Vol I The Prisoner of Foix
Ximene Trencavel is proposed as the wife of Edward the Black Prince. She is determined to escape from her uncle Gaston de Foix so that she may have personal control over the negotiation of her marriage contract.
Her initial aim is to reclaim her inheritance, roughly coinciding with the state of Occitan,stolen from her family during the Albigensian crusade over one hundred years earlier. Her underlying objective is to create a haven for credenties those who believe in the cathar faith. As a first step to deliver against she insists on meeting the prince.
This puts her in contact with John Stanley and starts a very unconventional relationship with him.
It turns out that the Prince does not want to marry her. In turn she decides that the recreation of the state of Occitan is not her preferred option. A concerted effort to eliminate her driven by the evil Bertrand du Guesclin leads to John Stanley suffering a life threatening injury.
Vol II First knight of Occitan
Ximene rescues John and nurses him back to health in Château Mazarou, a Cathar safe house. As part of the recovery process, she builds her own strength and develops martial arts skills. They explore the countryside around the Château and find Ximenes family treasure.
To recover the valuable treasure they need help and it just so happens that the Black Prince has a sizable army nearby.
John leaves to seek the Princes help and whilst he is away Ximene is kidnapped by du Guesclin.
Using her newly developed martial arts skills she kills a man who tries to rape her whilst she is in custody. She is declared a witch and condemned to be burt at the stake, but is rescued by John.
The Black prince’s army recovers the treasure. Du Guesclin continues to attack Ximene. She changes her identity to hide from him.
The earl starts a relationship with Pipa
Ximene goes to england to negotiate the transfer of the treasure but John nmust remain in Aquitane to help the prince prepare for the battle of Poitiers.
As they part the make a pact to keep their relationship a secret. they promise each other they will remain indivisibly and invisibly entwined.
Pipa goes to paris as a spy working for the Earl
Volume III A Kings Ransom.
Charles de la Cerda is murdered in L’aigle. It is Charles of Navarre’s bizarre way of declaring a claim to the french throne. Gaston De Foix visits Charles in Rouen ( Dauphin’s stronghold) and together with Charles is captured by John II.(5th april 1356)
Ximene travels back to England with Joan of Kent and Don Fernandino. She decides that the way forward is to create a trading company. she knows this will be compatible with the prince’s own plans and uses joan to win the princes support.
As the negotiations over the transfer of the treasure procede, Joan persuades her to employ Thierry as fleet manager and Juan as manager of trade.
Ximene is living with the Lancasters at the savoy palace. She forms a friendship with the ten year old Phillipa of Lancaster. Ximene becomes aware of some disquiet about the Lancasters possessions and land ownership.
Meanwhile in france ximene arranges for John to prepare the princes army for an invasion of northern france. He is based in the Cognac region and gets to know the area well.
The invasion is a failure An attempt to link with Navarrese on north of river failed.(point de ce/tours 19 sept 1356) but the french army is defeated at Poitiers and king John II captured. Charles of Navarre escapes from Arleux.
Ximene’s own land transfers commence, shipbuilding starts in la rochelle. havens for cathars are created in La Rochelle, gillingham/salisbury/lugershall and Pau
Northern France ( but not the south) is consumed by civil war Charles v Dauphin. Joan saves John from the never ending conflict by making him her equerry. which she uses to control his love life. Parisians and Peasants v nobility. John II returns 1360-64
Ximene opts to side with Charles of navarre and gaston
maiden voyage house at shaftesbury
As the first part of her pact with john Ximene arranges for john to train the prince’s army becoming in the process a military strategist. In return she asks John to act as manager of estates she is given by king john in return for providing part of his ransom.
Volume IV The shadow without a Name.
Ximene’s commercial venture is successful.
She arranges for john to be the negotiant for the process of getting the lords affected by the treaty of bretigny to swear allegiance to the prince. In return she asks john to by properties on her behalf along the Garonne valley. John’s activities in doing this results in john being asked to marry marie. because she does not regard marriage to be of any great consequence she asks John to go ahead with the marriage but it becomes a disaster.
Ximene is working with john to take possession of the properties he has bought on her behalf and leans of his maritial difficulties. she attemps to lead them throgh a transition but Marie does not want to know.