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Saturday, 11 October 2014

The Adulteress - New Novel coming soon

This story is called The Adulteress and is set in the twelfth century, when England was in the throes of a civil war, known as the Anarchy, which went on for nineteen years. My story, however, does not cover the entire period, but centres around the Empress Maud landing in England in 1139 in an attempt to claim back the throne from her cousin, King Stephen.
When King Henry I died, he left no male heir, his only son having been drowned in the White Ship disaster. He named his daughter, Matilda (also known as Maud) as his heir and secured the allegiance of his most powerful nobles to the succession.
Maud was married as a child to the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry V, and kept the title of Empress after his death. She was later married to Geoffrey of Anjou and it was from Anjou that she secured enough support, thanks to her illegitimate half-brother, Robert Earl of Gloucester, to invade England.
Although known as both Maud and Matilda, to avoid confusion, I have called her Maud throughout the story, since Stephen's Queen was also called Matilda.

A painting of Maud, escaping from
Oxford Castle in the Snow
My tale concerns David, Earl of Ravenscroft and a close advisor to the King. While away at court, with Maud's armies seen close to his own house, his soldiers are ordered to search the whole town, including his house. But David's world is shattered when the captain comes to him with the news that a naked man was found in his countess' bed.
This story is based around factual events. Maud did land in England in 1139 with the intention of waging war to regain her throne; she did defeat Stephen in 1141 and briefly became Queen of England, although she could not persuade the Archbishop to crown her. The people of London objected to her haughty manner and she was chased out of London. Stephen's Queen, Matilda, raised an army against Maud and her half-brother, Robert of Gloucester, was captured and swapped for Stephen.
The war raged on and Stephen's armies kept Maud and her followers under siege in Oxford Castle until she had herself lowered from the battlements in the dead of night and in the snow. She managed to travel many miles that night, so would not have had time to stop off anywhere, but that part is fiction.
Here is the first chapter. I hope you enjoy it.

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