A King in Spite of Himself
This is a story of battle, sudden death, siege, plot and counterplot set in 1202 during the turbulent reign of King John of England. The tale starts with the rescue of John's mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine and sweeps through Normandy, England and Wales seen through the eyes of a young knight, Roger de Clare, an aide to William Marshal, Earle of Pembroke and a pivotal figure of this era. John has to contend with Philip, king of France, who wants his country back, all of it; and with a restless set of Barons who could start a civil war if they don't get what they want. Marshal sees himself as a balance between all the opposing forces and uses Roger ruthlessly as his agent to achieve his ends in the secret winter war against Philip. Young Arthur, Count of Brittany and John's nephew, disappears and Roger becomes his keeper, smuggling him out of France to Wales to hold him safe against John's enemies who are searching for the boy to use him against John. The future of the English throne hangs in the balance.
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