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Authors: Jean Plaidy

The Lion of Justice

BOOK: The Lion of Justice
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Contents

About the Book

About the Author

Also by Jean Plaidy

Title Page

Family Tree

The Scottish Orphans

Rufus

A Suitor at the Abbey

The Miraculous Escape

The Vices of the King's Court

Love comes to Wilton Abbey

Brothers in Conflict

The Forest Tragedy

A Royal Wedding

Escape from the White Tower

The Chivalry of the Duke

Matilda's Eyes are Opened

The Queen and the Duke

The Abduction

Triumph in Normandy

Weddings in the Family

Young Matilda and Stephen

The Passing of the Queen

A Horse and a Bride for William

The White Ship

The King's Resolve

Bibliography

Copyright

About the Book

The death of The Conqueror left three sons to inherit his power and his wealth. Normandy
for Robert, England for Rufus and for Henry, the youngest, five thousand pounds of silver.

The three were natural rivals. The feckless Robert lost Norman dukedom in an orgy of impulsive extravagance. Red-haired Rufus scandalized the court with his perverse sexuality and contempt for the Church.

And Henry – cleverest of all – awaited his chance to fulfill his father's prophecy and assume the mantle of The Lion of Justice.

About the Author

Jean Plaidy, one of the preeminent authors of historical fiction for most of the twentieth century, is the pen name of the prolific English author Eleanor Hibbert, also known as Victoria Holt. Jean Plaidy's novels had sold more than 14 million copies worldwide by the time of her death in 1993.

Also by Jean Plaidy

THE TUDOR SAGA

Uneasy Lies the Head

Katharine, the Virgin Widow

The Shadow of the Pomegranate

The King's Secret Matter

Murder Most Royal

St Thomas's Eve

The Sixth Wife

The Thistle and the Rose

Mary, Queen of France

Lord Robert

Royal Road to Fotheringay

The Captive Queen of Scots

The Spanish Bridegroom

 

THE CATHERINE DE MEDICI TRILOGY

Madame Serpent

The Italian Woman

Queen Jezebel

 

THE STUART SAGA

The Murder in the Tower

The Wandering Prince

A Health Unto His Majesty

Here Lies Our Sovereign Lord

The Three Crowns

The Haunted Sisters

The Queen's Favourites

 

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION SERIES

Louis the Well-Beloved

The Road to Compiègne

Flaunting, Extravagant Queen

 

THE LUCREZIA BORGIA SERIES

Madonna of the Seven Hills

Light on Lucrezia

 

ISABELLA AND FERDINAND TRILOGY

Castile for Isabella

Spain for the Sovereigns

Daughters of Spain

 

THE GEORGIAN SAGA

The Princess of Celle

Queen in Waiting

Caroline the Queen

The Prince and the Quakeress

The Third George

Perdita's Prince

Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill

Indiscretions of the Queen

The Regent's Daughter

Goddess of the Green Room

Victoria in the Wings

 

THE QUEEN VICTORIA SERIES

The Captive of Kensington

The Queen and Lord M

The Queen's Husband

The Widow of Windsor

 

THE NORMAN TRILOGY

The Bastard King

The Lion of Justice

The Passionate Enemies

 

THE PLANTAGENET SAGA

The Plantagenet Prelude

The Revolt of the Eaglets

The Heart of the Lion

The Prince of Darkness

The Battle of the Queens

The Queen from Provence

The Hammer of the Scots

The Follies of the King

The Vow of the Heron

Passage to Pontefract

The Star of Lancaster

Epitaph for Three Women

Red Rose of Anjou

The Sun in Splendour

 

QUEEN OF ENGLAND SERIES

Myself, My Enemy

Queen of this Realm: The Story of Elizabeth I

Victoria, Victorious

The Lady in the Tower

The Goldsmith's Wife

The Queen's Secret

The Rose without a Thorn

 

OTHER TITLES

The Queen of Diamonds

Daughter of Satan

The Scarlet Cloak

The Lion of Justice
Jean Plaidy
The second book in the Norman Trilogy
 
The Scottish Orphans

IN HER BEDCHAMBER
the Queen of Scotland lay dying. At any moment she would send for her children to say her last farewell to them. The girls, Edith and Mary, sat gloomily in the schoolroom, their books before them; but they paid no attention to these as they thought of their mother who, from the time she had first come to Scotland, had been noted for her beauty and her piety.

Mary, the younger, was the first to speak. ‘Edith, do you think she will die before our father comes?'

Edith paused a moment before she turned mournful blue eyes on her sister and said slowly: ‘What if
he
should never come back?'

‘Don't speak so, Edith.' Mary shivered and glanced furtively over her shoulder. ‘It could bring ill luck.'

‘What I say will not bring us ill luck. It is the Normans who have brought that to our country and our family.'

‘But if our father defeats the King of England, our Uncle Edgar will be King. He
is
King in truth. If the Godwin Harold has not usurped the throne and the Normans had not come . . .'

‘If!' retorted Edith scornfully. ‘What is the use of saying If! And it all happened long ago. Twenty-seven years. And it is said that no one could have withstood William of Normandy. All his life he had conquered.'

‘It will be different with William Rufus. He is not like his father. And he is cruel. The people hate him. He cares for nothing but hunting and they say he has vices which are . . . unnatural.'

‘But what do you in truth know of him?'

‘What I hear. And I believe that our father will defeat him and that very soon Uncle Edgar, the true King, will be on the throne. The English will welcome him. Of course they will welcome our dear Uncle Edgar. He's good, he's a Saxon and he is the true King.'

‘You talk like a child, Mary.'

‘And you of course are so wise. You have lived for sixteen
years and because I haven't lived quite as long you think you are so much cleverer.'

‘Don't let us quarrel, Mary, while our mother is dying.'

‘She won't die. She'll get better and very soon we shall see a messenger riding to the castle with the news that our father has captured Alnwick Castle and is marching south.'

Mary pushed her books aside and went to the long narrow window which was cut into the thick wall. Edith joined her, for what use was it to pretend to work at such a time? They should be praying – for the victory of their father and the soul of their mother. Yet how difficult it was to think of anything but: What will become of us?

Looking down to the moat and the drawbridge and beyond to the green hills, Edith was thinking how quickly everything could change. For sixteen years she had lived secure in her father's castle and it was only recently that she had been aware of a shifting pattern. Princesses became important when they grew up. Their future could become a matter of state. They either married or went into a nunnery. Edith was not of a nature to wish for the latter. The brief glimpses she had had of her mother's sister, Aunt Christina, who was the Abbess of Rumsey, had decided her. How different were the two sisters! Her mother was gentle, beautiful and kind; she was good, too, for on every day in Lent she went to church bare-footed, dressed in a gown of hair cloth, where she selected the poorest people that she might wash and kiss their feet. She wanted her children to be good and happy – but most of all good, as she was herself. As for Aunt Christina, she was far from beautiful and her black robes had frightened Edith when she was very young. Aunt Christina's sharp cold eyes saw every fault and no virtue; her knees were hard, it was said, because she had spent so many hours on them praying, and this was considered saintliness of the highest order. Aunt Christina was so busy being good that she had no time to be kind. She thought all those who were not dedicated to the convent life were sinners. Even her sister Margaret, mother of Edith, had lived in what Christina called a worldly manner, bearing many children.

No, it would not be a nunnery for Edith if she could help
it. She would beg her father to spare her that.

She hoped to marry as romantically as her mother had. She had heard the story many times. Edith's mother was Margaret Atheling, the daughter of Edward, who had been the son of Edmund Ironside; her grandmother had been the daughter of Emperor Henry II of Germany. When Edward the Confessor knew that his reign could not last much longer he had sent for Margaret's father Edward, as was presumed, with the object of making him his successor. Edward had died before the meeting could take place but left his son, Edgar, as well as two daughters, Margaret and Christina.

Then William came and conquered England, and because of Edgar's clear claim to the throne the Conqueror had kept him under surveillance. He treated him well but Edgar grew to suspect his motives and thought it an excellent idea to take his sisters to Hungary where his mother's relatives would welcome him.

He had set sail from England but ran into a storm and his ship had been thrown up on the Scottish coast. There was nothing to be done but to ask for asylum – which the royal Athelings did.

Malcolm Canmore, the King of Scotland, agreed to give them hospitality while they made their plans. Malcolm, young and comely, had recently come to the throne by driving out the usurper MacBeth, and was a romantic as well as a handsome figure. He entertained the fugitives in his castle and within a few days had fallen in love with Margaret and asked Edgar for his sister's hand in marriage.

What great good fortune! The dowerless young woman who had been on her way to Hungary to ask for asylum was being asked to share the crown of Scotland.

Her brother Edgar had expressed his pleasure; as for Margaret she was no less pleased, and very soon after her arrival in Scotland the marriage was solemnized and the spot where she had landed was for ever after known as Queen's Ferry.

It was a happy marriage and very fruitful. She soon presented her husband with a fine son who was named Edward after her father, and this child was followed by another son who became Edgar after her brother – then Edith, Mary and
the little ones followed. Her brother Edgar stayed at the Scottish court while her sister Christina entered a convent and became its Abbess.

BOOK: The Lion of Justice
2.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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