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By Sharon Kay Penman

July 1193. King Richard Lionheart lies in a German felony, held for ransom via the emperor. His mom, Dowager Queen Eleanor, ransacks England for gold to shop for his freedom, whereas his more youthful brother, John, plots with King Philippe of France to make sure that he rots and dies in chains.

When a ransom fee vanishes, Eleanor swiftly dispatches younger Justin de Quincy to enquire. In wild, attractive Wales, his devotion to the queen should be supremely tested–as an boastful border earl, a cocky Welsh prince, a fascinating girl, and a traitor of the private dye welcome him with fake smiles and lethal conspiracies. The queen’s treasure is nowhere to be discovered, yet assassins are far and wide . . . and blood runs pink within the dragon’s lair.

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Whilst he used to be advised that the bishop was once unique site visitors, he used to be too demanding to attend and insisted that he’d desire yet a couple of moments of the bishop’s time. He used to be nonetheless arguing whilst the bishop’s steward occurred via. One look at Justin’s face and Martin took over, smoothing ruffled feathers at the bishop’s employees and supplying to allow Aubrey be aware of of his arrival. Justin agreed to stay within the front corridor. The final time he and his father had met, it used to be within the bishop’s personal chambers above the good corridor. He watched Martin disappear into the nook stairwell, yet he used to be too ailing comfortable to take a seat. Noises from the good corridor indicated that dinner may quickly be served, and the doorway corridor was once crowded with petitioners, ready with way more endurance than Justin within the faint wish that the bishop may perhaps see them. in basic terms Aubrey’s inner most chapel provided solitude and silence, however it used to be in that very same chapel that Justin had faced his father on a frigid December eve, and he had no desire to revisit both the scene or that evening. He was once nonetheless pacing restlessly whilst the bishop burst out of the stairwell. Justin grew to become in shock: he’d by no means visible his father circulation so precipitately. way back to he may possibly be mindful, Aubrey were conscious of his dignity, striving to take care of an air of deliberation and ritual every time he seemed in public. Now he used to be panting, flushed and agitated, even slightly baggy. ‘What are you doing right here? ’ he demanded. ‘I have highborn site visitors. you want to depart without delay! ’ Justin flushed, too. ‘I am the following at the queen’s behalf,’ he acknowledged, in a low voice that was once now not as regular as he could have loved. ‘I want a letter dropped at London, and that's my basically reason behind –’ Aubrey gave no indication that he’d even heard. ‘You can't stay,’ he insisted, ‘for they’ll quickly be getting into the corridor. Be long gone, when there's nonetheless time! ’ Justin’s anger used to be fuelled via harm. He was once used to being handled as a trifling stranger by means of his father at any time when there have been different eyes to determine them, yet Aubrey had by no means rejected him so vehemently, as though the very sight of him used to be shameful. ‘This is an pressing topic and i'm going nowhere until eventually you listen me out! ’ Aubrey glanced in the direction of the nice corridor, then grabbed Justin’s arm and jerked him in the direction of the chapel. He shoved him in the course of the doorway, hissing, ‘Stay there until eventually I come again and don't enable your self be noticeable! ’ Justin stumbled, regaining his stability as Aubrey slammed the door. His face burning, he stared in disbelief at that closed door. His first impulse used to be to stalk out, to place as many miles among himself and his father as he may possibly, yet logic instructed him that if he bolted he’d have persevered this humiliation for not anything. He slipped his hand into his tunic and drew out letters, dealing with them as gingerly as though they have been sizzling to touch: one for the queen and one to the abbess at Godstow, with a sealed enclosure for Claudine. The chapel used to be deep in shadows, lit through a unmarried rushlight in a wall sconce. solar filtered via a stained-glass window in shades like jewels: ruby, emerald, sapphire.

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