If a plot is relatively complex it is sometimes difficult to give readers enough information for them to understand the background to or the implications of actions or relationships or both. Writers joke about “Info Dumps”.

In order to give background information which helps the reader or viewer’s comprehension,the bad guy’s will sometimes brag about their sinister schemes to a helpless hero.

This device was used in many of the James Bond films.

The apparent motivation is usually to show how clever they are, and justification for doing it is that as the hero will soon be dead there is no harm in telling him(or her) every detail of the evil plan.

Stories concerned with unearthing a mystery will often include extended discussion about the facts to hand and the implications. This is the reason that detectives, all the way back to the original Sherlock Holmes had a friend or associate with whom thought process, observations and conclusions could be shared.

The technical term  for the release of this kind of information is “Exposition”.

Insights/18/basil-exposition/131 In the Austin Powers Series, which perhaps had too many writers “in jokes”, there was a character named “Basil Exposition” whose only role was to info dump, deliberately as a parody of the provision of a lot of background information in one concentrated sequence.

The opposite to “info dumping” and therefore admirable from a writers point of view is “Incluing”. In this process the information required is distributed seamlessly throughout the text, as opposed to stopping the story to give the necessary information. The key word here is required!

Some information is necessary for readers to understand the world of the story. It is how much information is provided and how that information is delivered that is the issue.

Our “Insights” under “Ximene’s World” provide an opportunity to share additional information, perhaps more than is strictly necessary, certainly more that will be included in Ximene’s stories but all relevant to an understanding of  my motivation for writing about Ximene or a desire to immerse yourself deeply in her world. They will tell you little about the plot but much about the world in which Ximene finds herself and the background to many of the things Ximene believes.

Much of my information has been drawn from the internet but a substantial amount has come from published books.  It is my intention to give information on all my sources.

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.