As the male protagonist, William de la Coeur Grifon is a man who just wants to be left alone to run his farms and businesses and to protect his property. A man of his time, he recognizes his duty to his vassals, but also to his overlord, and is leery of being drawn into the political fray.
Excerpt from The Luck of Two Magpies, copyright 2012, all rights reserved.
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“Richard was right to enrich himself while impoverishing his enemies,” William told Elisa.
“Even if they’re his blood?”
“Does a death blow from a brother or cousin kill less than one from a stranger?”
She shook her head, grinding her teeth so hard into her lower lip he wondered that she did not draw blood. “But what has this to do with Henry Hereford er-r—Plantagenet?”
“Hereford was a part of the uprising that cost Richard’s advisors their lives. And then, this year, ever one to use his cousin’s vacillation for his own good, Hereford did accuse Thom Mowbray, Duke Norfolk, of speaking ill of the king and of threatening his vassals, and further, of murdering his uncle Gloucester.” He winked Elisa’s way. “Mowbray was Constable of Calais, y’see, and his rise to duke came only after Thom Woodstock–uncle Gloucester–was found dead.”
Her jaw dropped. “No!”
“Aye, so, as matter of course, Mowbray did make his own accusations, that Hereford did commit treason, a charge which Henry did vehemently deny. No doubt, Richard saw them both for what they were—sycophants to treasure lust, eh? Yet, the king could not kill them so easily. Henry’s death at the least would cause a permanent rift with Uncle Lancaster, and so he ordered them to Gosford Green, but before they did enter the lists, he saw the better solution to his problem, and banished cousin Mowbray to Venice in perpetuity, and cousin Hereford to Paris for ten years. And so you have it. Hereford’s life is charmed because his father is a power the King would not reckon with, because Hereford plays on Richard’s childhood love of him, and because Hereford is a master player of politics.” Was it any wonder he wished to remain here with Elisa and away from all that scheming? “But see, wife, if Gloucester is dead and Hereford is right in calling his cousin Mowbray the killer, what odds are there that some one will see to Henry Hereford’s death? And this Henry sees as well.”
“Henry Hereford and Thomas Gloucester. And all for money. Tsk-tsk…” She shook her head.
How was a man to know when the securing of more silver for the good of his family was greed? Thom Woodcock, duke Gloucester. His canny, compelling gaze and oft’ down-turned mouth. Murdered.
Outside, the moaning wind and slashing rain warned William to beware. “All this time passed, my heart. I can not think how it would be to be dead and not see my sons grow to manhood, not to teach them as my father did teach me.”
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