THE LION AND THE LEOPARD, bOOK 1

 ISBN  978-1-61417-911-5

tIME: 1314-1330

Maria Rendell has tried to be a dutiful daughter and later, a dutiful wife, which should be easy. For hasn’t she married a knight about whom minstrels sing, a knight who saved the life of Edward II’s half-brother, Richard of Sussex, at the Battle of Bannockburn?

But Maria’s husband, Phillip Rendell, cannot happily settle down as husband and lord of Fordwich Castle. Maria fears Phillip has the mark of Cain upon him for he is always seeking something…more, something just beyond his reach. And while Maria desperately loves her husband, she is also drawn to their liege lord, Richard of Sussex. As he is to her.

After Phillip abandons Maria to indulge his wanderlust, she turns to Richard. Their passionate affair unfolds against the background of a crumbling kingdom. Edward II’s barons rebel against him and execute his favorites; across the channel, his wife, Isabella, the She-Wolf of France, and her lover ready an invasion.

While Richard remains faithful to his half-brother, he is one of the few.  King Edward is captured and imprisoned. As Richard and Maria make ready to flee to safety, Phillip returns, unaware that his wife and his lord have betrayed him. 

The day of reckoning is at hand--not only for Maria, Richard, and Phillip, but for that most unfortunate of Plantagenet kings, Edward II.

A KNIGHT THERE WAS,  BOOK  2

ISBN-978-1-61417-913-9

TIME: 1348-1361

 

Golden knights living in a golden age.

 That’s how young Matthew Hart views his prince, his king, his  father—and himself. Blessed by God, set apart from ordinary men. Invincible. Untouchable.  The Warrior King, Edward III, who is often compared to King Arthur, has bested the French at Crecy (in the beginnings of what we call the Hundred Years’ War) and Matthew is eager to prove his own valor on the battlefield.

Determined to wrest France’s crown for himself, Edward III sends his son the Black Prince once more to harry the French. At Poitiers, the badly outnumbered prince and his army defeats France’s superior forces.  As if there was ever any doubt!

For Margery Watson, the offspring of an illicit union between a peasant woman and a lord (The Lion and the Leopard, Book 1), life is more difficult. After her mother is killed during the Black Death, Margery's  peasant stepbrother and his companion, the revolutionary priest, John Ball, hie her away to London where she is employed by a wealthy goldsmith.

While Margery feels loyalty to her stepbrother and to the plight of the common man, she is also drawn to the knight, Matthew Hart, with whom she begins a secret affair.

Unlike Margery,  Matthew does not agonize over the differences in their stations, and after she nurses him back to health following a particularly brutal campaign,  persuades her to openly live with him as his mistress.

But fate has other ideas... Betrayal, Margery's forced marriage to the  odious goldsmith, a scheming would-be lover to  Matthew and his withdrawal to the opulent court of Bordeaux where he  joins his liege,  Edward the Black Prince.  

Until the stars once more re-align to bring the lovers together

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WITHIN A FOREST DARK, BOOK 3

ISBN 978-1-61417-915-3

TIME: 1367-1376

Edward III, England's second Arthur, has grown old and indifferent to the needs of his subjects. Edward's  son,  the Black Prince, is plagued by a debilitating illness. Matthew Hart assures himself that past glories will be reclaimed with just one more battle, one more chevauchee, but the grand and glorious days of Crecy, Poitiers, all those wars of a long season, seem increasingly unrecapturable. 

Matthew  and his beloved Margery Watson reunite. Margery's odious goldsmith husband conveniently dies--or is most conveniently poisoned--allowing the lovers to openly live together. In 1370, just as Margery discovers she's pregnant, Matthew must once more leave on campaign.

There will be no glory in what will become known as the Siege of Limoges, when the French city refuses to open its gates to the Black Prince. After the Prince destroys Limoges, he order all its townsfolk, including women and children, to be massacred. He chooses Matthew Hart to execute his order.

Haunted by the atrocity that he himself headed, Matthew returns to England where he and Margery seek to retrieve some semblance of happiness with their infant son. But for Matthew there are so many losses--the death of his father, the death of his younger brother during campaign, the death of the Black Prince and finally, in 1376, the death of his beloved  Edward III.

With a child king, Richard II, ascending to the  throne, are better days ahead for England and our lovers? Or will Matthew and Margery increasingly ponder  the implications behind the saying, "LIfe though pleasant is transitory, even as is the Cherry Fair?"

 

 

 

A CHILD UPON THE THRONE, BOOK 4  

TIME: 1377-1381 

 

 

As a Kingdom Trembles With Revolt, a Knight and His Lady Must Choose Between Duty and Love

With a child king upon the throne and England's lucrative martial victories a faded memory, Knight Matthew Hart wants only to reunite with his long-time lover, Margery Watson, and their son, to live out his days far away from the royal court.

But Margery's loyalties are torn. To settle down with the knight she's loved since childhood or commit treason and side with the commoners overburdened with servitude and taxes.

When revolt sparks among the masses, thousands march on London, vowing to overthrow all those in power.

Now Margery must choose between her place in society with a knight she loves and her true beliefs about freedom, justice and equality.

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LORD AMONG THE RUINS, BOOK 5

TIME: 1381-1396

All those who earn the wrath of Richard II, treacherous son of England’s beloved Black Prince, risk their lands and their heads. So Matthew Hart, powerful lord of the north, has learned. More interested in political intrigue than wise rule, King Richard marries a seven-year-old, ensuring that England will have no heir to the throne. As the former boy king approaches his third decade, wherein he likens himself to Jesus Christ beginning his ministry, Matthew Hart and England’s other great lords struggle to deflect Richard from his more destructive impulses, which increasingly threaten the kingdom itself. Do Matthew and his peers have the courage to speak against Richard when the king ignores the established rule of law in order to annihilate perceived enemies? Do they dare rise against a ruler who they privately whisper has gone mad?

 Against the background of attempted assassinations, civil war and political intrigue, Matthew Hart, his beloved wife, Margery Watson, and their offspring live and love and war their way through the last years of the fourteenth century.

 

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