Thursday, May 24, 2012

Of Dove And Falcon by Mary Brockway

Cover art by Richard Stroud
Ebook or print; 519 pages
Purchase link for Of Dove and Falcon
The marriage of Anglican, Edward FitzStephen, to Joan Farles is arranged to gain favor with Queen Mary Tudor, and preserve the wealthy family’s manors. Love grows for Joan and Edward even when Edward’s Anglican prelate uncle is burned at stake.  Can they save themselves and their families from further violence?

Ralph rode Raven hard for the two miles to the gates of Oaklands, thankful once more, for a hearty steed. At the entrance, two guards drew lances across his path.

“What is your mission, Sir?” The tall one demanded.

“I bear news from Lady Emily’s relatives in Whitby where she will soon be lodged.” He pulled out the letter Edward had given him and flashed the seal, praying they could not tell it was only Lady Joan’s dowry list.
The burlier of the guards squinted at the seal and opened the letter. “You may see Lady Emily for a short time, but I must have your name.”

Ralph sighed. Edward’s gamble had worked. Few Royal guards could read or write, but recognized the seals of important families. He gave an alias with confidence. Because of his knowledge of FitzStephen affairs, he had no difficulty answering questions without casting suspicion. Subterfuge had become a habit.

“I am Raol, in service to Lord Howard.” Ralph replied

Lady Emily, alone in the large mansion except for two elderly servants, met Ralph in a small parlor on the second floor. A wisp of silvery blonde hair crept from her cap of mourning and her features were mottled with tears. Ralph knelt at her feet and kissed her outstretched hand. She motioned him to a chair in the corner of the room, and moved to a large window where she sat in full view of the guards in the courtyard.
She spoke softly. “The guards may wonder if they believe we are acquainted. How good to welcome a friend on this blackest of days.”

“I dare stay but a few moments, my lady. If it is not too painful, your cousin is anxious to know something of your father’s arrest. He waits at the river with his bride, fearing to venture on to Oaklands until your circumstances are known.”

“I prayed for that guidance and tried to intercept Edward. My messenger was challenged before leaving the gate and barely escaped through the orchard.” She sighed and stared over the distant green fields. “I fear the tale you seek is too long for haste. Father was arrested a fortnight ago, and after a brief trial, charged with treason for involvement in a rebellion against the Queen. He and several others were sentenced to die today.” A muffled sob escaped. “I suppose it is over.”

No comments: