Fancy an excerpt from Mercedes Rochelle’s latest exciting novel, The Usurper King? Then look no futher.
Here’s the story.
From Outlaw to Usurper, Henry Bolingbroke fought one rebellion after another.
First, he led his own uprising. Gathering support the day he returned from exile, Henry marched across the country and vanquished the forsaken Richard II. Little did he realize that his problems were only just beginning. How does a usurper prove his legitimacy? What to do with the deposed king? Only three months after he took the crown, Henry IV had to face a rebellion led by Richard’s disgruntled favorites. Worse yet, he was harassed by rumors of Richard’s return to claim the throne. His own supporters were turning against him. How to control the overweening Percies, who were already demanding more than he could give? What to do with the rebellious Welsh? After only three years, the horrific Battle of Shrewsbury nearly cost him the throne—and his life. It didn’t take long for Henry to discover that that having the kingship was much less rewarding than striving for it.
Here’s the excerpt.
“His mouth suddenly dry, Henry wished he had some wine. “I’m told that after Richard learned about the rebellion and the death of his supporters, he stopped eating.” He paused, waiting for Hal’s reaction. So far there was none. “My constable sent in a priest to convince Richard that starving himself to death was a mortal sin. After that, he tried to eat, but he had gone so far his throat constricted and he couldn’t swallow. He died shortly after.”
Hal looked down at his hands; he was clasping them too tightly. When he raised his head, his face was drawn.
“I’m supposed to believe this?” he said.
Henry held his breath. If his own son didn’t accept this story, how was he going to convince his detractors?
“You know King Richard,” Thomas said scornfully. “He was always one for immoderate behavior.”
“How do you know?” Hal shot back. “You know nothing about him.”
“I know he was vindictive, selfish, and spiteful.”
“That’s a lie!” Hal lunged at his brother, grabbing him by the tunic. Thomas tried to push him away, but his brother pulled him out of the chair and fell on top of him, pinning him to the floor.
Henry was appalled. “Stop it! Both of you!” Hal was about to punch his brother in the face when Henry grasped his arm and yanked him away. “How dare you fight in my presence!”
Breathing heavily, Hal broke loose from his grasp. He glared at his father. “You starved him to death!”
Shaking his head, Henry stretched out a hand. His son turned away. “No, Hal. I swear it was none of my doing.”
Still on the floor, Thomas wiped his mouth. “You’re a disgrace!”
“Stop it, Thomas,” Henry growled. “Don’t make things worse.” He took a step toward Hal. “Sit down, son.”
Hal was about to refuse, but a little bit of common sense reasserted itself. Sullenly, he walked over to a chair and dropped onto it. Thomas got off the floor and went to the other side of the room.
“Listen to me,” Henry said. “Do you really think I would have Richard killed so soon after the rebellion? I’m not a fool. We still have many enemies, and this is one disturbance I didn’t need, on top of everything else.”
Breathing heavily, Hal stared at the floor.
“I was as shocked as you to hear about this,” Henry added. “You must believe me. There were many times I was urged by others to execute him, and I always refused. Why would I resort to such a terrible crime?”
The logic in this argument wasn’t lost on Hal. He didn’t want to believe his father was capable of such an act. It was too terrible to contemplate. Slowly he nodded and Henry let out his breath.
“I am sorry, father.”
“It’s all right. I’m afraid you won’t be the only one to accuse me of his death.”
“We must prepare a proper funeral, to reassure the people.”
“I’ve already given the orders. He will be brought back to London from…Pontefract.”
Pontefract. Hal hadn’t been told where King Richard was kept. It was just one more indignity he had been forced to swallow. “He died, all alone. Abandoned. Poor man,” he mumbled.
Henry heard him but decided it was better to pretend not to. Besides, he needed a drink.”
You can get your copy of The Usurper King HERE-
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08YLFMVPZ
Here’s a bit more information about the talented author of this fascinating novel, Mercedes Rochelle.
Mercedes Rochelle is an ardent lover of medieval history, and has channeled this interest into fiction writing. Her first four books cover eleventh-century Britain and events surrounding the Norman Conquest of England. The next series is called The Plantagenet Legacy about the struggles and abdication of Richard II, leading to the troubled reigns of the Lancastrian Kings. She also writes a blog: HistoricalBritainBlog.com to explore the history behind the story. Born in St. Louis, MO, she received by BA in Literature at the Univ. of Missouri St.Louis in 1979 then moved to New York in 1982 while in her mid-20s to “see the world”. The search hasn’t ended! Today she lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they had built themselves.
Why not connect with Mercedes on social media?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Mercedes-Rochelle/e/B001KMG5P6?
Back in 1990, my partner got as job a site archaeologist at Cressing Temple, in Essex. No- it wasn’t a temple. It was a site gifted to the Knights Templar by Queen Matilda, wife of King Stephen, where lay brothers and employees of the military order could raise crops to finance the Crusades.
Living there for seven years as we did was an amazing experience and I really hope to find time to write more about some of the things that happened, such as the time the cat got walled up, the time the carppet almost caught fire, the moment the car rolled through the fence, and the occasion when the TV crew came and wrecked the archaeology, but I got to be on the telly!
Some other time, mayhap. For now, I would like to signal Cressing Temple, my temporary home, as the inspiration for LORD OF THE MANOR, my Tudor era story that is published TODAY! More about that anon. For now, here is a picture of the place, and a link where you can find out more about the history and archaeology of this fascinating site.