Entranced by History

Dear Readers,

I’ve been buried in the thirteenth century the past few months, reading LeGoff’s Saint Louis, a comprehensive look at the life of Louis IX of France; Sivery’s Marguerite de Provence: Une Reine au temps des Cathedrales, an investigation of the life of Louis IX’s wife, Marguerite; Goldstone’s Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe; Bartlett’s The Last Crusade: The Seventh Crusade and the Final Battle for the Holy Land; Wedgwood’s translation of the Memoirs of the Lord of Joinville; and a real treat: Jones’s novel: Four Sisters, All Queens, about the four sisters from Provence who became Queens in thirteenth century Europe.

I’ve dug into this because the Inquisition soldier in my book Door in the Sky was based upon a minor Baron in thirteenth century northern France, Hugues de Baucay. The real Hugues de Baucay and his brother Guy went on the Seventh Crusade with Louis the IX of France (I got this from Histoire de Touraine, 1790). In the next book of my Mother of All series, The Thorn Moon, the Inquisition soldier Henri flees his former masters across Christendom. The Templars engineer the Inquisition soldier’s participation in the disastrous Seventh Crusade of Louis IX of France. I found that Louis IX acted as king in the shadow of his mother, Blanche of Castille, but went on crusade against her express wishes. On this crusade, he took his wife, Queen Marguerite, as well as his brothers and their wives. This seemed insane for that time. How could they hope to defend the women and their retinue? But it was the presence of his queen that in the end saved Louis from a more lengthy imprisonment by the Saracens after he was captured because she ably obtained the agreed upon half of the ransom for his speedy release.

The Inquisition soldier Henri is forced to take the woman who saved his life in Ireland, a woman he has sworn to protect, on crusade with him. Henri had taken sacred vow to never give into a spell again. He had given in to a spell in Door in the Sky and as a result of his entrancement, many people died. However, the woman he has sworn to protect is under a curse she inherited from her mother, a spell crafted by the archangels, so Henri’s task is burdened from its very inception. Yet this curse bears at its core the very means for his salvation.

I have many more sources to mine for this book and thanking my lucky stars that I have a library card for the University of California library so I can have access to a lot of books covering the events I need to have in The Thorn Moon. Though my books are paranormal romance fantasy-history, I like to get pedigrees for my characters (really minor players on the stage of history) and try to get the facts as correct as I can from the sources I can find.

Right now I’m looking for what Cyprus was like in 1248, as my heroine spends the winter there as one of Queen Marguerite’s retinue, serving the Queen’s sister Beatrice. I’m also searching for more sources on Damietta Egypt in 1249. One source says that after it was returned to the Saracens, it was razed and the city was rebuilt further inland so it would not be so vulnerable to crusaders. Alphonse de Poitiers, one of Louis IX’s brothers, was a friend of my Inquisition soldier so I have to sink into a new book looking at the life of Alphonse.

Happy reading!


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