Banners of Gold (Alix of Wanthwaite Series Book 2) by Pamela Kaufman
English | 2020| General Fiction/Classics | Historical | ePUB | 4.9 MB
The enchanting Alix of Wanthwaite returns in a suspenseful and richly textured adventure in which nothing less than the future of England is at stake.
Alix is home at her beloved estate on the Scottish border when King Richard’s soldiers march into her castle and demand to take her to the Continent with them. King Richard has been captured while on Crusade, and Alix is among the nobles whose lives will be collateral for the king’s ransom. But when she’s delivered to Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard’s mother, she is dumbfounded to learn that the queen has other plans for her. King Richard needs an heir, Eleanor tells Alix. Repulsed by his queen, a homely religious fanatic, he has told his mother that the only woman he wants is the one he met on Crusade, when she was disguised as a boy. Richard wants Alix to be his mistress and the mother of the next Plantagenet king. Now a beguiling and irrepressible young woman, Alix faces more tribulations–and romance–on this trip to Europe, where affairs of the state and affairs of the heart are intricately intertwined.
She then repeated a tale I’d heard all through my childhood but had never found so real before, how Scots, painted with woad and berserking like savages had raided Wanthwaite and captured forty prisoners. The hostages, among them Annie, had marched naked through the snow to their deaths.
“ ’Tis a warning, Milady, and ye must heed it.”
“Aye, it couldn’t be coincidence.”
I shouldn’t have agreed. My doughty nurse, who is tough as a wild boar, waxed to a morbid frenzy, sobbing and groaning in ever louder wails until I became alarmed. I tried to undo the mischief.
“Be brave, Margery. Remember that I was only eleven when I left before and came back safely.”
She blew her nose on her barmcloth and gradually gained control.
“I’m sorry, honey-lips. I’ll take hold in a moment, but…”
I stroked her thin hair.
“But it’s different, Alix. Last time ye were forced to flee Wanthwaite for yer life. But why should ye go now? To rot in prison fer that worthless king? Look how he abused ye before. The whole scheme be daft.”
“Aye,” I agreed forlornly.
“Last time ye had Enoch to protect ye.”
I couldn’t deny it.
“Fer yer sake—and fer his—I hope ye’re together soon.”
Wind yowled at the base of the tower, and suddenly I saw my mother at the snow-rimmed window as she’d stood that last night, moaning and praying for my father—both of them dead the next day. Where was Enoch now? How grave was his wound?
“I love him!” I cried vehemently, and my voice echoed like a thin shadow.
“Of course ye do, sweets.”
The firebrand went out, leaving only a glowing ash, but we didn’t move. I felt the power of her argument, though I needed no omen to strengthen my resolve, but what could I do? My few Scots against sixteen armed mercenaries, the weight of that seal…King Richard. Who could have anticipated the long reach of the king’s wrath?