Ivanhoe meets Angelique
25 Word Pitch.
How and why five young women came to dominate English politics in the last decade of the 14th century.
Ximene experiences adventure and romance but her attempts to deal with enemies in England take an unexpected and disturbing turn.
Who has the right to rule?
150 Word Pitch 1
Ximene Trencavel again needs John Stanley, both as a lover and as a military strategist. After a passionate reunion in Venice, John, disgused as a Prince of Islam, works to prop up the unstable Muslim regimes of Karaman and Grenada, Ximene’s trading partners.
Meanwhile Ximene rescues rescues three of her close relatives, illegitimate daughters of the King of Castile, from a war being waged against him.
She takes the girls to England where their presence provokes a war of words amongst the ruling family. Ximene discovers that she shares with the girls a pure strain of the sangreal, holy blood, which determines the right to rule.
The Royal Family sets out to get control of the girl’s future and Ximene tries to protect them. However before long it is Ximene herself who needs protection. The war of words leads to conflict. John returns from Castile only just in time.
500 Word Synopsis
It is like a game, of hide and seek, but played out with deadly intent. Du Guesclin, Ximene’s archenemy is out there, somewhere, looking for her.
To access to exotic products from the Far East, Ximene forms relationships with the Emirs of Karaman and Granada. She travels throughout the Mediterranean as the wife of the Emir of Karaman but is not in fact married to him. It is her ultimate disguise.
Her underlying objective is to create a haven for members of the Cathar Religion where she can guarantee freedom of worship. However Cathars refuse to move from their homelands.
While she grapples with this dilemma, her whole word comes under threat. The Emir of Karaman is faced by waves of Turkic invaders. Pedro of Castile, ally of the Emir of Granada comes under attack from his bastard half brother Henry Trastamara.
In a critical meeting in Seville, Pedro reveals that Trastamara is winning the war and asks Ximene to help his illegitimate daughters by Maria de Padilla escape to safety. The daughters carry the purest of “Sangreal”, the holy blood that gives those who possess it the “right to rule”.
Ximene agrees to his request and also promises to engage John Stanley, pre-eminent military tactician, tournament champion of Europe and Ximene’s one time lover to retrain and re-equip the armies of both Emirs.
She has no knowledge of John’s current political or emotional alignments and decides she must put him to a test. At a tournament in Venice she seduces him whilst he still believes that she is the Emir’s wife. His willingness to put himself in harm’s way is proof to Ximene of his continuing loyalty. John assumes the guise of a Prince of Islam and sets about the military reorganization of Ximene’s allies.
Ximene returns to England with Pedro’s daughters to find rising political tension and jealousy of her wealth and status. The growing opposition could threaten everything she has worked for. Fortuitously she discovers that there is a growing obsession in the royal family with “Sangreal” and the right to rule. The royal family learn of the genealogy of the Padilla girls and set out to get control of them leaving Ximene in a position of great influence.
Meanwhile Karaman is secured and Trastamara is defeated. Du Guesclin is captured with the help of Moorish troops trained by John. Cathars begin to move to the haven of the isle of Re. Everything Ximene has planned and worked for is coming to fruition.
In England however the arguments about ‘right to rule’ are turning to conflict. Alyse, the eldest of Pedro’s daughters becomes the King’s mistress and after the Queens death, de-facto ruler of England. Now independent of Ximene, Alyse turns against her.
Then, in Spain, Pedro is defeated and murdered. Ximene learns that the murderer is Du Guesclin and that he is still looking for her. John arrives in England just in time to defend Ximene against multiple threats. Their unlikely ally and saviour is John of Gaunt, third in line to the throne and a ruthless opportunist.