It is 1154 and Henry Plantagenet avenges his family honour by taking back the English throne from Stephen the Usurper. The kingdom he inherits is impoverished, lawless and broken by years of civil war. By his side is the beautiful, wealthy and indomitable Eleanor of Aquitaine. Combining forces, this golden couple use their charisma and shrewd diplomacy to crush rebellious barons and restore England’s prestige and glory. However, an equally ambitious financial magician is needed to restore the royal treasury. Opportunistic Thomas Becket answers the call, using his appointment of Chancellor to fill not only the King's coffers but also his own. In a dance of ambition, vengeance and forbidden passions, Henry, his Queen and the Chancellor fight for political power and control against forces seen and imagined, each with their own agenda, each determined to hide their own shameful secrets.
‘Blanche d’Alpuget has now turned to medieval history to produce an extraordinary tale of ruthlessly pursued political and personal aims. It seems she has reproduced the very texture of those times, their sophistication, their ambitions and stratagems. I was expecting the normal historical novel. This isn’t it. This is fresh and invigorating and absolutely gripping. The revision she provides of the motives and character of Thomas Becket will rivet readers as they have not been riveted since Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell.’
This book will be launched by Susan Ryan (too famous to describe) at the Sydney Women's Writers Festival on Saturday, 18 Ocotber, at the State Library of NSW. It should be an excellent festival---and it's not just for women. Men are welcome. The book itself will be in the shops from about 1 October. I hope to see you at the State Library, where I'll very happily sign copies of The Lion Rampant or its predecessor, The Young Lion.