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Devil's Brood

Devil's Brood

Devil s Brood 1




  DEVIL’S

  BROOD

  ALSO BY SHARON KAY PENMAN

  THE HISTORICAL NOVELS

  The Sunne in Splendour

  Here Be Dragons

  Falls the Shadow

  The Reckoning

  When Christ and His Saints Slept

  Time and Chance

  THE MEDIEVAL MYSTERIES

  The Queen’s Man

  Cruel as the Grave

  Dragon’s Lair

  Prince of Darkness

  Sharon Kay Penman

  DEVIL’S BROOD

  A MARIAN WOOD BOOK

  Published by

  G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS

  a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

  NEW YORK

  A Marian Wood Book

  Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons

  Publishers Since 1838

  a member of the Penguin Group

  Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA • Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd) • Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd) • Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi–110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd) • Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

  Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices:

  80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

  Copyright © 2008 by Sharon Kay Penman

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

  Published simultaneously in Canada

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Penman, Sharon Kay.

  Devil’s brood / Sharon Kay Penman.

  p. cm.

  “A Marian Wood book.”

  ISBN: 1-4406-4238-9

  1. Henry II, King of England, 1133–1189—Fiction. 2. Eleanor, of Aquitaine, Queen, consort of Henry II, King of England, 1122?–1204—Fiction. 3. Great Britain—History—Henry II, 1154–1189—Fiction. 4. Marriages of royalty and nobility—Fiction. 5. Great Britain—Kings and rulers—Family relationships—Fiction. I. Title.

  PS3566.E474D48 2008 2008029451

  813'.54—dc22

  Map by Jackie Aher

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  While the author has made every effort to provide accurate telephone numbers and Internet addresses at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication. Further, the publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

  TO VALERIE PTAK LAMONT

  AND LOWELL E. LAMONT

  Contents

  CAST OF CHARACTERS

  PROLOGUE

  CHAPTER ONE

  CHAPTER TWO

  CHAPTER THREE

  CHAPTER FOUR

  CHAPTER FIVE

  CHAPTER SIX

  CHAPTER SEVEN

  CHAPTER EIGHT

  CHAPTER NINE

  CHAPTER TEN

  CHAPTER ELEVEN

  CHAPTER TWELVE

  CHAPTER THIRTEEN

  CHAPTER FOURTEEN

  CHAPTER FIFTEEN

  CHAPTER SIXTEEN

  CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

  CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

  CHAPTER NINETEEN

  CHAPTER TWENTY

  CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

  CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

  CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

  CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

  CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

  CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

  CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

  CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

  CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

  CHAPTER THIRTY

  CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

  CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

  CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

  CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

  CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE

  CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX

  CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN

  CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT

  CHAPTER THIRTY-NINE

  CHAPTER FORTY

  CHAPTER FORTY-ONE

  CHAPTER FORTY-TWO

  CHAPTER FORTY-THREE

  CHAPTER FORTY-FOUR

  CHAPTER FORTY-FIVE

  CHAPTER FORTY-SIX

  CHAPTER FORTY-SEVEN

  CHAPTER FORTY-EIGHT

  CHAPTER FORTY-NINE

  CHAPTER FIFTY

  CHAPTER FIFTY-ONE

  CHAPTER FIFTY-TWO

  CHAPTER FIFTY-THREE

  CHAPTER FIFTY-FOUR

  CHAPTER FIFTY-FIVE

  AUTHOR’S NOTE

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  CAST of CHARACTERS

  ROYAL HOUSE OF ENGLAND

  Henry Fitz Empress (b. 1133), second of the name to rule England since the Conquest; also Duke of Normandy, Count of Anjou, Maine, and Touraine

  Eleanor (b. 1124), Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right; Henry’s queen; former consort of Louis VII, King of France

  Their children

  William (1153–1156)

  Hal (Henry, b. February 1155), their eldest surviving son, crowned King of England in 1170

  Richard (b. September 1157), Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Poitou

  Geoffrey (b. September 1158), Duke of Brittany upon his marriage to Constance

  John (b. December 1166), youngest son, known as John Lackland

  Tilda (Matilda, b. June 1156), Duchess of Saxony and Bavaria

  Leonora (Eleanor, b. September 1161), Queen of Castile

  Joanna (b. October 1165), later Queen of Sicily

  Geoff, Henry’s illegitimate son (b. c. 1151)

  Hamelin de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, Henry’s illegitimate half brother

  Emma, later Princess of Gwynedd, Henry’s illegitimate half sister

  Rainald, Earl of Cornwall, illegitimate son of Henry I, Henry’s uncle

  Rico, Rainald’s illegitimate son

  Ranulf, illegitimate son of Henry I, Henry’s uncle

  Rhiannon, Ranulf’s Welsh cousin and wife

  Morgan and Bleddyn, Rhiannon and Ranulf’s sons

  Roger, Bishop of Worcester, Henry’s first cousin

  Maud, widowed Countess of Chester, Henry’s cousin and Roger’s sister

  Hugh, Earl of Chester, Maud’s son

  Rosamund Clifford, Henry’s concubine

  William Marshal, Hal’s household knight

  ROYAL HOUSE OF FRANCE

  Louis Capet, King of France

  His wives

  Eleanor, marriage annulled in 1152

  Constance of Castile, died in childbirth

  Adèle of Blois, sister to Thibault, Count of Blois, and Henri, Count of Champagne

  Philippe, Louis and Adèle’s son and heir

  Louis’s daughters

  Marie, Eleanor’s daughter, wed to Count of Champagne

  Alix, Eleanor’s daughter, wed to Count of Blois

  Marguerite, Constance’s daughter, wed as a child to Hal

&nbs
p; Alys, Constance’s daughter, betrothed to Richard

  Agnes, Adèle’s daughter, later Empress of Byzantium

  Robert, Count of Dreux, Louis’s brother

  BRITTANY

  Constance, Duchess of Brittany, Geoffrey’s betrothed

  Conan, late Duke of Brittany, her father

  Margaret, sister of Scots king, her mother, wed to English baron, Humphrey de Bohun

  Raoul de Fougères, André de Vitré, and Roland de Dinan, Breton barons

  ENGLISH AND FRENCH BARONS

  William de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, Henry’s close friend

  Robert Beaumont, Earl of Leicester

  Peronelle, Countess of Leicester, his wife

  Maurice de Craon, Angevin baron

  Simon de Montfort, Count of Evreux

  Henri, Count of Champagne, and Thibault, Count of Blois, Louis’s sons-in-law and brothers-in-law

  AQUITAINE

  Petronilla, Eleanor’s sister, deceased

  Isabelle and Alienor, her daughters, wed to Counts of Flanders and Boulogne

  Raoul de Faye, Eleanor’s uncle

  Hugh, Viscount of Châtellerault, Eleanor’s uncle

  Aimar, Viscount of Limoges, wed to Sarah, Rainald’s daughter

  André de Chauvigny, Richard’s cousin and household knight

  Raimon St Gilles, Count of Toulouse, enemy of Dukes of Aquitaine

  FLANDERS

  Philip, Count of Flanders, wed to Eleanor’s niece Isabelle

  Matthew, Count of Boulogne, Philip’s brother, wed to Eleanor’s niece Alienor

  PROLOGUE

  HE WOULD BE REMEMBERED long after his death, one of those rare men recognized as great even by those who hated him. He was a king at twenty-one, wed to a woman as legendary as Helen of Troy, ruler of an empire that stretched from the Scots border to the Mediterranean Sea, King of England, Lord of Ireland and Wales, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, Count of Anjou, Touraine, and Maine, liege lord of Brittany. But in God’s Year 1171, Henry Fitz Empress, second of that name to rule England since the Conquest, was more concerned with the judgment of the Church than History’s verdict.

  When the Archbishop of Canterbury was slain in his own cathedral by men who believed they were acting on the king’s behalf, their bloodied swords might well have dealt Henry a mortal blow, too. All of Christendom was enraged by Thomas Becket’s murder and few were willing to heed Henry’s impassioned denials of blame. His continental lands were laid under Interdict and his multitude of enemies were emboldened, like wolves on the trail of wounded prey. The beleaguered king chose to make a strategic retreat, and in October, he sailed for Ireland. There he soon established his lordship over the feuding Irish kings and secured oaths of fealty from the Irish bishops. The winter was so stormy that Ireland truly seemed to be at the western edge of the world, the turbulent Irish Sea insulating Henry from the continuing outcry over the archbishop’s death.

  But in the spring, the winds abated and contact was established once more with the outside world. Henry learned that papal legates had arrived in Normandy. And he was warned that his restless eldest son was once more chafing at the bit. In accordance with continental custom, he had been crowned in his father’s lifetime. But the young king was dissatisfied with his lot in life, having the trappings of shared kingship but none of the power, and Henry’s agents were reporting that Hal was brooding about his plight, listening to the wrong men. Henry Fitz Empress decided it was time to go home.

  CHAPTER ONE

  April 1172

  Dyved, South Wales

  SOON AFTER LEAVING HAVERFORD, they were ambushed by the fog. Ranulf had long ago learned that Welsh weather gave no fair warning, honored no flags of truce, and scorned all rules of warfare. But even he was taken aback by the suddenness of the assault. Rounding a bend in the road, they found themselves riding into oblivion. The sky was blotted out, the earth disappearing under their horses’ hooves, all sound muffled in this opaque, smothering mist, as blinding as wood-smoke and pungent with the raw, salt-tang of the sea.

  Drawing rein, Ranulf’s brother Rainald hastily called for a halt. “Mother of God, it is the Devil’s doing!”

  Ranulf had a healthy respect for Lucifer’s malevolence, but he was far more familiar than Rainald with the vagaries of the Welsh climate. “It is just an early-morning fog, Rainald,” he said soothingly.

  “I can smell the brimstone on his breath,” Rainald insisted, “can hear his cackling on the wind. Listen and you’ll hear it, too.”

  Ranulf cocked his head, hearing only the slapping of waves against the rocks below them. Rainald was already shifting in the saddle, telling their men that they were turning back. Before Ranulf could protest, he discovered he had an ally in Gerald de Barri, the young clerk and scholar who’d joined their party after a stopover at Llawhaden Castle. Kicking his mule forward, Gerald assured Rainald that such sudden patches of fog were quite common along the coast. They’d soon be out of it, he promised, and offered to lead them, for this was a road he well knew.

  Pressed, too, by Ranulf, Rainald reluctantly agreed and they ventured on, slowly and very warily. “Now I know what it’s like for your wife,” Rainald grumbled, glancing over his shoulder at his brother. “Poor lass, cursed to live all her days bat-blind and helpless as a newborn babe.”

  Ranulf’s wife, Rhiannon, was indeed blind, but far from helpless. Ranulf took no offense, though; Rainald’s tactlessness was legendary in their family. Slowing his mount, he dropped back to ride beside Rainald’s young son. The boy’s dark coloring had earned him his nickname, Rico, for upon viewing him for the first time, Rainald had joked that he was more an Enrico than a Henry, swarthy as a Sicilian. Rico’s olive skin was now a ghostly shade of grey, and Ranulf reached over to pat him reassuringly upon the arm. “Horses do not fancy going over cliffs any more than men do, and Welsh ponies are as sure-footed as mountain goats.”

  Rico did not seem comforted. “Yes, but Whirlwind is Cornish, not Welsh!”

  Ranulf camouflaged a smile, for the placid hackney hardly merited such a spirited name. “They breed sure-footed horses in Cornwall, too, lad.” To take his nephew’s mind off their precarious path, he began to tell Rico of some mischief-making by his youngest son, Morgan, and soon had Rico laughing.

  He missed Morgan, missed his elder son, Bleddyn, and daughter, Mallt, above all missed Rhiannon. But he’d agreed to accompany Rainald to the holy well of St Non, even knowing that he’d be away for weeks, for he knew the real reason for Rainald’s pilgrimage. Rainald had claimed he wanted to pray for his wife’s soul. But Beatrice had been ailing for many years, hers a malady of the mind that only death had healed. Rainald’s true concern was for his other son, Nicholas, who had not been blessed with Rico’s robust good health. Frail and sickly, Nicholas was not likely to live long enough to succeed to his father’s earldom, as evidenced by Rainald’s desperate decision to seek aid from saints, not doctors.

  Rainald’s pain was all the greater because Nicholas was his only male heir. Rico was born out of wedlock, and thus barred by Church law from inheriting any of his father’s estates—even though Rainald himself was bastard-born. The irony of that was lost upon Rainald, who was the least introspective of men. It was not lost upon Ranulf, who shared Rainald’s tainted birth, both of them natural sons of the old King Henry. Neither of them had suffered from the stigma of illegitimacy, though. As a king’s son, Rainald had been judged worthy to wed the heiress of the earldom of Cornwall, and Ranulf had long been the favorite uncle of the current king, Henry Fitz Empress. Henry would gladly have bestowed an earldom upon him, too, but Ranulf, who was half-Welsh, had chosen to settle in Wales where he’d wed his Welsh cousin and raised his family—until forced into English exile by a Welsh prince’s enmity.

  His Welsh lands were forfeit and his English manors were meager in comparison to Rainald’s vast holdings in Cornwell, but Ranulf had no regrets about turning down a title. He was at peace with his yesterdays, and he’d lived
long enough to understand how few men could say that. For certes, Rainald could not. Nor could the king, his nephew, absent these many months in Ireland, where he’d gone to evade Holy Church’s fury over the slaying of Thomas Becket.

 
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