3 Game Plan 10th December

Joan’s voice was different from her normal voice it sounded strained if not hoarse. ‘I think you know that I have been very close to both the Earl and the Prince. I need to tell you how close.’

Ximene nodded.  John wasn’t sure of the correct reaction. He nodded

She closed her eyes and hesitated. ‘ There is no other way to tell it…My son Thomas is not the child of the husband imposed on me.’ She shrugged her shoulders. ‘My legal husband Thomas Holland… It is just not possible. He may be the son of the Earl or he may be the son of the Prince. We have agreed, the three of us have agreed, that we do not care who is the father. However to ensure he succeeds to my title we have decided he will be acknowledged as the son of Thomas Holland; hence the choice of his name. Because of the uncertainty of his parentage, the Prince has agreed he will also be treated as if he was a Prince of the realm.

Ximene gulped. ‘Oh, how many people know about this?’

Until a minute ago only three people; the Prince, the Earl and myself.

John narrowed his eyes. ‘So why have you told us, why is it something we need to know?’

Joan rolled her eyes and gazed towards the ceiling. ‘You have obviously spent a lot of time with the Earl. And you are right, he would not approve.’

John leaned forward reached out and touched her hand. ‘So why?’

‘I wanted you to know how important the Earl has been to me and now because of my determination to marry the Prince I have promised  Queen Phillipa I will never see the Earl in private again. that is to make sure that any children born to me after our marriage will be the Prince’s children not anyone else’s. They could be the future rulers of England.

In almost a whisper Ximene offered her condolences. ‘Obviously that has been a great sacrifice.’

Yes but it gets worse. King Edward thinks the Prince is going to marry Ximene Trencavel…  you Selene and has told him that he must break of his relationship with me. since all this happened I have Joked about my born again Virginity but it really is a problem. I am virtually isolated. I do see the prince secretly but we must be ever watchful. One of the reasons the Prince gave you the Chateau Lavison was because, now it is in your name,  that if the staff were changed it would be possible for us to go there without anyone knowing.’


‘And now another piece of information.’Joan sighed.

‘I would never do anything against the best interests of the Prince, I genuinely love him, but he is not the most dependable of people. Hypnotically attractive but not dependable. He often must be protected against himself.

The Prince is chivalrous towards people he perceives to be chivalrous… John, he did not just agree to your shift of alliance to Occitan, to Ximene, he gloried in it. To him, you had become the embodiment of chivalry.

However, he can be ruthless in his pursuit of those he perceives to have no regard for the principles of chivalry.

He abhors politics, he does what he thinks is right and he tells others what to do. It never occurs to him to shape opinions, in advance of the need to issue an instruction, or to search for ways to make that instruction more acceptable. He is particularly resistant to anyone who tries to shape his own opinions and usually rejects any advice.

The Earl did all the politics for the Prince. ‘Additionally’ She lifted her head slightly and lowered her eyelashes feigning shyness. ‘ As must be obvious from what I have just told you, I saw the Earl relatively frequently which allowed for completely independent communications… as well as other activities ‘ She shook her head. ‘Anyway…the Earl shared his thinking with me and allowed me to influence the strategies he developed. He identified opponents and one way or another persuaded them to comply. I was the one who persuaded the Prince to comply with the strategies he…we devised. He was so important to me and to the Prince,

What the Queen intended to do intended was to stop my…  romantic assignments with the Earl but it is impossible to distinguish between romantic assignments and one on one political discussions, often late at night. 

Ximene rubbed her hands over her eyes. ‘Was? you are speaking in the past tense?’

Yes, of course, without realising it the King and Queen have closed off the most effective communication between the Prince and the Earl, his closest advisor; his most effective strategist. The Earl will inevitably become just another advisor the Prince does not want to listen to.  I now intend to put that link back in place but without running the risk of being accused of breaking my word. I am determined to marry the Prince but if I don’t get this right my marriage could become irrelevant as we lurch from one crisis to another.



As a result of this dislocation I now need some help in gathering information. First and foremost in England itself.’

John could not contain himself. ‘In England ? But Why. We are serving E ngland, we obey the kings… he halted and then hurrily added, ‘and the Prince’s commands. Another pause ‘Isn’t that all we have to do?’ 

Hmm, are we absolutely sure that the Kings instructions are not being filtered by the King’s council, advisors, clerks?

I will come back to all that later but we don’t only want better information from England first of all we must understand what is happening in the  Frankish court. I believe that there is competition  between King Jean and his son Charles, the Dauphin.  I hear that only a couple of weeks ago there was a plot to replace King Jean with the Dauphin. we must keep ourselves up to date with all that.

Then we come to the activities of Agnes’ brother  another Charles. King Of Navarre. the more we know about his activities the better.

He vacilates between declaring his support for King Edward and declaring his support for King Jean. over the last couple of years he has change sides at least three times. Make no mistake he is a threat.

Finally as we prepare to capture Paris and Rouen I need to know exactly what is happening.’ 


Yes someone is advising the King to subdivide his kingdom. I do not know who it might be and as the prince is heir to the throne he is not involved in such discussions. It seems the idea is to make Prince Lionel King of Scotland, good luck with that;  Prince Edmund, King of ireland, good luck with that, John of Gaunt king of England,  Marry the King’s daughter to the Duke of Brittany and make Brittany independent and leave the Prince with Aquitaine and Guyenne. I suspect that the other Princes would be supportive of such a subdivision but the Prince certainly wouldn’t.

so who would be pusing for this? seems obvious to me. the only one who wins. Prince John or quite possibly his father in law the richest man in Enland, Henry duke of Lancaster

John sat bolt upright in his chair. This was all news to him


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.