Synopsis 600 words

 Tutored by Nathan King

600 words

A love story set against a background of 14th century religion, wars and politics.

Ximene has been educated as a Cathar, a religion in which  sees nothing sinful in the giving or receiving sexual pleasure which it regards as simply a sample of what reunion with the Good God would be like.

Cathars are regarded as heretics by the Church of Rome. as a result the Cathars have  long been subjected  to a programme of persecution, torture and burning at the stake.

Ximene  determines to fight against oppression she comes to see this as her destiny and searches for alliances with those who might help her achieve her ends.

Ximene’s uncle, Gaston, Compte de Foix, has been attempting to auction her hand in marriage around the royal houses of Europe. The attraction is that Ximene is the heiress to vast tracts of land,

One of the contenders for her hand is the Black Prince.

John Stanley, is son of a forester. His journey starts when he displays his ingenuity as a hunter to the Black Prince, heir to the English throne. John is recruited into the Black Princes’ army in Aquitaine.

After a series of adventures he is promoted to be a member of the Princes’ personal bodyguard, the Lions of Aquitaine. This brings him in contact with Ximene.

Charles ,  of the Franks—the Dauphin— son on Jean II is determined to stop the marriage of Ximene and the Black Prince and enters into an unholy alliance with the Church to eliminate Ximene.  Their chief agent is an evil man called Bertrand du Guesclin

Ximene insists on seeing the Prince personally before agreeing to the marriage. John is appointed as her personal bodyguard for the duration of the meeting.

Ximene sees in John Stanley someone who has the potential to become her perfect knight.  She then attempts to persuade him to help her escape completely, away from the influence of both the Compte de Foix and the Black Prince. She  believes that only by gaining total independence will she able to negotiate a marriage contract which allows her to fulfil her destiny.

Ximene attempts to seduce John  to secure his allegiance. It proves to be difficult as John has no idea how to respond.

 Ximene arranges for him to take part in a Cathar Transition, which gives young people practical experience how to give and receive pleasure during sexual activity.

Joan of Kent, is the Black Princes’ long- time lover, who has an ambition to marry the Prince  herself and become the next Queen of England.  In the background she works tirelessly  to  throw Ximene and John together in hope John will distract Ximene from a marriage to the Prince.

Joan  persuades the Prince to declare Ximene to be the head of the independant state of Occitan,  thus allowing John to move his allegiance from the Prince to Ximene; from England to Occitan.

Du Guesclin  makes several attempts to murder Ximene. She is well protected by John Stanley, but proves she can, if she has to, protect herself,

Together John and Ximene face continuing adventure and danger. As their relationship develops they ask themselves if they can learn to love? An what kind of love will it be, to survive the most traumatic of circumstances?

Eventually John is critically injured. Ximene exposes herself to considerable danger to find him on a battlefield and vows—whatever it takes—to save his life.


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.