The Rebel Princess
By Judith Koll Healey
Publisher: Harper Collins, June 22, 2009
Alaïs, the spirited and indomitable princess of France, returns for another thrilling adventure in this historically rich, mesmerizing sequel to The Canterbury Papers
When I settled back among the velvet cushions, the scenes from the cathedral replayed themselves before my unwilling eyes: the odd chalice, the way Constance looked at it, the interruption of Mass by the armed knights, the strange response of Chastellain to the king’s inquiry.A whisper within me matched the clap-clap of the horses’ hooves on the stones of the Paris road: There is more here; there is more here.
Paris, October 1207. There is nothing that Princess Alaïs of France wants more than to settle down with her lover, William of Caen, and to reveal to his ward, Francis, that she is his mother.
But intrigue is afoot in the palace: two monks have arrived from Rome on a mission to compel her brother, Philippe, the king, to help them battle a dangerous breakaway Christian sect in the south known as the Cathars. At the same time, Alaïs’s aunt, the dowager countess Constance of Toulouse, is causing trouble in court, and Etienne Chastellain, the king’s chief official, appears to be up to something more sinister than usual.
Tensions are pushed to the brink when the St. John Cup, a relic much prized by the Cathars, is stolen, and then young Francis goes missing. Frantic for his safety, Alaïs will risk life and limb to find the boy. Donning a disguise, the royal princess must outwit cunning enemies and make her way into unfamiliar territory to save her son, and perhaps even prevent her beloved France from a bloody holy war.
From the opulent halls of Paris to austere monasteries in the south of France, The Rebel Princess combines history and suspense in an unforgettabletale involving one of the most enigmatic and intriguing female figures in medieval history.