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The third novel in the series will be published soon.

 

In the meantime below you will find a temporary cover for Book Three and below that the opening lines to TKJ 3

 

NB - A certain name has been partially redacted so as not to create a 'spoiler'

 

The King’s Jew. Book Three

1274 to 1290

Friday, October 27th, 1307.

Feast day of St Frumentius.

Hebrew: First day of Kislev 5068

The Confessor’s Chapel. Westminster Abbey.

Two miles West of London. Three hours before dawn.

 

 

Alberto is a special type of man; a widow-maker, he kills men.

 

From his position deep in the shadows of a buttress by the Chapter House he sees two armed men slinking towards the Westminster Abbey walls.

A soft smile flits over his face. These fools think they wear cloaks of invisibility but even in this cold, misty pre-dawn light, Alberto sees them.

A soft oath alerts him to where another enemy has barked his shin on a gravestone. It is three against one now; no contest for a man of Alberto’s talents.

 

He looks up at the dark scudding clouds. Sees the faint apologetic light of the moon struggling to illuminate the scene below. In a few moments its power will be diminished by the next cloud hurrying to catch its companions. It is time; time for the clumsy soldier to take his final tumble.

 

***

 

Inside the Abbey at the Confessor’s Chapel, Cristian Gilleson gazes fondly into the eyes of his lady, Dulcea. A burden has been lifted from him. Dulcea has agreed to leave this place of danger and let herself be taken to the safety of one-armed Eric’s tavern at Queenhithe.

 

She turns to her husband. He sees the longing in her questioning eyes.

“Can I climb up and say my farewells?” she asks.

 

Cristian nods and takes her hand to lead her gently up the steps to view the dead King lying silent and still in his black marble tomb, “You saved his life in Acre so it is fitting you should see him in death.”

 

Together they stare down at this man who meant so much to them for so many years; Edward, King of England, the first by that name since the conquest.

 

“He looks so peaceful,” she whispers. “I thought he would live forever.”

 

Cristian laughs softly, “Believe me, he tried. I never saw a man cling to life with such determination. Edward was ever a King with a mission. Those unruly Scots were a step too far for him. Only his iron will carried him to Burgh by Sands and an appointment with death.”

 

***

 

The Abbey is filled with dark spaces. Shadowy places where the light from flickering candles fears to enter. The light shines bright at its source, slowly dissipating, dimming, only halting at the edge of the blackness wherein a cowled figure lurks.

 

Shadows are the natural realm for one such as D...... They nurture and embolden this faithful servant of Piers Gaveston. He recalls a time when he was a boy and his old master predicted he would end his life at the end of a rope and he remembers Thomas Fletcher. Thomas the despoiler of women who sought to control young D..... and bend him to his will. D..... smirks at the memory of those far off times. ‘You were wrong, Thomas,’ he thinks to himself, ‘it was not me they hanged.’

 

If he was alone D..... would be laughing out loud at the memory but here, in the Abbey, he is the hunter and silence is his weapon of choice. The soft sound of whispering voices float towards him and he cocks his head to better trace their source. His prey is unaware of the danger in their midst. In the darkness he moves closer to the light and watches from the half-shadows as lord Cristian leads his lady down the steps from the black marble tomb of the dead king.

 

***

 

“Was it so long ago?” asks Dulcea. “Thirty-three years since that joyous day when Edward was crowned here in the Abbey? It seems like yesterday.”

 

Lost in thought, Cristian does not answer.

 

“What are you thinking of,” she asks.

 

After a short pause, he replies. “I was thinking of a day in Acre when Edward said he would live longer than the thirty-three years allotted to Jesus.”

 

Dulcea tugs his arm, turns him towards her. “He did. He lived to be sixty-seven. The same age as you, my love.”

 

“Aye, but what he never considered was the length of his reign. Edward was king for thirty-three years. I wonder sometimes at the part fate plays in the lives of men.”

 

Want to check Books One & Two out? Please 'click' here

Darius Stransky

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