Excerpt: Tracey Warr, Conquest: The Anarchy

Conquest III: The Anarchy, Impress Books, 2020

Unhappily married to Stephen de Marais, the Welsh princess, Nest, becomes increasingly embroiled in her countrymen’s resistance to the Norman occupation of her family lands. She plans to visit King Henry in the hope of securing a life away from her unwanted husband, but grieving for the loss of his son, the King is obsessed with relics and prophecies.

Meanwhile, Haith tries to avoid the reality that Nest is married to another man by distracting himself with the mystery of the shipwreck in which the King’s heir drowned. As Haith pieces together fragments of the tragedy, he discovers a chest full of secrets, but will the revelations bring a culprit to light and aid the grieving King?

Will the two lovers be united as Nest fights for independence and Haith struggles to protect King Henry?

Universal Buy Links:

The Daughter of the Last King (Book 1) – https://geni.us/LPF1

The Drowned Court (Book 2) – https://geni.us/ddAFsas

The Anarchy (Book 3) – https://geni.us/274ZX

Chapter 25: The Runaway Bride

Amelina stood on tiptoe to look from the window: ‘It’s Gilbert de Clare, with that bard, and a lot of soldiers! That’s not good is it?’

‘No, it’s not. Quickly, warn Ida to get out of sight.’

Amelina ran down the stairs to the hall where we had left Ida stitching and keeping an eye on the children. I fixed my veil onto my head and followed her down and was appalled to see that we were too late. Ida was standing between two soldiers, her face white, her arms held tightly in their grip. Maurice had followed the visitors in from the courtyard and stood observing the scene with a frown on his face. Gwenllian and her children were also staring at the Normans and Ida.

‘What is the meaning of this?’ I demanded of de Clare. ‘That you bring armed men into my hall?’

‘This woman is a renegade nun that you have sheltered in your household,’ he stated coldly.

‘This is nonsense.’ I looked amongst the group of strangers, hoping that Haith might be here, but he was not one of their number. I swallowed when I recognised another prisoner as the Welshman who regularly brought news of the goldmine to Gwenllian and myself. His face was bruised and bloodied, and he looked very afraid.

Breri pointed a finger at Ida. ‘She was a nun at Fontevraud. She was named Sister Benedicta there. She consorted lewdly with Amaury de Montfort.’

‘My name is Ida de Bruges,’ Ida said shakily.

A scrawny priest stepped from the group of soldiers and began to harangue Ida. ‘You take from God his bride. You will be damned if you do not return to the convent. In hellfire, you will kiss the bare teeth from which the flesh of your paramour has fallen.’ He turned to the others. ‘The Devil made her consort in lewdness with a man. The Devil cajoled her to cast off the veil of religion and causes her to persist shamelessly in wearing secular clothing. We must compel her to return to the Order that she has arrogantly despised.’

‘You are mistaken,’ I continued to address de Clare. ‘This is no Sister Benedicta. She is my companion Ida de Bruges and I do not take kindly to this abuse of her by your wandering jongleur.’

Breri drew himself up. ‘I am no jongleur, but a bard.’

‘This accusation is nonsense and holds no water,’ I declared. ‘I demand that Breri is imprisoned for bearing false witness.’

‘Have a care, Lady Nest,’ de Clare told me, ‘that you are not convicted of bearing false witness yourself. I see that you shelter here the family of your brother who has been convicted of treason against the king. Falseness swirls about you.’

About Tracey

Tracey Warr (1958- ) was born in London and lives in the UK and France. Her first historical novel, Almodis the Peaceweaver (Impress, 2011) is set in 11th century France and Spain and is a fictionalised account of the true story of the Occitan female lord, Almodis de la Marche, who was Countess of Toulouse and Barcelona. It was shortlisted for the Impress Prize for New Fiction and the Rome Film Festival Books Initiative and won a Santander Research Award. Her second novel, The Viking Hostage, set in 10th century France and Wales, was published by Impress Books in 2014 and topped the Amazon Australia charts. Her Conquest trilogy, Daughter of the Last King, The Drowned Court, and The Anarchy recount the story of a Welsh noblewoman caught up in the struggle between the Welsh and the Normans in the 12th century. She was awarded a Literature Wales Writers Bursary. Her writing is a weave of researched history and imagined stories in the gaps in history.

Tracey Warr studied English at University of Hull and Oxford University, gaining a BA (Hons) and MPhil. She worked at the Arts Council, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Chatto & Windus Publishers, and edited Poetry Review magazine with Mick Imlah. She also publishes art writing on contemporary artists, and in 2016 she published a future fiction novella, Meanda, in English and French, as part of the art project, Exoplanet Lot. She recently published a series of three books, The Water Age, which are future fiction and art and writing workshop books – one for adults and one for children – on the topic of water in the future. She gained a PhD in Art History in 2007 and was Guest Professor at Bauhaus University and Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University and Dartington College of Arts. Her published books on contemporary art include The Artist’s Body (Phaidon, 2000), Remote Performances in Nature and Architecture (Routledge, 2015) and The Midden (Garret, 2018). She gained an MA in Creative Writing at University of Wales Trinity St David in 2011. She is Head of Research at Dartington Trust and teaches on MA Poetics of Imagination for Dartington Arts School.

Social Media Links:

Website: https://traceywarrwriting.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TraceyWarr1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/traceywarrhistoricalwriting/

LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/traceywarr

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tracey.warr.9/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tracey-Warr/e/B0053YDVPE

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/series/192570-conquest

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