The Last Knight

The Last Knight

4.0 3
by Candice Proctor
     
 

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Spirited Attica d'Alerion will do anything to protect her beloved brother from danger. To warn him of a political betrayal that could lead to war, Attica disguises herself as a young courtier and bravely rides into the arms of destiny.

Damion de Jarnac is the black knight, a rogue horseman bound by no code of honor except his own blind ambition. Working for the

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Overview

Spirited Attica d'Alerion will do anything to protect her beloved brother from danger. To warn him of a political betrayal that could lead to war, Attica disguises herself as a young courtier and bravely rides into the arms of destiny.

Damion de Jarnac is the black knight, a rogue horseman bound by no code of honor except his own blind ambition. Working for the aging King Henry, Damion scouts the hills of Brittany on a dangerous mission to expose the treachery of Philip of France. There he joins forces with a courageous lad-- who turns out to be the most intriguing woman he has ever met. But to win the beautiful Attica's love, Damion must slay the demons of an unforgivable past. And to save his doomed country, he must make a deadly decision that could break his lady's noble heart. . . .

Editorial Reviews

Romantic Times
Power and passion are the hallmarks of this extraordinary writer...Proctor is a writer to treasure.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The year is 1189, and amid the swirling intrigues against ailing King Henry Plantagenet appear two spirited young people, each intent on a personal mission. Damion de Jarnac is a fearless rogue knight bound to his code of honor and by loyalty to his king. Attica d'Alerion, betrothed to a 13-year-old boy to cement a political alliance, honors family loyalty. Thus, when she learns a plot against the king may endanger her beloved brother, Stephen, she dons the disguise of a young boy and rides to warn him. Damion rescues Attica from a brigand ambush and agrees to escort her to her destination when he hears of the plot against Henry. He quickly realizes he is escorting a fearless young lady instead of a lordling, and a tumultuous romance develops between these strong-willed individuals. The book rings with clinks of armor, political intrigues, galloping chases and near-death escapes. As plot and tension escalate, Damion unhappily comes to see that Attica's brother is a traitor to the king, and he fears the decision he must make will forever banish Attica from his life. Proctor, a consummate storyteller, adeptly captures the splendor, romance and brutality of medieval Europe. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804119306
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/28/2000
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
4.12(w) x 6.84(h) x 1.09(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chateauhaut-sur-Vilaine, eastern Brittany, 1189

The two white candles on the altar filled the night with a golden,
flickering light that shimmered over the painted walls and high vaulted ceiling of the empty chapel. Letting go a quiet sigh of relief, Attica d'AlÈrion dipped her fingertips in the carved stone font of holy water near the door and went to the rail.

She was glad to find the chapel deserted. In the four months that had passed since her betrothal brought her here to the household of the viscomte and viscomtesse de Salers, the chapel had become a place of refuge. The chapel and the battlements.

Sometimes, when storm clouds bunched low and threatening in the sky, when lightning split the darkness and the wind blew fierce and wild, Attica would climb to the battlements of Chateauhaut's new stone keep and let the wind whip at her hair and batter her face until she felt as if the savage night had stolen the very breath from her body. She would be filled with such an exhilaration, such a reckless excitement, such nameless, soul-deep yearnings that the sensation both stirred and frightened her. She didn't allow herself to go there often.

And so she had come here tonight, to the chapel, where she found not wild temptation but peace. Kneeling before the ornate altar with its carved and gilded front, she made the sign of the cross and bowed her head to say a
Credo.

She prayed for the easy passing of the Parisian courtier who lay dying in the guest chamber beside the chapel. She sought God's protection for her brother serving as a household knight with the beleaguered English king,
Henry II, as he prepared for the peace conference at La FertÈ-Bernard. She asked a blessing for her father, old and spending most of his time now in his favorite hunting lodges in Normandy. As an afterthought, she added her mother's name, although she squirmed when she did it, the glazed tiles of the floor feeling cold and hard through the fine wool of her skirt.

Again she hesitated, her gaze lifting to the white plastered eastern wall behind the altar. This was the only section of the chapel yet to be painted. Yvette--the viscomtesse de Salers--was still arguing with the monk from Pierreforte l'abbaye about the subject to be depicted. The good brother thought this section of the chapel should portray the Last Judgment, except that Yvette had a pronounced aversion to the Last Judgment and wanted God Triumphant in Heaven. Privately, Attica agreed with the brother, but she'd had enough sense to keep her mouth shut. Not only could Yvette be vindictive, but she had a long memory. And in one short month Attica would be marrying Yvette's son, a thirteen-year-old boy nicknamed Fulk the Fat.

Attica felt a welling of complex, unwanted emotions at the thought of the wedding day looming before her. Fulk was six years younger than she and sadly inclined to sulk. He particularly resented the fact that the top of his head didn't even come up to Attica's chin--something he believed was more her fault than his, for she was far too tall and thin for a woman.
She hoped he would grow. Quickly.

The melted wax around the wick of one of the candles hissed, filling the air with the scent of hot beeswax and sending up a spiral of dark smoke.
Ducking her head, she begged God's forgiveness for her wayward and rebellious nature and asked a blessing for the house of Salers. She saw no need to particularize.

Her duty fulfilled, Attica closed her eyes and let the peace of this place wash over her. Her breathing slowed until it seemed as if the peace became a pulsing thing, as if her heart were beating in harmony with the universe, as if she could feel--

"Ahem."

The harsh and decidedly artificial sound of someone clearing his throat behind her shattered the moment of quiet rapture. Attica's head whipped around. "Oh, Fulk." She schooled her features into a gentle smile. "You startled me."

He stood just inside the doorway in a halo of light thrown by one of the cressets, a fleshy, pale-faced boy wearing crimson silk and purple brocade and an accusatory pout. "You didn't come down to supper because you said you needed to tend that Parisian courtier. So why are you here instead?"
He pulled a piece of linen from his sleeve and blew his nose. "It's cold in here."

The walls of the chapel suddenly seemed to press in on her, smothering her. She sucked in a quick breath scented with cold damp stone and the memory of old incense, and pushed to her feet. "Your cousin offered to relieve me while I came to pray," said Attica, who by that time had been sitting with the ailing Parisian courtier for the better part of twelve hours. "I should get back now."

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