NEW BOOK: The Queen of Four Kingdoms
On the advice of her agent and others, Princess Michael has divided her long manuscript for her first historical novel into two books, the second to be published a year after the first. Book I of “Knights of Betrayal” has now been re-named “The Queen of Four Kingdoms” and Book II will follow on with developments to the story. Although the second is a sequel, both books will be able to stand alone, although the second book solves many a mystery remaining at the end of the first.
The story in both books takes place in the first half of the 15th century in France. The queen of the title is Yolande, daughter of the king of Aragon (not yet joined to Castile to make Spain). Aragon and Anjou, a royal French duchy belonging to a first cousin of the king of France, Charles VI, have been fighting over the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily for some time. The widowed queen of Aragon and the widowed duchess of Anjou decide to put an end to the fighting by marrying their children, Yolande and Louis II. The marriage is a success but the fighting does not stop although Louis II is crowned making Yolande Queen of Sicily, Naples and Jerusalem and also considered the rightful Queen of Aragon.
Meanwhile, in France, two camps emerge, those of the king’s brother, the duke of Orléans and his first cousin, the duke of Burgundy. Their hostilities lead to Civil War in France. Henry V of England seizes this opportunity and advances into France, resulting in the English defeat of the much larger French forces at Agincourt. Thereafter Yolande and her husband do all they can to support the often insane French king against his cousin of Burgundy who craves the throne enough to ally himself to England and dispatch the first two dauphins of France. Yolande has the king’s third son and determines to keep him safe from Burgundy. This book tells how she does that by marrying him aged ten to her daughter aged eight, how she trains and encourages him to become a king - and tries to stem his worst excesses while supporting her husband and her eldest son in their attempts to rule their kingdom of Naples.
There are many colourful and also dangerous characters involved in a number of side plots during this superstitious time during the Middle Ages, culminating in the story of Joan of Arc whose efforts result in the coronation of Yolande’s son-in-law, Charles VII. It is Yolande who has to struggle to make a king of this unworthy prince and her battles with his inclination to dissipation show her force of character and wisdom. Her children’s lives intermingle with hers as she helps them rule their territories in France while supporting not only the weak young king but also her husband and then her son to rule in Naples.
Before the end of Yolande’s dramatic life, she realizes that the reason for her son-in-law dissolving into degeneracy could be that he has never been in love. He is consistently gracious to his wife but does not heed her advice nor loves her and his debauchery knows no bounds. His inclination is for beauty and this is the one quality she lacks. Yolande searches for a suitable and beautiful young lady to carry on advising the king to worthy pursuits after her death, and one with whom he could experience the wonder of love. The sequel to “The Queen of Four Kingdoms” deals with the chosen young woman, her story and its dramatic consequences.
“The Queen of Four Kingdoms” will be presented at London Book Fair in manuscript form by the author’s agent, Charlotte Robertson of Aitken Alexander.
Availability: Out Soon
Release Date: 2012