8 — 24th June– Time for Action

Henry Grosmont, Duke of Lancaster- 26 June 1355

Henry of Grosmont, was somewhat surprised. King Edward had taken it upon himself to visit him a his home at the Savoy Palace instead of summonsing him to Westminster.

The King gazed around the internal courtyard surrounded by cloistered walkways, the immaculate lawns, the profusion of roses. He sniffed the air and sighed. ‘Wonderful. Much more attractive, more comfortable than Westminster. I should come here more often.’

They walked through to the lounge, overlooking the river.‘Even your view of the river is better than mine.’

Henry winced, albiet internally. He did not believe that it was ever a good idea to rouse a king’s envy.

The King hesitated , then smiled. ‘So Henry , tell me what you think. You spent Christmas with the Pope at Avignon. I have not had the chance to talk to you since then. Was it useful? Did you learn anything? Did you reach any agreements?

Henry winced again, as he sensed a tone of criticism creep into in the King’s voice. ‘Sire, I have kept you informed. I have sent you numerous notes.’

King Edward grimaced. ‘Ohhh! Notes are one thing but an eye to eye conversation is quite another. Talk me through what happened.’

‘Well as you know, it was supposed to be the Pope’s attempt to agree a peace between Plantagenets and the Franks, but neither you nor King John thought it worth the time to attend. I represented your interests and Dauphin Charles represented King John. It was totally inconclusive. There was however a surprise which I did not mention in my notes.’


‘Charles d’Evreux, King of Navarre danced in attendance the whole time I was there. He took no part in the main discussions but was never far away. I got the impression he was having discussions with the Dauphin in-between meetings. He talked to me as well. I knew he believes he has a claim to the Frankish throne but I did not know how seriously he takes that claim.’

King Edward’s eyebrows rose on his forehead. ‘And?’

‘It may be the time is ripe. The Dauphin clearly was not representing his father’s interests. He was representing his own.’

‘Go on.’

‘I don’t know how it started and it is difficult to predict how it will end. There is animosity between the Dauphin and his father. He talks as if his father is no longer King. In my opinion, influenced by the Pope, King John would be prepared to recognise your holdings in France as a separate kingdom. The Dauphin emphatically would not. He would insist in you swearing allegiance to him.’

‘He made that clear?’

‘I believe he did.’

‘And Charles of Navarre?’

‘I don’t think there is any love lost between Navarre and the Dauphin but they may be prepared to work together to remove King John. If they were to achieve this, I believe they would be immediately at each other’s throats. Inevitably the result would be chaos. Not something we would want to be involved in.

Navarre spent the period in Avignon seeking our support. I would not trust him. I have set in place procedures which could perhaps appear to favour his requests, but our only intention is to distract the Dauphin and King John. What we should do is cross the channel and invade, we could strike a deal with King John before the Dauphin and Navarre try to remove him. I believe we could get his agreement for an independent Aquitaine and Gascony.’

The King strode the full length of the lounge and returned. ‘There is something else you need to know Henry. The Prince is currently in the foothills of the Pyrenees travelling back towards Bordeaux. Travelling with him is Ximene Trencavel, recognised by the Pope as the rightful heir to Occitan. He will marry her, giving us the opportunity to extend our territory to the east as far as the Mediterranean coast.’

‘Trencavel? I think she was mentioned at Avignon… by Charles of Navarre, apparently his brother in law, Gaston de Fox is her guardian. However, you should know that the Dauphin was sceptical. He said he doubted her very existence.’

‘She exists all right and the Prince will marry her.’

‘In that case, arrange the marriage as soon a possible. What a wonderful opportunity. An independent Aquitaine, Gascony and Occitan. A realm stretching from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. But we must move quickly.’

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.