Banners of Gold
Three years after Lady Alix of Wanthwaite accompanied King Richard on Crusade, she is 16 and living happily on her estate while her husband Enoch fights in Scotland. Alix thinks her days of high adventure are past until King Richard’s emissary, Bonel of Rouen, rides into her life. For Richard is imprisoned in Austria, and Alix is to be one of the noble hostages who will be collateral for the king’s ransom. Or so she is told, for Queen Eleanor has a different plan in mind for Alix.
Eleanor has her heart set on an heir to the throne of England sired by her favorite son, a difficulty considering Richard’s taste runs to boys, not girls. She wants Alix to bear Richard’s son – and the heir to England’s crown. At first Alix refuses, despite her own youthful love for Richard; but when a reliable source reports her husband dead, Alix succumbs to Richard’s rough wooing. But despite the king’s love, Alix’s future proves precarious indeed, and only the love of Bonel of Rouen, an elegant, intelligent man whose Jewish past shadows his life, enables her to triumph over fate once more.
This sequel to Shield of Three Lions is just as outrageously enjoyable as the first, with the same caveats about subject matter. (Alix blithers Richard’s sexual preference to just about anybody, with no thought for either his reputation or her own safety.) The book also delves into darker realms of passion and prejudice than did its predecessor. Richard’s turbulent affair with Alix, and Bonel’s poignant, unselfish love for her, combine to create a memorable love story.