a number of personal initiatives to improve the English economy but is remembered mainly because she had a very dark skin. her dan was inherited by her son, hence the Black Prince.
There was dissension within Edward’s own family. Henry of Grosmont, Duke of Lancaster was incredibly, selfishly, wealthy. His failure to share his wealth with even his siblings caused considerable resentment. he also had doubts about King Edward’s parentage and actively plotted to depose him.
Lionel of Antwerp, John Of Gaunt and Edmund of Langley, The Younger Princes, are siblings to the Black Prince
Other Background Forces
The relationship between Navarre and the Franks was unusual.
Juana Of Navarre married PhilipIv of France and it was their children who became involved in the Tour Nestlé affair.
See Les Rois Maudite.
Louis X married Margaretha Of Burgundy who was found guilty of adultery. Nevertheless their daughter Juana II was allowed to marry Philippe d’Evereux and was accepted as Queen of Navarre.
Edward III of England was not the only one making claims on the Frankish throne. Charles II of Navarre, Philippe’s son, also made claims and intermittently entered treaties with Edward to make joint attacks on the Frankish homeland . Gaston de Foix was married to Agnes of Navarre, Charles’ sister, which made it difficult for Gaston to avoid involvment in the various intrigues.
The Artois were another branch of the Frankish royal family who were at various stage dissenting voices in the governance of the Frankish Nation. one of their number Blanche d’Artois distinguished herself by marry members of both the Plantagenet and Navarese royal families, making Henry of Grosmont a cousin of Charles II of Navarre.
The Artois also married into the Foix family ,meaning that both Gaston de Foix and Ximene Trencavel are both relatively closely related to both the English royal families
The Valois were distant cousins of Edward, whom the Frankish Estates General chose instead of Edward. Initially the Frankish crown was taken by Philippe VI de Valois. His son John was proposed as a husband for another sister of Charles II of Navarre—Blanche d’Evreux. However when Philippe met Blanche he was so taken by her beauty he married her himself. In 1355 Blanche was still the wild card in Frankish Politics and was in conflict with the Dauphin Charles. The dauphin also entered into separate agreements with Charles II, with the purpose of deposing his own father!