Pestilence: Second Son Chronicles Volume 3
By Pamela Taylor
Black Rose Writing
At the dawn of the Renaissance, Alfred – the eponymous second son – must discover the special destiny foreseen for him by his grandfather. Now, the unthinkable has happened: Alfred’s brother is king. And it isn’t long before everyone’s worst fears are realized. Traditional allegiances are shattered under a style of rule unknown since the grand bargain that formed the kingdom was struck over two hundred years ago. These will be the most dangerous years of Alfred’s life, forcing him to re-examine his duty to personal honor and to the kingdom, while the threats posed by his brother constantly remind him of his father’s final words of advice. What choices will he have to make to try to protect the things he holds most dear?
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Read an excerpt from Pestilence:
My beloved son,
If you are reading this, then you know that I have taken no steps to alter the succession. Whether that will be my conscious decision or whether fate will intervene to take that decision from my hands is unknown as I write this. Perhaps that is for the best, for it frees me to say the words that are in my heart and in my mind, unencumbered by any foreknowledge of what may transpire.
As I look at the familiar handwriting, tears well in my eyes, causing the words on the page to blur. No less a blur are the events of the past week. It’s hard even to remember that a mere nine days ago I was enjoying a pleasant holiday with family and friends at my parents’ country manor. It’s still difficult to take in the fact that, despite all our efforts, Ralf has taken his vengeance by taking my father’s life.
For one thing I’m grateful – that I was there at the end and that he knew I was holding his hand as he passed into the next world. After he took his last breath, the silence in the room seemed to last an eternity. No one moved for a very long time. Finally, the bishop had no choice. He stepped to the side of the chair where I sat next to my father’s bedside. Placing his hand on my shoulder and looking across the bed at my uncle Rupert, he said very quietly, “I have no special instructions.”
In our tradition, the king’s will is lodged with the bishop for safekeeping in the vaults of the church. A king may specify the succession for two generations in his will. If he does so, he provides the bishop with a separate document of special instructions to be read and acted upon before the next king is declared. If he doesn’t, the rules of primogeniture apply.
The bishop stepped back to the head of the bed and turned to address the room. Quietly, but with great authority, he intoned those dreadful words of transition. “The King is dead.” Then, looking directly at my elder brother, John, “Long live the King.” Rupert and I each made our way to the new king and delivered the ancient pledge of loyalty.
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