Cover Notes

Ximene – The Most Dangerous Woman in the World


John Stanley, brought up in a conservative Christian family, has never so much as laid a hand on a woman.

He is recruited into the army of the Black Prince, heir to the English throne. Due to a combination of talent and courage he is promoted to become one of the Prince’s personal bodyguards.

Ximene Trencavel has been brought up in the Cathar faith. Cathars see nothing sinful in the giving or receiving sexual pleasure, which is regarded simply as a sample of what reunion with the Good God would be like. Cathar education includes every aspect of the arts of making love.

Ownership of the lands of Occitan, lying between the Pyrenees and the Massif Central, is in dispute. Ximene Trencavel’s uncle promotes her as the rightful heir to these lands and has offered her hand in marriage to the Black Prince.

Ximene mistrusts her uncle’s motives. She chooses John Stanley as the ideal person to help in a bid to escape from her uncle’s control and, at the same time, influence the Prince. She sets out to seduce John to win his support, but runs into a problem. John has no idea how to respond to her advances.

Ximene addresses this difficulty by arranging for John to partake in a Cathar Transition through which young people receive practical experience in sexual matters.

The world in which John and Ximene live is a time of great change, initiated by the emergence of concepts of nationhood, resulting in changing alliances and the re-definition of feudal boundaries. At the same time communities are ripped apart by endless warfare and subjected to the unspeakable cruelty of the mercenary armies which are used enforce change.

Ximene is not immune to attraction of nationhood, where people of who live in the same geographical area, speak the same language, share a common culture and believe in the same god can group together for mutual defence. However she is determined to find a way to nationhood which will not expose the peoples of Occitan to the horrors of warfare.

For the Cathars of Occitan, there is another threat. The Church of Rome considers the the Cathar faith to be a heresy and for over a hundred years has conducted a programme of intimidation and oppression, spearheaded by the dreaded inquisition.

It is a world of great opportunity for those with courage and vision, but a world in which the cost of failure is often a brutally violent death. Ximene and John have no choice. They must learn the skills needed to protect the people of Occitan though they are surrounded by treachery and violence.

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.