Centre of the World


The immediately obvious feature of this line is that it runs from the Upper Nile to the high Himalayas. Again it reinforces the concept that Persepolis is the centre of what were the extremities of the Persian world.


soleb On the upper nile the line crosses the Egytian temple of Soleb, which now lies within Sudan.

soleb-1870 The temple is in historic Nubia. The Temple is atributed to Amenhotep III and was dedicated to Amun Re. It was renewed by Tutankhamun and is famous for the fact that it was guarded by the Prudhoe lions which now reside in the British Museum. once again a recognition of another sacred site.


peshawar Peshawar is, on the other hand,  located in a valley high in the  Himalayas.  Initially I though the significance of this line was that it marked the eastern end of the Khyber Pass. The pass is the ancient way to obtain access to the Indian continent without the need to cross the Indus, which often could be a hazardous occupation.  Thus once again the pass could be seen as another gateway to Persia.

king Initially I ignored Peshawar, dismissing it as a frontier town for the British Raj, which in my youth was often dramatised in films such as ” King of the Kyber Rifles”

Ghor Khatri

peshawar-centre When I  followed the line however having recognised the existence of the golf course and the cricket ground, I noticed a most unusual place name in Google Earth “Old Walled city” The line did not pass through this area of Peshawar but it attacted my attention to a complex of buildings just to the south of it.

ghor-khatri-excavations I discovered this was the site of one of a famous acheological dig which has uncovered level after level of historic development on this site.

Aging studies on the site show that relics dates back to approximately the same time as the lifetime of Siddartha Gautama ( Buddah).

Buddah found enlightenment whilst sitting under the Bodhi tree.

Buddism flourished during the reign of the Kushan Emporer Kanishka.  The centre of the Buddist religion became Peshawar and it was from here that Buddism was spread to China and the far east.

Pipal Mandi

ghor-khatri There were two special places for Buddists in Peshawar.

Firstly the great stupa which housed Buddah’s bowl and perhaps Buddah’s relics.  There are several eye witness accounts which have survived in Buddist literature which estimate its height to be around 400 feet. For reference that is bigger than St Pauls Cathederal and by far the largest building of the ancient world.

Proffessor Ahad Dani puts the site of the great stupa local to Ghor Khatri, though there are other opinions on the exact location.

Secondly a cutting from the Bodhi tree was planted in Peshawar. This time there is no doubt about the location the tree was at Pipal Mandi.The tree itself was a place of Buddist pilgrimage. It grew to a great height and three seventy foot Buddah’s sat underneath it’s branches.

As can bee seen, the line from Persepolis runs through both Pipal Mandi and Ghor Khatri.  Taking all the other alignments into account I think it is probable that Professor Dani is right – the site of  the great stupa would be at Ghor Khatri!

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.