In this sequel to Healy's debut (The Canterbury Papers), set in 13th-century France, King Phillippe's sister, Princess Alaïs, is surprised by his request for advice regarding a mysterious note warning him to stay out of the affairs of Toulouse, where his cousin Raymond rules. When the pope's envoy arrives, begging Philippe to help fight a proto-Protestant religious sect called the Cathars in Raymond's territory, Philippe refuses-besides the warning, Philippe carries a grudge against Pope Innocent. When Alaïs's aunt Constance, along with a palace treasure, disappears, Alaïs defies the wishes of her betrothed, William, a Knight Templar, and rides southward with a few trusted knights to find answers and, maybe, a resolution to the conflict. Uncovering the plot against Toulouse, Alaïs is commanding but not stubborn, and Healey uses sumptuous detail to explore the courtly lives of spiritually frustrated medieval women; unfortunately, tedium sets in as it becomes clear that the princess's every hunch will turn out to be right. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Rebel Princessby Judith Koll Healey
“A seamless blend of history and fiction, and a gripping read.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
The Rebel Princess—the breathtaking sequel to Judith Koll Healey’s critically acclaimed historical novel The Canterbury Papers—returns the reader to Medieval France as it continues the story of an/b>/b>/b>
“A seamless blend of history and fiction, and a gripping read.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
The Rebel Princess—the breathtaking sequel to Judith Koll Healey’s critically acclaimed historical novel The Canterbury Papers—returns the reader to Medieval France as it continues the story of an exceptional heroine, Princess Alais. Blending fascinating fact with dazzling invention, Healey’s The Rebel Princess is an impeccably researched, gorgeously detailed tale of love, intrigue, and adventure, brimming with surprises and spine-tingling suspense—an ideal read for lovers of Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl and Labyrinth by Kate Mosse.
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The Rebel Princess
Chambers of the Princesse AlaÃ¯s
The announcement of the courier surprised me. I was sitting at my long oak table, preparing to mix a new bar of ink with water, when the sharp knock interrupted. The door opened, letting in a blast of the cool October air along with my maid, Mignonne. I put down the pitcher with an unsteady hand. Perhaps this was what I had been waiting for.
"My lady, there is a message for you. The runner says it is urgent."
"Well, send him in then." I was unable to keep the excitement from my voice. All morning I had been restless, unable to focus on my needlework, pacing my chamber. The feeling that something was about to happen had been gathering in me since the previous evening. This could be, at last, a letter from William, with news of his next visit. Or it may be something else, something not so pleasant. I knew I must have patience. This gift of mine, some called it second sight, could not be hurried. Everything would be revealed.
I arranged myself in my largest carved chair, with the heavy tapestry cushions. I sat upright, no smile upon my face. For underneath the excitement lurked a sense of foreboding.
Mignonne soon returned with a young man, still breathing heavily from his ride. He was tall and thin, and moved awkwardly as if he had just grown last week and his body had not yet adjusted to its new height. The young man wore a cloak too thin for our brisk northern air, and I did not recognize the colors of his livery. He immediately removed his cap and went down on one knee.
"Rise, young man. Tell me your business," I said, motioning him up.
"Your Grace .. . umm Princesse AlaÃ¯s, I have a message for you from my mistress. She bade me ride here with all due speed."
"And who is your mistress, lad?" I prompted more gently, for I could see the youth was inexperienced in matters of court formality.
"Joanna, Countess of Toulouse, Your Grace," he said, bobbing his head. A flush came over his cheeks. "She begs to be remembered to you, and sends you this letter. And I was to give it to no one else but you."
The youth pulled a roll of well-mashed parchment from within his tunic, and handed it to me. I could see his hand was shaking, perhaps with cold, or with the responsibility of delivering his burden to the sister of the king of France. My heartbeat had slowed. It was not to be news from William after all.
Mignonne, who had been standing aside during this exchange, took the parchment and carried it to me. She made a nice courtesy as she handed it to me, and I saw with some amusement her glance slide to the youth, as if she were instructing him on what to do next. He followed her example with a low, awkward bow, and I summoned a smile for him.
"Mignonne, take this young man below. Be sure he has food and drink and a place to lay his head. It seems he has traveled far, and done his mistress's bidding well. Get him a warmer cloak, as well." I turned to the youth. "I'll see that you are properly rewarded for your work, young man. Meanwhile, you should eat your fill and get some rest." And I brushed the air with my hand, a signal to my maid to make a hasty exit.
The youth bowed again and backed away from me, his long legs uncertain whether to kneel or flee. He tripped, causing Mignonne to grin, but then she caught my glance and immediately became sober. In a moment, they were gone. I slipped from my chair and went to the table, where a sharp knife lay.
I had not had word from Joanna of England since she had married Count Raymond of Toulouse some years earlier. She was Eleanor and Henry's daughter, and had been my dearest friend when we were young. She was the favorite sister of my betrothed, Richard later king of England, and stood by me in the turmoil that surrounded the breaking of that promise.
Joanna's letter also took me by surprise because I had expected any message would be from William. I thought for certain that my unsettled feeling that morning meant that I would finally hear from him. He had not returned at Eastertide, as he had promised. Nor had he come at Whitsuntide. And the long summer, unusually warm, had dragged by without news of him or Francis for months. Now, here was this unexpected communiquÃ©, not from him, but from my long-ago friend.
I slit the red sealing wax with my knife, and unrolled the parchment. My disappointment was matched by my curiosity. Why a letter from Joanna after all these years? And why had she employed the young, untested page, rather than sending the letter through ordinary couriers that came regularly to my brother the king from the court at Toulouse?
As I read the letter, I began to understand.The Rebel Princess. Copyright © by Judith Healey. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Meet the Author
Judith Koll Healey indulges her hobby, medieval history, when she is not working as a consultant to family foundation boards in solving planning and dynamics problems. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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Princesse Ala?s, sister to the King of France, Philippe was living in dangerous times at the turn of the 12th century. There were religious confrontations with Rome coming, strife with rulers in the south of France and spies abound trying to make their own agenda factual. But being a princess in this place and time meant you were rarely seen and never heard, however Ala?s was extraordinary in that her brother sought her council on matters of state and she always stood out in the crowd ready to voice her opinion and to add to all this she was blessed or cursed with a "second sight" that gave her visions and dreams that foretold both the present and future. She let no one intimidate her but did respect her brother and lived secretly with her gift revealing what she saw only to her brother and Templar Grand Master William of Cean, the man she dearly loved. But Ala?s also kept a very deep, dark secret and one that would drive her to take risks and allow any manner of danger to be set upon her. William would also carry this secret as well and made her not reveal of it regardless of how she felt. These two were the closest lovers possible but were kept apart for too many years as William carried out the Pope's agenda. Ala?s knew why she must not tell her secret but even the warmth of William's love was going to keep her telling much longer. When a horrid event changes everything for the Kingdom Ala?s moves to not only reveal this secret but to free the one person she must tell it to before it is too late. She may be a princess of the house of Capet and the daughter of the Kings of France but, she was at the core a woman who knew when her time had come to be counted and fight for what is right regardless of what may happen to you. This book is about so much more than one princess living in a time of turmoil - this book is about the spirit of a woman who fights for what is right alongside royalty and commoners. Most important of all it is about a mother who will do anything to protect the child she loves so much. There is history, strife and religious conflict but at the core there is the relationship between a man and a woman who know that time and circumstance may separate them but nothing in the end can destroy their love. Mary Gramlich is The Reading Reviewer located at www.marygramlich.com
I had to read the first book in this series for a history class. I didn't think I'd like it but I was pleasantly surprised! Healey takes real historical characters and takes them on a wild fictional ride. It is smart, funny, and fast-paced. Definitely worth the read even if you aren't a history buff.
This book is about a strong women whose passion and love for her child was captured beautifully by the author. It is a beautiful and exciting love story. I recommend first reading Canterbury Papers.
In October 1207, Princess Alais, sister to King Phillipe of France, waits for the return of her lover, English leader of the Knights Templar William of Caen to complete his mission safely. She impatiently hopes one day they will openly display their love and she can tell his ward Francis that she is his mother and English King Henry I is his sire. Before she can do that first he must leave the order.----------- William and Francis come to see Alais and her brother to consult with the king re the Cathars breakaway region in the south centered in Toulouse. Phillip rejects the pope's envoys plea to mount a counter offensive; this angers Armand Amary, a church VIP who wants all the Cathars executed as heretics. When Francis is kidnapped, Alais heads to Toulouse risking her life searching for her offspring while William goes on a Pope Innocent III directed mission.------------- Fans of Sharon Kay Penman and Rebecca Gellis will love this fantastique medieval historical fiction novel with a romantic subplot that enhances the prime court-papal intrigue story line. Readers learn about the Catharism movement focusing on the principles of a Good God and an evil adversary; their tenet of no priests or buildings ultimately led to the Albigensian Crusade. Although Alais does nothing wrong on her quest to save her son, the sequel to THE CANTERBURY PAPERS remains overall an insightful thirteenth century thriller.--------- Harriet Klausner