Act II The Rising Action

Through John’s eye’s

Johns story has now merged with that of the Black Prince, but as we know the background,that story can be told through John’s eyes.A forth story thread emerges which is the planning for Ximene’s escape and the involvement of Don Fernandino.

John’s Progression

Acceptance of the new world

  • The journey nearly ends in disaster. The Prince makes an impetuous decision to maintain secrecy by entering Aquitaine through the always dangerous entrance to the bay of Arcachon. The ship carrying John is overwhelmed by rough seas but John distinguishes himself by rescuing many of his shipmates.
  • He throws himself into training in military techniques and again distinguishes himself.
  • John learns about the purpose of the journey and fantasises about meeting Ximene.
  • He is selected by Salisbury to join the Prince’s rearguard and soon learns it involves more intelligence activities than fighting. Salisbury becomes John’s mentor and ally.

Trials, allies and enemies

  • John learns about Du Guesclin and the fact he is shadowing the journey. He is then given first hand experience of Du Guesclin’s brutality.
  • John wins an archery contest attended by Joan. She decides that John might be a more suitable distraction for Ximene than Thierry. At the same contest John meets Pippa de Roet and makes an equally favourable impression.
  • He then saves a serving maid from a sexual attack and is in consequent promoted to be a member of the Prince’s bodyguard.  He realises that it is now virtually certain he will actually meet Ximene.

Ximene’s Progression

Acceptance of the new world

  • Ximene plans to escape during the hunt, during which she is to meet the Prince. She decides she must condition the guards to accept her leaving them for short periods. She gets help from an unexpected quarter, Gaston’s wife Agnes of Navarre.
  • She learns that Gaston is having a most unusual affair with her cousin Alyse Perrers who looks very much like Ximene.
  • In return for Ximene and Alyse co-operating in Agnes’ scheme for winning back the attention of her husband, Ximene is given permission to practice hunting.

Trials, allies and enemies.

Agnes comes up with a totally different idea to give Ximene the freedom she wants.  She proposes that Alyse and Ximene should swap places,with Alyse marrying the Prince and Ximene becoming countess of Foix, in a new creation of the title.

  • Ximene sees the advantage in a dual identity but prefers a solution whereby she marries the Prince and Alyse becomes countess of Foix.
  • Ximene and Alyse Set about eliminating and differences between them. They work on makup, hairstyles, dress sense, riding and singing but also on sexual preferences . For the plan to work there must be no way of telling them apart even by lovers and or husbands.
  • The plan is abandoned when Ximene discovers that Gaston has built an elaborate temple in honour of her. It is really Ximene who is the Object of Gaston’s desire.

The Unsuccessful Escape

Acceptance of the new world

  • Guillam asks a man he tutored, Don Fernandino de Henestrada to assist in  Ximene’s escape.
  • Don Fernandino still works for the secret society fighting against the Inquisition-  The stars of the sea – Les Etoiles .

Trials, allies and enemies

  • Meanwhile The Black Prince is negotiating with southern lords believing they are favorably inclined to give him their allegiance.    Du Guesclin captures and tortures one of the lords and gains an understanding of the Prince’s intentions, which he immediate conveys to the Inquisition.
  • Don Fernandino decides to break away from Les Etoiles, whom he believes have been infiltrated by the Inquisition.
  • He makes elaborate plans for Ximene’s escape but is kidnapped on the waterfront at Port Vendres. Because he is acting alone there is no way of letting Ximene know that the plans have gone wrong, badly wrong.
  • Du Guesclin plans to use the hunt to capture Ximene and deliver her to the Inquisition, for torture and execution. There will be no organised opposition to his plans.

The Chapters

If I was advised that Act I really finishes with Don Fernando’s appearance and immediate kidnap , I would not object.

15 The Passage

The first part of the secret journey ends in disaster;ships are wrecked whilst trying to undertake the difficult passage into the bay of Arcachon

POV 3rd person objective (John Stanley)

16 Agnes

A different kind of action for Ximene. Agnes is Gastons wife & Princess of Navarre. She totally disrupts domestic arrangements at the Château and elists Ximene’s help in a scheme by which Agnes intends to seduce her own husband.  Also introduces another sub plot when Phillipa travels with lady Eleanor to Clermont for the festival of the moon.

POV 3rd person objective (Ximene)

17 Dangerous

John experiences extended training by the freshwater lake at Biscarrosse. He is given the opportunity to gain promotion but turns it down He learns about the purpose of the secret journey and begins to fantasize about meeting the mystery woman Ximene

POV 3rd person objective (John Stanley)

18 The Knighthood

Du Guesclin is given a commission by the king of Franks . If Ximene decides to marry the Prince kill her! The threat becomes greater-now no matter what she decides someone wants to kill her!

POV 3rd person objective (Charles, Dauphin of the Franks) then Jaques de Bourbon,constable of the Franks

19 Training

Ximene finally gets permission to leave the Château to train her horses for the Hunt. She trains herself in how to elude her guards.

POV 3rd person objective (Ximene)

20 Don Fernandino

We meet the hero of the Cathar resistance, who it turns out has problems of his own. He is eliminated almost immediately which proves that in this story the risks are very high indeed.

POV Very short contempory omniscient opening then 3rd person personal (Don Fernandino) Contemporary Omniscient again Followed by3rd person personal (Don Fernandino)then3rd person objective (Kidnapper) Finally Contemporary Omniscient. Wow! But I really believe it could not be done efficiently any other way.

21 Alyse

Alyse has been in the story from the very beginning but suddenly she leaps to the fore. The fact that she has virtually the same external appearance to Ximene creates the opportunity for deception at the highest level. It is Gaston (or Agnes?) who devises the plan but Ximene and Alyse do not reject it.

POV 3rd person personal (Alyse) 

22 The Temple


Ximene discovers that Gaston is obsessed with her and has spent a vast sum of money creating a temple in her honour. To her it is another threat and makes her all the more determined to escape his influence

POV 3rd person personal(Ximene) 

23 The Earl of Salisbury

John has his first fleeting contact with the Cathar culture. He is sbjected to an unusual test and appointed to serve in the Prince’s rearguard under the direct command of the Earl of Salisbury.

POV Very Brief 3rd person personal (The Earl of Salisbury) followed by 3rd person objective (John Stanley)

24 The Progression

Reveals the fact that Joan of Kent  knows Ximene and in fact had a brief affair with her. She knows how ravishing Ximene can be and determines to find a way of distracting her from a marriage to the Prince.

POV  3rd person personal (Joan Of Kent)

25 The Deception

Gaston’s plan for decieving the Prince becomes Ximene’s plan. She however suddenly feels a need to exert her dominance over Alyse.It is not clear wether this is symbolic or sexually driven.  Perhaps she has become a warrior. It marks the end of Ximene’s development theme she is now prepared to attend the Hunt

POV 3rd person personal (Ximene)

26 Friends and Allies

For John another experience is the Rapid rising of the river Garonne, which threatens their mission. He also, without knowing it, makes contact with Du Guesclin who is tracking their progress

POV Needs action! was written to be  Contempory Omniscient but lapses into 3rd person personal (John)We even briefly see the thoughts of the Earl whilst still in John’s Point of View OOPS  

27 Amun and Amunet

John now comes into contact with some of the intricacies of the Cathar faith. What he observes puts the relationship between The Earl and Joan of Kent in an entirely new light.  A relationship starts between Phillipa de Roet and John Stanley which will confound and occasionally delight  him for the next thirty years,

POV  Moves between contemporary omniscient and third person  Personal (John)several times.  Perhaps needs more attention perhaps the moves ought to be more controlled?

28 Du Guesclin

Another contact with the dreadful du Guesclin.It is intended to acquaint us once again of just what he is capable of.

POV Starts with contempory Omniscient swithes to third person objective. In the first half and repeats the cycle in the second half

29 John Stanley

John’s first major progression. He wins an archery contest. Almost like a second initiating event in that he is given an opportunity, tries to refuse it and finally accepts.

POV Third party personal (John) but with a substantial slug in the middle of Third Party personal ( Joan Of kent) and it needs the switch. I believe the segment is too short to subdivide the chapters

30 Phillipa de Roet

An analysis of the relationship between Joan, the Prince and the Earl. This segment also gives us even more information about the Cathar religion. The fact that Phillipa chose Eleanor’s lover as a partner in her transition and that Eleanor was her instructress whilst she was learning to give and recieve sexual pleasure is just so different from the teachings of the Church of Rome. We also learn that she has developed a liking for John Stanley something which would endure throughout her life.

POV First half third person personal (eleanor), second half perhaps the most personal of the third person personals to date (Phillipa)

31 The Devil’s Agents

We learn that the Earl is vulnerable. John survives an ordeal. He emerges from the ordeal with measurable success but is challenged to think about his own sexuality

POV The first half Starts with contempory omniscient. Switches to third person personal (john) then to third party personal ( the earl).The second half then starts with  comtemporary omniscient and switches to third person personal (John)

32 Reward and Punishment

We learn that the Earl is an opportunist. The last stage in John’s progression towards the Climax. He is promoted to be a member of the Prince’s personal Bodyguard. This means he almost certain to meet Ximene.

POV Very brief contemporary Omniscient then Third person personal ( john)

33 Ruthless

John is given another promotion – commander of a small force to guard the Price during a risky personal visit to a church. Du Guesclin again shows his head and his brutality once again raises the stakes. He also is preparing for the climax.

POV  For the first time we hear what Du Guesclin thinks very brief contemporary Omniscient then Third person personal ( john)switch to Third person personal( du guesclin)Then a very brief but horrible Contempory Omniscient and then switches to third person personal( du guesclin) 

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.