by Sharon Kay
Available October 4, 2011
I wanted to make sure that all who
have signed up for my newsletter know that
Lionheart will be published in the US and Canada on October
4th. It will be published in Australia in November, and will be
published in the UK as a trade paperback in March of 2012, with a mass
market paperback to be published in the UK at a later date. I am happy
to report that Lionheart will be available as an e-book in
Kindle, Nook, etc. and I believe it will be my first novel to be sold
as an audio book, too, although I don’t have a date for that yet.
I will be doing a book tour for
Lionheart, beginning on October 4th Here is the itinerary in case
some of you live close enough to stop by. One of the pleasures of a
book tour is the opportunity to meet people I’ve been corresponding
with for ages!
October 4th, Tuesday, 7 PM
Chester County Books, West Chester, PA
975 Paoli Pike, West Goshen Center
West Chester, PA 19380
October 5th, Wednesday, 7 PM,
2692 Madison Road
Cincinnati, OH 45208
October 6th, Thursday, 7 PM,
Schuler Books & Music
2820 Towne Center Blvd
Lansing, MI 48912
October 7th, Friday, 7 PM, Ann
2513 Jackson Road
Westgate Shopping Center
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
October 8th, Saturday, 4:30 PM,
Murder by the Book
2342 Bissonnet Street
Houston, TX 77005
October 9th, Sunday, 2 PM,
4014 N. Goldwater Blvd, Suite 101
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
October 10th, Monday, 7 PM, St
Left Bank Books at the St Louis County Library Headquarters
1640 S Lindbergh
St Louis, MO
October 15th, Saturday, 3 PM,
Barnes & Noble
3535 US Route 1
Princeton, NJ 05840
We had a wonderful time on our
Eleanor of Aquitaine Tour in June. It was great fun visiting the
places that mattered the most to Henry and Eleanor with 36 kindred
spirits. Good company, good food, spectacular scenery, and lots of
French wine—who could ask for more than that? I hope to be able to do
it again and hope that some of you will be able to join me, probably
in 2013. I’ve put up some
blogs and photos about the tour on my website for those who’d like
to vicariously follow in Eleanor’s footsteps. I am including the
Prologue to Lionheart in this newsletter, but the
first chapter of the novel is also posted on my website. Hope to
see some of you next month.
Theirs was a story that would rival
the legend of King Arthur and Guinevere, his faithless queen. He was
Henry, firstborn son of the Count of Anjou and the Empress Maude, and
from an early age, he’d seemed to be one of Fortune’s favorites.
Whilst still Duke of Normandy, he’d dared to steal a queen, and by the
time he was twenty-one, he’d claimed the crown that had eluded the
Empress Maude. She was Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, a great heiress
and a great beauty who trailed scandal in her wake, her tragedy that
she was a woman born in an age in which power was the preserve of men.
The French king Louis had rejected Eleanor for her failure to give him
a male heir. She gave Henry five, four of whom survived to manhood.
They ruled over an empire that stretched from Scotland to the
Mediterranean Sea, and for a time, their union seemed blessed.
Henry loved his sons,
but not enough to share power with them. Nor would he give Eleanor a
say in the governance of her beloved Aquitaine. The result would be
the Great Rebellion of 1173, in which Henry’s three eldest sons rose
up against him, urged on by their mother, his own queen, an act of
betrayal unheard-of in their world. Henry won the war, but at great
cost. His sons, he could forgive. Eleanor, he could not, for she’d inflicted a
wound that would never fully heal.
Henry sought to make peace with his
sons, but they were bitter that he continued to hold their mother
prisoner and resentful that he kept them under a tight rein. Because
he felt he could no longer trust them, he tried to bribe or coerce
them into staying loyal. A great king, he would prove to be a failure
as a father, for he was unable to learn from his mistakes.
His eldest and best-loved son, Hal—beguiling and handsome and utterly
irresponsible—died in another rebellion against his sire, repenting
when he was on his deathbed, when it was too late.
Upon Hal’s death, the heir-apparent
was his brother Richard, who’d been raised in Eleanor’s Aquitaine,
meant from birth to rule over her duchy. Geoffrey, the third brother,
had been wed to a great heiress of his own, Constance, the Duchess of
Brittany. And then there was John, called John Lackland by his father
in jest, for by the time he was born, there was little left for a
younger fourth son. Henry was bound and determined to provide for
John, too, and he unwittingly unleashed the furies that would bring
about his ruin.
Henry demanded that Richard yield up
Aquitaine to John, reasoning that Richard no longer needed the duchy
now that he was to inherit an empire. But Richard loved Aqui-taine, as
he loved his imprisoned mother, and he would never forgive Henry for
trying to take the duchy from him.
Henry made the same mistake with Geoffrey, withholding a large portion
of his wife’s Breton inheritance to ensure Geoffrey’s good behavior.
He only succeeded in driving Geoffrey into rebellion, too, and he’d
allied himself with Philippe, the young French king, when he was
killed in a tournament outside Paris.
The king who’d once jested about his
surfeit of sons now had only two. When he stubbornly refused to
recognize Richard as his heir, his son began to suspect that he meant
to disinherit him in favor of John. Following in the footsteps of his
brothers Hal and Geoffrey, Richard turned to the French king for aid,
and it eventually came to war. By then Henry was ailing and did not
want to fight his own son. Richard no longer trusted him, though, and
Henry was forced to make a humiliating surrender. But the worst was
still to come. As Henry lay, feverish and wretched, at Chinon Castle,
he learned that John, the son for whom he’d sacrificed so much, had
betrayed him, making a private peace with Richard and King Philippe.
Henry died two days later, crying, “Shame upon a conquered king.” Few
mourned. As was the way of their world, eyes were already turning from
the sunset to the rising sun, to the man acclaimed as one of the best
battle commanders in all of Christendom, Richard, first of that name
to rule England since the Conquest.