– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Targets of Treachery’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
Griff Hosker was born in 1950 in Lancashire and attended a boy’s grammar school. After qualifying as an English and Drama teacher in 1972, he worked in the North East of England for the next 35 years. During that time he did write, mainly plays, pantos and musicals for the students at the three schools in which I worked. When he stopped teaching he set up his own consultancy firm and worked as an adviser in schools and colleges in the North East of England. The new Conservative Government ended that avenue of work and in 2010 he found that he had time on his hands; having started work at the age of 15 he found the lack of work not to my liking and used the time to research the Roman invasion of Britain and begin to create a novel. The result was The Sword of Cartimandua.
The next book in the bestselling series, Lord Edward’s Archer.
Captain Gerald has proven himself an unrivalled archer, but now he is married, he longs to enjoy life’s simpler pursuits, raising a family and tending his land.
But life on the borderlands brings complications, and King Edward has different ideas for Gerald. Prince Llywelyn of Wales will not toe the line, and once more, Gerald is chosen as royal envoy. He must cross the treacherous Welsh Marches to make strategic allegiances and request Llywelyn bend the knee to the English crown.
When those allegiances fail to protect England from Welsh rebellion, King Edward abandons diplomacy and seizes Welsh land to erect and capture castles, imbuing the landscape with intimidation.
As Gerald assists in this military tug-of-war, his thoughts are back home with his family, where personal vendettas threaten his own fortifications. Can he help wrest power back into English hands before the Welsh mob descends on all he holds dear?
It was January and when I returned to England, with the woman who would be my wife and my men from the Crusades, I could not know that the new King of England, my master, Edward, and his wife, Eleanor, would take two years to return to England. In contrast to our new king, my men and I could not wait to get home, for we had invested our money wisely in silks and spices. We hoped that when we reached England, we would make ten times the price we had paid for them in the Holy Land. Due to many events beyond our control, we made even more, for we returned to a land that was more lawless than when we had left.
Robert Burnell, who had been left in charge of the country when King Henry became ill, was a fine administrator, but he was not a ruthless man and that was what was needed. As a result, we feared for our safety on the roads of England.
We stayed in London for just three days, but it was necessary, for we had goods to sell and items to buy. We hired a carter to take out purchases and our belongings with us. We rode through our homeland, heading for my village of Yarpole, as though we were going to war. My men were protective of Mary, the slave I had rescued from the Turks, as well as me, their paymaster. I had earned two wounds in the war, one in my back and one in my leg. Neither had threatened my life and would not impair me as an archer, but my men were concerned that I should not suffer another before I reached home.
Sarah, my housekeeper, and her son, James, my steward, were delighted to see me but Father Paul, my priest, was overjoyed when he saw I had brought a bride-to-be, for he had long thought that I should not be a bachelor.
The object of my affections, Mary, was overawed by it all; it was as warm a welcome as she could have hoped, and it contrasted with the weather. Although the weather in England was clement for the time of year, she had been brought up in hot climes and she found it almost bone-chillingly cold. That first evening, as we sat in my hall, having enjoyed a hastily prepared but nonetheless delightful meal, we two spoke. Sarah and James were preparing a chamber for her. My priest had made it quite clear that Mary had to be alone before we wed.
“I am so lucky, Gerald. I have a home for the first time in my life and it is a magnificent home. You are surrounded by the best of people, but yet I fear that I will let you down.”
“How can you do that? All you have to do is to be yourself.”
“You are a great lord. You told me that you were an archer, but I should have known from the way the queen spoke of you that you are more than that. You are close to the man who rules this land and I know that I will have to meet great ladies. They will see that I was a slave, and it will reflect badly upon you.”
I took her hand and kissed it. “I told you on the voyage home of my life. There are no secrets between us. I am a humble archer who has now been made a gentleman. I have done things which might have seen me hanged if events turned out differently. All that you endured was no fault of yours! No more talk of letting me down.” I waved a hand around the room. “While the banns are being read and we prepare for the wedding, give thought to how you would like to decorate our hall. I am a man who has neither the experience nor the eye to furnish a hall. In a day or two, we will ride to Wigmore and I will introduce you to Baron Mortimer and Lady Maud. He is the lord of the manor, but Lady Maud is the one who runs it! I think that you should meet. You will get on!”
I was proved correct. I knew not why, but Lady Maud had great affection for me, and it was not just because I had done great service for her. I believe she saw me as another child. She took to Mary immediately and as soon as she heard our news, she whisked her off to meet her ladies and to hear the details of our romance. Lady Maud ruled this part of the Marches because she knew all that was going on. The lords of the land told their wives their innermost thoughts and none could keep that information from Lady Maud.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds