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Tour: Their Castilian Orphan (The Castilian Saga, #4) by Anna Belfrage


Book details:

Book Title: Their Castilian Orphan

Series: The Castilian Series

Author: Anna Belfrage

Publication Date: 23 March 2024

Publisher: Timelight Press

Page Count:approx. 400


@annabelfrageauthor @cathie.dunn1 @thecoffeepotbookclub



@annabelfrageauthor @thecoffeepotbookclub



@abelfrageauthor @cathiedunn

It is 1294 and Eustace de Lamont is back in England after five years in exile. He will stop at nothing to ruin Robert FitzStephan and his wife, Noor d’Outremer.


Robert’s half brother, Eustace de Lamont, has not mellowed during his absence. He is more ruthless than ever, and this time he targets Robert’s and Noor’s foster son, Lionel.

 

Lionel is serving King Edward as a page when Eustace appears at court. Not only does Lionel become the horrified witness to Eustace’s violent streak, Eustace also starts voicing his suspicions about Lionel’s parentage. The truth about Lionel’s heritage is explosive—should King Edward find out, all would be lost for Robert and Noor.

 

In October of 1294, Wales rises in rebellion. Robert must leave his family unprotected to fight the Welsh rebels on the king’s behalf, comforted only by the fact that Eustace too is called to fight.

 

Except that Eustace has no intention of allowing his duty to his king—or a mere rebellion—come between him and his desire to destroy Robert FitzStephan . . .



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In which Lionel reflects on his low status in life – it is hard being a penniless orphan at court!

 

The next morning, Lionel and the other pages hurried back and forth in the king’s chambers, packing up furnishing under the eagle eye of one of Langton’s clerks. John Langton himself was closeted with the king, had been so since just after prime. Not unusual, as the lord chancellor always had much to discuss with the king. Lionel had only met Langton’s predecessor a couple of times before he died back in 1292, but even he could see that where the king had trusted Bishop Burnell with everything, he meddled more in Landon’s handling of the realm’s affairs. Or mayhap it was more a matter of the king requiring constant distraction from what Soaking Sally called his broken heart.

Lionel liked Soaking Sally, a laundress who’d been in the king’s household since well before the king stopped using clouts—or so she said, even if Lionel had a hard time imagining their king as a toddling babe. The old woman was built like a barrel and had hands so strong she could crush an apple in one of them.

“All those years wringing linen,” she’d told Lionel with a little cackle. “Maybe you should try it?”

Lionel had politely refused her offer to teach him how to properly handle wet linen, but something akin to a friendship had sprung up between him and Sally. It was to Sally he went when he’d been hurt or when he felt lonely. It was to Sally he rushed to share the honey wafers he’d pilfered.

But when Sally spoke of broken hearts, Lionel was hard put not to roll his eyes. Men did not suffer from broken hearts. Such nonsense was for women, weak creatures that they were. And yet he listened when Sally went on and on about how much the king missed his dead wife.

“Close to two score years joined at the hip, and then,” she waved a hand in the air, “gone!”

“She’d been ailing for years,” Lionel protested. He’d even seen her laid low by one of those recurring bouts of tertian fever.

“There’s a difference between ailing and dead,” Sally said.

A sharp reprimand called him back to the present and the goblets he was presently packing.

“You crack one of those and I’ll take it out of your backside, lad,” the clerk, Ambrose, growled.

Lionel believed him. Ambrose was not a kindly man, a constant sour expression on his face. He was also of the opinion that every single one of the royal pages was a potential sinner, haranguing them for hours about good and evil, discourses that Lionel mostly spent thinking of other matters—relevant matters, like how to further improve his sword-fighting skills or how to evade the boring task of repairing the king’s gambeson—again. God’s truth, but their liege wore holes in his battle gear.

They were finally done. Lionel slunk off to the stables. Halfway there, he ran into Peter de Montfort, a page some months older than him. Several inches taller, Peter was substantially thinner, but those narrow shoulders were stronger than you would think, and Peter had the temperament of a cornered dog to go with it. He’d been fighting since he arrived at court, face going bright red with anger whenever one of the other lads whispered “traitor’s get” behind his back.

“Not that it isn’t true,” he’d once confided to Lionel. “My grandfather died at Evesham, side by side with Earl Simon.” He grimaced. “Aye, I share a surname with Simon de Montfort, but he is no family of mine.”

Lionel couldn’t quite understand why that mattered, seeing as Peter’s grandsire had been fighting for the earl, thereby obviously dying as a traitorous rebel.

“My foster father was at Evesham,” Lionel had said. “Brave, he was. Helped defeat the rebels.” Not at all true. Papa’s summary of Evesham was grim. “Blood, death and pain,” he’d once told Lionel, “and I was a young fool to think battles were honourable things until a mighty strike sent me sprawling half-dead to the ground.”

“Your foster father?” One of the other pages within earshot had snorted. “Isn’t he the bastard get of a de Lamont? Surely, our king had better companions to support him—men like my grandfather.”

Lionel had eyed Will in silence. The larger lad had a tendency to pick on Lionel whenever he could, whether it be with belittling comments or hard shoves. Lionel did not retaliate—he was no fool. Will de Bissoux would bleat in anger, and, no matter how unjust, it would be Lionel who was punished. It was hard being an impoverished orphan when all the other royal pages were the sons of barons and lords, young lads who would inherit lands and power.

He was comforted by reminding himself of the fact that his foster father had been just as poor when he first entered the king’s service.  Now, thanks to the king, he was no longer poor. He had manors and he had sons—here something twisted in Lionel’s belly—and a daughter. Not that having Isabel could be considered a blessing, he thought, smiling at the memory of last he’d seen Issy, perched high up in one of the oaks that bordered the lane leading to Orton Manor.

He was comforted by reminding himself of the fact that his foster father had been just as poor when he first entered the king’s service.  Now, thanks to the king, he was no longer poor. He had manors and he had sons—here something twisted in Lionel’s belly—and a daughter. Not that having Isabel could be considered a blessing, he thought, smiling at the memory of last he’d seen Issy, perched high up in one of the oaks that bordered the lane leading to Orton Manor.

A whinny brought him back to the here and now, to the warmth of the stable and the smell of horses. Peter was already busy with his bay, and Lionel ambled over to his gelding, a stout and reliable pony.

He’d almost finished currying his horse when Ambrose appeared in the doorway.

“You!” he snapped, pointing at Lionel. “The king requests your presence.”

“Mine?” Lionel swallowed. Had he done something wrong? His innards twisted; had he perchance been remiss in packing the king’s precious glass goblets, the ones that had belonged to his dear, departed wife?

“Now!” Ambrose ordered, and Lionel broke into a reluctant trot, following Ambrose as he strode at haste towards the great hall, located in the inner bailey. A raven cawed, another followed suit, and Lionel stopped for an instant to look at the huge black birds that made the Tower their home.

“No dawdling!” Ambrose said. “We do not have all day; we have an entire household to move.”



Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with three absorbing interests: history, romance and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England. Anna has just released the final instalment, Their Castilian Orphan, in her other medieval series, The Castilian Saga ,which is set against the conquest of Wales. She has recently released Times of Turmoil, a sequel to her time travel romance, The Whirlpools of Time, and is now considering just how to wiggle out of setting the next book in that series in Peter the Great’s Russia, as her characters are demanding. . .


All of Anna’s books have been awarded the IndieBRAG Medallion, she has several Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choices, and one of her books won the HNS Indie Award in 2015. She is also the proud recipient of various Reader’s Favorite medals as well as having won various Gold, Silver and Bronze Coffee Pot Book Club awards.

 

“A master storyteller”

 

“This is what all historical fiction should be like. Superb.”

 

Find out more about Anna, her books and enjoy her eclectic historical blog on her website, www.annabelfrage.com

 

Sign up to Anna’s newsletter to keep up with new releases, give-ways and other fun stuff: http://eepurl.com/cjgatT

                                 

 

Author Links:

Amazon Author Page: http://Author.to/ABG


Tour hosted by: The Coffee Pot Book Club


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Guest
May 13

Thank you for hosting me! Anna

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Guest
May 13
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you very much for hosting Anna Belfrage today!


Take care,

Cathie xx

The Coffee Pot Book Club

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