Faced with difficult decisions and a realisation of the difficulties and dangers she must face, Ximene suffers torments which invade every retrospective moment. She feels that she must not let down all those who believe and trust in her. The enormity of her task disturbs her.

Ximene knows that any attempts she makes  to reclaim her inheritance and establish an indepenent Occitan will be resisted by the Church of Rome because of her commitment to re-establishing the Cathar Faith. In her blackest moments she sees herself being captured and executed. She occasionally wonders, Good God forbid, if she is the “second coming”.  She is aware she may face outright aggression and worries that she is not equipped to cope with it.

In the worst of Ximene’s torments she is crucified, failing to complete her mission. Even in those moments her concern is that if she is crucified or falls into the hands of the Holy Inquisition, she will achieve nothing for there is no one else to take her place.

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And yet, the worst demon she faces is that she is not sure she believes implicitly in what she is being asked to fight, perhaps give her life, for. She certainly believes in Jesus’ message but is unsure wether even her own faith has interpreted the message correctly. She has been taught that the reason Jesus attracted notice was because he was not a carpenters son, as the Church of Rome would have us believe, but the conjoin of many important blood lines, but what blood lines?

Jesus’ message as it has been explained to Ximene is that all God’s are the same. God is simply the infinite force behind the universe. The only difference between different Gods is in mankind’s attempts to convert a vision of undefinable energy into personalsed images.  In the message which has been given to Ximene, the same principle applies to rulers.  It really does not matter who rules, who is King or Queen for their personality and appearance is irrelevant. Material possessions should be as unimportant to clerics and rulers are they are to the poorest peasant, but if there has to be an administration to regulate the realm and administer justice, then the Roman Empire in which the Emperor serves the senate and through them the people, is as good a model as any other and is certainly one Ximene intends to pursue

Only if a ruler becomes despotic, clearly favours one small group in society and penalises or persecutes others is there justification for replacement of the ruler. The Roman system of limited tenure and election to the highest office offeres the best match with this ideal. However even in Rome, men managed to corrupt the ideal, the elections were controlled and the highest office became hereditary. She is determined to guard against such corruption in any state she might control but has no clear idea how to achieve this or indeed what the processes of control should be

Nevertheless, the ideal should always be one nation, one language, one religion, a worship purely concerned with spiritual unity which has no need of priests, churches, elaborate ceremonials or rich vestments, a ruler who makes decisions for the benefit of all.  Jesus’ vision of an ideal world is one in which there is no religion, and no independent nations.

Yet, here she was, engaged in efforts to create an independent Occitan! Was this really what she should be doing?

The question of the identity of God creates no less challenging a problem. Ximene’s education has taught her that the God worshipped by the Roman church is the Devil.  More than that… that the Universe was created by the Devil, and that the Devil is Set, Egyptian god of  creation, chaos and destruction. Set is of course also God the father and YEWH the god of the Jewish faith. Set is the Bad God but that there is also a Good God. Here is the source of Ximene’s concern. Jesus message is there was only one God, And that is the solution Ximene prefers. She believes there is no need to introduce a second God, even if the creation of the material world was a catastrophic mistake or an accident of infinite severity.

And mysticism. She has been brought up to dislike the mysticism of the Roman Church. Her tutors poured scorn on dogma such as “the Virgin Birth” in which Jesus is supposed to have been conceived and born though Mary’s ear,  presumably to avoid any need to mention genitalia. Then there is the “Sacrament of the Eucharist”, in which the congregation is given the body and blood of Jesus to eat, in a form of the ultimate cannibalism. Now however, influenced by her weighty responsibilities, she is questioning her own faith. With a critical eye she perceives a similar, though very different mysticism. The concept of Bad and Good Gods, the special role of the Perfects and their right to administer the blessing of the Consolamentum all now seem to Ximene to surround Jesus’ message with unnecessary mystical overtones.

In addition to what is becoming a crisis of faith, Ximene is weighed down by a belief that nothing planned on this earth can be assured of success. The material world, no matter who created it,  is disastrously imperfect.  Natural catastrophes such as droughts and floods, famines, pestilences and plagues continually cause frustration and emnity, often destroying the best intentions of the very best people. The human race itself seems to be fatally flawed to be always selfish, giving priority to the accumulation of material possessions, neglecting the need to love and help each other.  Will there ever be a chance of dealing with such problems?  Nevertheless Ximene accepts that her destiny is to ensure the continuance of the Cathar faith and the protection of the believers in that faith.

She firmly believes that as long as Cathars have sincere faith, they should not be persecuted for that adhering to that faith. She seeks her own consolation that she should create a state, independent of the church of Rome, where every individual is free to worship in according to their own conscience.  Ximene doubts that people will listen to her message in the same way they listened to Jesus. The task she is being asked to perform or defining for herself to perfom is in her mind assuming the same proportions as the task which Jesus carried out  Substitute Occitan for Judah and Franks for Romans and the situation is essentially the same. Ximene has never chosen to carry this burden, it has been thrust upon her.

In her darkest moments Ximene seeks inspiration from Mary Magdelane, whom she believes was more than an apostle. She was an equal partner and shared Jesus bloodlines. She helped Jesus formulate his teaching. The veneration of the Madonna is of Mary Magdalene not of Mary, Jesus’ mother. She has given dark skin because she was dark skinned. jesus choice of her as a partener symbolises that the final part of Jesus message was that racial differences are as unimportant as religion or nationality. His message is for all peoples and races. For a magical moment in time Magdelene won the support or at least the tolerance of the Roman Emperors. She was the fount of grace, love and mercy, she is the example Ximene vows to follow.

Ximene becomes convinced that to provide protect against religious persecution, either for Cathars or her own derivative of Jesus’ teaching, or both, she will have  to use politics and force of arms to establish a new sovereign nation.  But if she resorts to using force, if she establishes an independent nation, will that in itself be in conflict with Jesus message. Will that make her no better than her enemies?

She is experiencing her own personal crisis of faith and there is no one to help her resolve it!

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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.