9 Encore Thierry was A New Direction. 15th jan

Lady Eleanor broke in ‘ You talk about going north to claim the Frankish Crown. As I passed through Bordeaux yesterday I could not help notice that there were many ships packed with soldiers and I was told they were bound for England.’

John Stanley

Eleanor, we will need your continued support . Ximene has decided not to marry the Prince and I think it is important that together we review the reason she made that decision.

‘Well I thought I did understand, but perhaps you might have a slightly different view. I had my own reasons, of course.initially I thought marriage to the Prince could give her a measure of security. Protect her from those who might do her harm. You spent some time at the festival at Clairmont, convincing me that there were some difficulties; such as your own attachment to the Prince and your determination to marry him yourself.’

‘Oh! was I so direct?

‘Perhaps not but I certainly got the message.’

Well from what I understand from Ximene herself, the main reason for her being interested in the first place, was that she thought that would be the best way to create an independent state of Occitan. That would have enabled her to return lands to those who lost them at the time of the Albigensian crusade and to provide freedom of worship to those who adhere to the Cathar faith. She believed that if she married the Prince he would invade Occitan and make all this possible.

Lady Eleanor shrugged her shoulders. ‘Yes I think all that is true. Ximene?

Ximene nodded. ‘Yes that was the attraction.’

Joan bowed her head but then almost instantly looked Lady Eleanor in the eye. ‘She has now decided that this is not a practical course of action.’

‘Yes I think I knew that as well.’

What you probably don’t know is that the Prince himself is still more than willing to invade Occitan, regardless of considerations of any marriage, He would make Ximene duchess of an extended Plantagenet empire. However it seems to me, it would lead to disaster.’

‘And how did you come to that conclusion?’

Joan walked over to John, stood behind his chair and squeezed his shoulders. ‘John! you were actually involved in the Chevauchee, which was almost a trial for a full-scale invasion of Occitan do you think a full-scale invasion would succeed?

John bent his head and scratched the back of his neck. ‘Without a doubt, we could occupy the whole area. but how would we then change the ownership of land? It would mean driving one set of people from their homes where their families have lived for one hundred and fifty years. It could only be done by using extreme force and that would lead to revolt and vicious retribution.

As long as there are those who would continue to lay an alternative claim to the lands of Occitan the conflict would be encouraged and sustained.’

‘You mean the Franks.’

‘I don’t think there is anyone else with a claim. However, if there was open encouragement for the Cathar religion, another crusade would be quite likely perhaps even probable’

Lady Eleanor pursed her lips. ‘John I think you felt that way before you became involved in the Chevauchee.’

‘Yes but that was almost theoretical before I had seen the horror of it all first hand.

The probability is that it would lead to civil war in which both sides would use mercenaries who have no respect for anyone or anything. We would simply make an opportunity for Du Guesclin and other savages to terrorise everyone. ‘

I believe the only way to resolve such a conflict would be to drive the Franks totally out of Occitan.’ He frowned. ‘A sort of genocide’,

‘ Which is exactly what the Franks did to us in the crusade.’

‘I know, I know, but could you carry it on your conscience if the whole episode was repeated. I met those who would do it. They thirst for revenge.

lady Eleanor winced. ‘No John I could not.’

Joan gave John’s neck a squeeze. ‘Thank you John, you came away from the chevauchee a hero, perhaps the only hero, but you have given us an honest opinion. Already others are re-writing what happened to make it a glamorous adventure. Sadly, currently, the Prince is influenced by that alternative view.’

She turned to Ximene. ‘And you Ximene, you agree with John’s opinion?’

‘Yes, I do. but partly because I sense you are already looking to the future. You now want to consider an alternative strategy.

‘Yes. The Prince has a strong and just claim to the throne of the Franks. When he returns I will persuade him that the pursuit of that claim should take precedence. He should march north to claim the Frankish Crown. Then we can consider how to deal with governance, including the governance of Occitan from a position of strength.’

Lady Eleanor broke in ‘ You talk about going north to claim the Frankish Crown. As I passed through Bordeaux yesterday I could not help notice that there were many ships packed with soldiers and I was told they were bound for England.’

Joan bowed her head. ‘Yes , that is my fault and it just shows how easy it is to get it wrong.

Before I had a chance to talk to Ximene, I had decided to stop what I saw as a disastrous invasion of Occitan in another way. I communicated with King David of Scotland who at one time I… knew quite well.’

Joan’s eyelashes fluttered, which signalled to John just what the relationship with King David had been.

‘Anyway I persuaded him that now, with England committed in Aquitaine, would be a good time to consolidate his hold on the borders’ He has taken my advice and that is why the English troops are now leaving, to meet what is perceived as a threat from the north.’

She looked around shamefacedly. ‘I swear I did it for the Prince, it seemed to only way to stop him making a disastrous mistake.’

She bowed her head. ‘Now that is all unnecessary but impossible to undo!’

Nevertheless, next year the Prince must go north and we must organise an army big enough and skillful enough to give him success.

I have not finalised the details but we must play an important part in making that happen

John’s eyes narrowed. He felt a shiver of pride.. or was it fear. Suddenly he understood. All these princes, earls and bishops thought they were in control but the real power lay here in this room and she was fluttering her eyelashes at him.

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.