Newspapers used to distinguish very strictly between “Fact”and “Opinion”. What was reported as “News” was strictly “Fact” and all “Opinion” was edited out. Opinion was reserved for the relatively small promotion of the total news print in each issue as the “Editorial”.There are newspapers which still make the distinction. However  in the Twenty-first century this is it not the general rule. Newspapers are littered with opinion accompanied by little or no attempt to identify the facts which might or might not support that opinion.


Worse still politicians have formed an unholy alliance with some commercially minded scientists to promote causes or to oppose other causes where there is no attempt to justify the argument in rational terms only to quote consensus, widely held opinion.

Although my main objective was initially to write a romantic novel about Ximene Trencavel , my search for all the events and beliefs which might have helped formulate her beliefs, attitudes and ambitions,  has led me into a succession of areas where I can hardly believe the unjustifiable prejudice which surrounds many issues I want to investigate.


Just as I was writing this piece, one of the local newspapers. part of the Murdoch empire  made two simultaneous ( news?) announcements. One was that the web version of their newspapers would be subscription only and secondly there would be a radical revamp of content and presentation. herald-sun

So in the Melbourne Herald  Sun we now have content which used to be scattered indiscriminately though the paper gathered together and identified, not as news, but as opinion.   I wait with baited breath to discover wether the news pages no longer contain opinion dressed up as news.

Who’s opinion?

Also worthy of monitoring the fact that there are regular contributors to the Opinion section.  The objectives and underlying beliefs of  some of these contributors is often patently clear, but in other cases less so.  The use of regular contributors raises the question of how were they selected and wether they have been given editorial instructions to represent a particular point of view.

The Celts

What caused this outburst?  I was researching yet another aspect of  Ximene.  As part of building her relationship with John Stanley, Ximene expresses her interest in the Celts. At first I thought she was only making conversation but then I realised that to be true to her character Ximene would have to be really interested. She wanted to know all about the Celts, who they were, what they believed and how they apparently became relegated to second class citizens by the Romans, then the Saxons and finally by the Nomans. For her it becomes a parallel with fate of Occitan and she strives to lean more, searching to learn valuable lessons from history.

If I was to be able to write this effectively, I decided I must have a better understanding for myself . Unwittingly I stepped into an area of great controversy. The Celts are supposed to be Indo-Europeans like most of the other races in Western Europe. There is notable exeception to this general rule, the Basques.

The Ayrian Race

Recent historical belief is that the predecessers of Indo Euopeans spread eastward from their homeland  to eventually conquer India, in the process giving Indians the Sandskrit language. The Indo Europeans then, from that base,  re- emigrated to the west. All this could be related to the end of the Ice Age.

Many Indian thinkers today, believe that this is blatant, racially inspired nonsense, to avoid the concept of Indian superiority. The alternative they propose is that the origins of civilisation were in India and from there civilisation spread to the rest of the world.

The Hitler theory

The Celts could have course have been part of this pattern or they could have been part of something completely different.

It is all complicated by the fact that Hitler wanted to have the Celts as part of his super-race  and instituted “Celtic Studies” at German Universities, but the research revealed an absence of a Celtic presence in all but the very west  and south of Germany. Not that this has deterred white supremacists who still use the supposed integrity of Celtic blood lines to support their arguments in North America.


Just as I gritted my teeth and waded into all this, came the news that the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutenkarmen is a Celt! At least I think that is what has been discovered but many commentators seem to be very anxious to hedge their bets. Tutenkarmen’s patrilineal DNA apparently  has a very strong correlation with Celtic peoples.Around 98 % per cent of the men in Northern Island and Western Scotland share the same  patralinieal haplagroup!

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The current occupants of Eqypt and North Africa do not share this Haplagroup.

This piece of information apparently caused Afro Americans to demonstrate in the streets that the Pharohs were black and that this latest study was an attempt to steal their heritage.
Truth or consensus

Now comes an important question. Is what I have just discussed, fact or opinion?

Interestingly not every report on the DNA testing of Tutenkamen reveals the Celtic connection, many concentrate on the revelations about his immediate family and the fact that Neterferti was not his mother.  Those who do mention the Celtic connection come to the general conclusion that there must have been a common ancestor of both the Pharaohs and the Celts somewhere in the Caucusus.

Of course this neatly sidesteps the blindingly obvious, that Tutenkarmen, his immediate family and possibly many other rulers of Egypt were “Celts”, quite a separate race from the people they governed. I must admit that view is certainly opinion.

The Basque Anomoly

I was inclined to dismiss all this sidestepped when I  read that the “Tutankhamun” gene is found in greatest concentrations in  Northern Ireland but also in Northern Spain, the Basque country, Aquitaine , Gascony and Languedoc Rousillion. This area includes Occitan the nation Ximene is fighting to save. No wonder she empathises with John Stanley so quickly , they share the same Genes!

What is history

The topics in this line of thinking are currently  neither History or Pseudo history.  As with the results of Tutenkarmen’ s DNA tests, they are simply facts or opinion.  Opinion is the interpretation of facts when the facts themselves are not totally conclusive. Of course depending which version is adopted by Historians and Politicians, over time opinion ultimately  may become accepted history.

The point is that the shaping of responsible opinion should always be based on analysis of and extrapolation from facts. Responsible opinion never should be in contradiction with known facts. Consensus taken from the beliefs of the whole population or even from a segment of those with an interest in the topic in hand should never be given preference over hard evidence, or lack of it.


I have used the Tutankhmun episode to expose the difficulty of controlling the formation of responsible opinion.

As a side issue I enclose the contents of a complete Paper by Micheal Critchton the second time I have quoted him entitled “How Aliens Caused Global Warming” 

Finally a give some astonishing information about the way the Iran celebrated “two thousand years of the peacock throne”. It is all fact.  I would not dare to have an opinion.

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.