A Time of Change

The middle of the 14th century is a time of great change…. a world that gave lip service to the ideals of chivalry, while indiscriminately pillaging and murdering.  It was a world where women took lovers at will and plotted assassination and rebellion. It was a world of shifting boundaries, shifting allegiances and constant warfare.”

Michael Crichton’s description is a sweeping generalisation but founded in fact. The structure of feudal society is being challenged. The age of chivalry is coming to an end. The concept of nationhood slowly replaces the feudal order. This change alone affects the way people think and live. Like all change, it brings tension and conflict in its wake.The new order provides greater social flexibility and opportunity for those who wish to take advantage of it.

A new breed of Champion

A new breed of champion emerges, threatening the very fabric of feudal society.  These new champions are from all levels of society and are generally unconcerned with concepts of chivalry.

Their sole objective is personal gain, and they have no scruples about the means to that end. They will support whichever state that provides the greatest opportunity.

Old style Heros

110/14th-century/chivalry/1206 The Essence of Chivalry. Loyalty to god and sovereign. Live by the rules.Protect womenHowever, the core of the old feudal structure still exists. Heroes still hold true to the concepts of chivalry and fight against injustice.
The clash between heroes and champions becomes a new battleground between good and evil.

The role of Women

110/14th-century/stiching the flag/1207 Marriage And Domesticity- but not for all women.Women are expected to accept whatever lot fathers, mothers, brothers, guardians, lords or kings assign to them.

Power and Influence

110/14th-century/the accolade/1209 Not all women are confined to a minor role . In Occitan they can inherit land and titles.This does not prevent some women who have access to great wealth, are sexually attractive and who are prepared to utilise these advantages, to come to positions of power and influence.

The Church of Rome

110/14th-century/the holy inquisition/1208 The inquisition, under the guidance of Dominic de Guzman, began in Occitan not Spain.Everyone is affected by the continuing struggle between the Roman Church and the other versions of Christianity deemed to be heretical.The Church’s use of torture, imprisonment without trial, and burning at the stake–loosely described as the ‘Holy Inquisition’–is gathering momentum.  Those totally without scruples use the Inquisition as a tool to manipulate or eliminate opposition.

The cost of Failure

110/14th century/violent death?1964 The punishment forb treason was hanging drawing and quartering.The 14th century is a world rich in contrasts, an amalgam of romance, danger and adventure. It is a world of great opportunity for those with courage and vision but where the cost of failure is often a brutally violent death.

This is the world in which Ximene must live. She has no choice. She must learn the skills needed to survive, surrounded by violence, treachery and discrimination.

6 thoughts on “A Time of Change”

  1. Hi there,

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  2. Rebekah, thanks for that. We need to talk more. See you next week!
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      Regards Brian

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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.