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The Prince of Poison: A Novelby Pamela Kaufman
Synopses & Reviews
Enoch and England
Enoch. Suddenly the very name was a sunburst in my soul. I'd dwelt so completely on the fact that his death was a lie, that Richard had lied to me, that I hadn't been fully aware till this moment of the portent of that lie. Enoch lived, that was the miracle, as remarkable as if I'd learned that my father and mother awaited me at Wanthwaite. . . . There was a long hazardous road ahead with Enoch, and I wasn't ready to ride it yet.
Meantime, it was enough to know that he breathed the same air I did, knew dawn and sunset, hope and despair. He might hate me forever, but I was still glad he lived.
Now I must face the physical dangers at my heels. I walked to Sea Mew and mounted. Hamo and Bok, dressed as gardeners, mounted as well.
Had the death knell stopped ringing, or were we beyond its reach? Above, an invisible lark trilled its song.
"Where is the closest port where we might sail with safety?" I asked Hamo.
Surprised at my purposeful tone, he thought a moment. "Bordeaux. It's the queen's favorite city, but she rarely goes there."
He pointed directly toward the sun, where it already rested at a blinding angle on the topmost branches, and beyond to the long slope to the sea.
"Stay low as we cross the mead," I ordered.
Once again the world transformed itself, not from rain to tears or to diamonds, but to sunstruck sea spray.
I bent and whispered to Sea Mew. "It's time to swim the channel, darling. Hoyt "
Ears raised with joy, he flew fast as a bird toward the radiance that was England.
From Banners of Gold
Enoch and England.
Enoch and England.
My head nodded to the rhythm of the hooves.
You're being followed.
You're being followed.
I woke with a start. Ahead of me, Bok and Hamo were already dismounted--they'd heard it, too.
"Quick, off your horse " Hamo grabbed my reins.
"Not here Bordeaux "
The hoofbeats behind us were getting closer.
Bok jerked me to the ground. "Into that oak--climb high Quick, Lady Alix It's your life " He adjusted his noseguard.
One oak among small pines. Beyond them, the sea washed a wide beach.
Hamo barked from his horse. "Take cover--we'll avoid fighting if we can " Both had discarded their gardening tunics. "We'll guard your horse " They rode toward the north with Sea Mew behind them.
I was alone, with only the pines, the oak, and a pile of brush on the scrubby landscape. My heart pounded like a kettle in the absolute silence--well, not absolute, angry rooks flapped from the oak and, on the far side of a line of spindly baby pines, the sea's hissing rolled and retreated. Now male voices rumbled over the sound of hooves. King John Deus juva me
I dashed to the oak, tripped on my borrowed nun's habit, and fell heavily onto my gravid stomach When I could breathe again, I crawled toward the oak. Too late to climb-- horses were here, the male voices clear--I crouched behind the thick trunk and just hoped it sufficed, barely before royal routi
"This brisk if jumbled historical romance concludes the author's trilogy about Lady Alix of Wanthwaite, a 13th-century English noblewoman whom trouble seems to follow. Most pressingly, King John, the prince of the title, believes Lady Alix to be carrying the bastard son of his dead brother Richard the Lion-Hearted — i.e., the rightful heir — so John marks her and her unborn child for death. After biting the king's member at the climax of a highly improbable but winningly bawdy opening chase scene, Alix, who narrates, escapes back to England with the help of Norman Jews and has the baby — a boy, natch. Unfortunately her legal husband and true love, the Scotsman Enoch, has thought her dead, and remarried, and John is soon back on the trail of Alix and son Theo. Alix and Theo are separated, and John eventually tracks Theo down. John does not relent, but Alix has connections, and Enoch is never completely out of the picture. Kaufman, who lives in L.A., mixes sound historiography and vivid dialogue with implausible events; this follow-up to Banners of Gold gets good mileage out of genre conventions. (Apr.) " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In the conclusion of the Alix of Wanthwaite trilogy, which began with Shield of Three Lions, Alix, pregnant with the child of Richard the Lionheart, flees from Richard's ruthless brother, Prince John, who will do anything to ensure that the child will never take the throne, joining an alliance of northern lords pledged to end the reign of the ruthless prince. Original. 25,000 first printing.
For decades, Pamela Kaufman has entertained a loyal readership with the mesmerizing and often hilarious adventures of Alix of Wanthwaite, madcap medieval beauty. In Shield of Three Lions, the unflappable Alixbraved the crusades dressed as a man to spar with the king of England over her birthright. Banners of Gold saw her taken hostage, drawn into a web of international politics, and entangled in the heartstrings of threedifferent men. Now, The Prince of Poison finds Alix homeward bound at last, with a half-royal child in tow and an angry monarch on her trail.
Set amidst the pomp and savagery of twelfth-century Europe, the Alix of Wanthwaite trilogy renders a glorious mishmash of ruffians, peasants, troubadours, murderers, pretenders, barons, princesses, and popes in charming and disarming detail. Alix's bawdy, free-wheelingnarration wickedly lampoons historical notables like Richard the Lion Heart and Eleanor of Aquitaine, spinning the historical novel in a fresh direction.
This guide is designed to enhance yourgroup's discussion of Alix's escapades in The Prince of Poison.
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