John Stanley

John Stanley is also a hero.

He is driven by an uncompromising ethic. He grew up under the guidance of his father, who emphasised that the upkeep of the family name meant that John was honour bound to perform to his very best in any task entrusted to him.

Concepts of chivalry and chivalrous values were explained to John.

Therefore in addition to obeying his father, he must also obey his Lord, his King and God. Within this framework, he must respect women and always help a woman in distress.

At the start of our story he has never so much as laid a hand on a woman.

It has never occurred to him that there may be more than one ruler he has to consider, even less that there may be more than one God.

When these alternatives are presented to him it creates a major challenge to his underlying beliefs.

He first learns of Ximene’s existance when she is described as “the most dangerous woman in the world

He readily accepts the culture of the Cathar faith because it brings him closer to Ximene but when he learns that the Cathar culture inevitably leads to multiple partners he finds that difficult to accept.

John is naturally monogamous and in the society, he finds himself in, that that is not a virtue but a problem.

In order to fulfil the basic requirement to perform well, John learns to be sociable and outgoing.

At the same time, he is sensitive to the actions of those he believes might be working against him and takes some time to make new friends.

Even as an adult, John has an ongoing need to be integrated into society and accepted by those who are in authority.

 He considers himself born to serve and must have a good understanding of what is required of him, before trying his utmost to deliver.

He is generous and considerate, which leads him to go beyond what is specified to help colleagues and protect those who are threatened.  He welcomes army life and progresses rapidly through the lower ranks of the army.

The biggest challenge of his life is when those around him start looking to him for leadership and advice. He continues to be surprised by this development and only slowly accepts his developing role 

The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents


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.’