Volume 3 The shadow without a name

Quick ID

Ivanhoe meets Angelique


Historical Romance

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.

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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.