Vol 3 John of Gaunt character sketch

At the age of twenty , two years younger than John Stanley , the Duke of Lancaster, John of Gaunt is Alys’s counterpart, a male sexual predator. He is third in line to the throne and full of pride, self confidence and ambition, he is not happy with that situation. He is already married to Blanche of Lancaster. That marriage has brought him weath and a dukedom but more importantly to him the Sangreal for his children. Before the marriage he consulted  the same French Geneologists who had declared Philip de Valois as the rightful King of France and discovered that Blanche’s Great grandmother Blanche d’Artois shared the same boodline as the Valois. On Ximene’s arrival in England he is the first to realise how large her landownings are going to be and set about “Assisting” her with the management of the lands, with the motivation of getting close to Ximene. He supports his fathers liason with Alyse and in quick succession he tries to  install both Ximene and her friend Phillipa de Roet as his mistresses. He is  a ruthless opportunist but has supported Ximene because it suits his own ends

The following takes place after the end of this present book  ‘ The shadow without a name’ but is included as some of these later traits probably show earlier.

Lancaster went on to marry Constance of Castille, declaring himself King of Castile, but he never succeeded in wresting the title from Trastamara.  Finally he took Phillipa’s younger sister Catherine as a mistress but by this stage Ximene was running him not the other way round.  He finally married Catherine and had her children by him legitimised. Lancaster was always a problem  for Ximene. He  never totally suceesful in anything he attempted and became increasingly bitter about his lack of success. He then asks Ximene to mother a child and hide it away so that it might be merged into the Lancastrian bloodline at some time in the future

When Ximene agrees to the marriage of  Isabella of Castile  to Edmund , Duke of York, his brother, a love match Ximene encouraged, instead of “saving” isabella for his son Henry, Lancaster never finds it possible to forgive her,  telling her that what she had done guaranteed civil war. As its turns out he is right.

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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.