The Prince’s Guard- 29th September 1364

John Stanley –

Joan of Kent, wife of the Black Prince, Princess of Wales and Aquitaine, prowled to every corner of the lounge. She stroked the dark beams and plastered walls and peered up the twisted staircase. She stood in front of the roring fire ‘It is very cosy.’

‘You mean small!’ John smiled. ‘Everybody has to start somewhere.’

Joan raised her eybrows. ‘And deliberately?… Next door to the house which belongs to Selene, Countess of Landon, Ximene? On the same street as the Prince?’

Oh! John jerked his head around to look Joan in the eye. Yes I deliberately chose the house to be as near to her as possible, but we have never been in La Reole at the same time. Have you seen her recently, does she come here?’

Yes I have and yes she still comes here. However she is incredibly busy, so I do not see her often.

John frowned. ‘Do you know what she actually does?’

Joan chuckled. ‘Makes a lot of money, but I don’t know the exact details. She runs a trading company, and the Prince has given her a very advantageous licence.’

John nodded. ‘I know she owns a lot of land. After the treaty of Calais I was wandering around the Garronne valley with John Chandos, getting the local lords to affirm their allegiance to the Prince. I bought land for Ximene virually everywhere I went. Always the same formula, a block with river frontage a large block in the local town and a much, much larger block outside the town.

Joan took a deep breath ‘John she is very rich, and growing richer. In which name did she purchase the land?’ John shrugged his shoulders. ‘Selene, Comtess of Landon.’

Joan smiled ‘So you have assisted Ximene to build her empire. Has Ximene done anthing to assist you?

John glanced towards the ceiling. ‘I suspect that you know she has. In theory, my role with the Frankish King Charles to recruit and train a French standing army was negotiated by the Prince. He told me he wanted to eliminate the disruption within the Frankish realm and his purpose was that he expected to eventually inherit the realm. He did not to want to inherit anarchy.

But the truth is… it was all organised by Ximene. She did some sort of a deal with King John, King Charles’ father, when he was captive in England. I think she has aquired land in Carcassonne and Beziers as part of that deal.

The net result for me is that I have a well paid position, I am effectively in command of King Charles standing army and, as a by product… it has given me access to every tournament in Europe. I have become European tournament champion… which pleases King Charles, pleases the Prince and pleases the men under my command.’

Joan moved towards John and put her arms around his neck. ‘Remember a long time ago I did give you my favour. Well, now is the time and place I want you to honour that favour.’

John stiffened. ‘But you are now married to the Prince, you are my future Queen.’

Joan pressed herself even closer against him.’ not the first time you have had to deal with that situation. Relax John, all I want is a kiss.’

She lifted her lips, raised her hands behind his head and pulled his head down.

‘Ohh! I have wanted to do that every since I first saw you, And I am not disappointed.’

She backed away, shook her body vigourously, and with both hands, first smoothed her dress and then pulled back her hair. ‘Good! And now to business, I am not here by accident.’

Joan reached out to hold John Stanley’s hand.  ‘For a long time I lived in Brittany, it was my home. Despite the Prince’s…and your… fabulous victory at Poitiers, after all our efforts, at the treaty of Calais, we gave the sovereignty of Brittany back to the Franks.

Now despite the fact that John Monfort, the recently appointed  Earl of Richmond, is clearly the rightful heir to the Dukedom, the Franks have devised an alternative candidate.

It is ridiculous. They have denied King Edward and my husband the throne of the Franks on the grounds that he is of the female line and yet they are now promoting someone of the female line to be the rightful Duke of Brittany. How can they possibly justify this?’ If they succeed in getting Charles de Blois appointed, we will loose all influence in Brittany.

John eyed her cautiously. ‘So what do you want me to do?’

‘The Prince can do nothing, nor can his father. After the treaty of Calais, Brittany became part of the Frankish realm…sphere of influence. For either of them to be seen to be involved would be the equivalent to declaring war.

John, I want you to go to Auray, which is just across the Gulf De Morbihan from my Château at Suscinio. Access the situation. Break your agreement with Charles the Frankish  King  and help the Earl of Richmond claim his rights.

John sighed. ‘The whole of my task has been to help Charles build a standing army paid for by taxes, so that the mercenaries can be ejected from the Frankish realm.

However one of my difficulties is that du Guesclin, the ultimate enemy of all of us, has been smart enough to understand what is happening. If I relinquish my position now it is possible, perhaps probable he will take my position. Is that what you want?

‘Not in the short term he won’t, I hear he is already in Brittany in  support of Charles du Blois, the opponent to the Earl of Richmond.Go to Auray’

‘Does The Prince understand, or support what you are asking me to do?’

‘Of course he does, John, go to Auray and destroy du Guesclin.’

‘You think I can do that.’

‘If anyone can do it you can.’

‘You must know that if I do this, I will probably be “persona non grata” in the Frankish realm. Amongst other things I will loose my ability to fight in Frankish tournaments. In twelve months time I will probably loose my position as Euopean Champion.

‘John, do this for us and you will be well rewarded.’ The Prince will see to it.’

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.