Sage Greenham is a romantic drama full of
strong characters wrestling with the instability caused by a weak King of
England and a strong pope.
It is the story of a Celtic knight and his mentor, ‘the Sage’, as they battle
the church and their enemies across Provence, Spain and England. It culminates
in the disastrous battle of Evesham which ends the revolution started by the
Earl of Leicester.
In Store Price : $22.95
Online Price: $21.95
1 920 69923 6
Number of pages:
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: December
* A manuscript of much worth
* At times brilliant
* After I got into it, I couldnt put it down
sample of the book:
1209 AD Frankish Knights from the north of France swept down on the regions of
Languedoc and Roussillon. Sent into the regions by Pope Innocent III to search
out and punish heretics, the knights engaged in a war of attrition against a
highly civilized society. Thus began the first papal crusade on European
It left Languedoc forever devastated, turning it into a backwater. The
savagery so horrified the church it was forced to abandon further warfare as a
method of pursuit of heretics, in favour of more subtle means of conversion.
Decades later the last remnants of this sophisticated civilization still
held out against the intruders. Our
story begins with the final siege against those known as the Cathars, in
the nearby mountains of the Pyranees.
AD The Sage arose early from the hammock in his cave on the chalk face of
Montagne Sainte-Victore, east of Aix-en-Provence, the capital of the republic of
Aix. The cave was positioned above a shrub-covered cleft, in the face of the
monolith, which even the occasional forest fire could not uncover. The tall old
man stretched, rubbed himself and then combed out the remnants of his last meal
from his thick white beard. He tried to remember why he was up so early.
Itll come in time, I
guess. He mused to himself. Then he threw some oak pieces, obtained from
the rear of the cave, onto the embers under the black pot on the tripod near the
entrance. It was still dark outside; the black cat was still fast asleep on the
hessian bag wedged onto her favourite rock shelf. A grey rat scuttled past his
feet, back from a foraging expedition in the scrub outside. Unperturbed by the
rat, the Sage waited for some reaction from the cat. There was none.
Some watch-cat you are. He said, and poked the cat with his finger.
The cat arose, glared at him through yellow/green eyes, stretched, then lay back
down in the reverse curl with her back to him. He thought to tease her, then saw
the claw exposed and ready to strike. That was sufficient to act as a veto to
the reckless intention that formed briefly in his mind. The Sage smiled with his
inner knowledge. He knew her reactions were much quicker than his were, and he
would lose that sort of tussle. So he turned away and began to plan his day.
For an old man of sixty years, he was still spry and quick witted, with
an accurate knowledge of his world. He treasured his descendancy from the famous
troubadour of Languedoc, Pierre Vidal, and he often ruminated about how
different his world may have been, if his father had not written the satirical
verse about the church and its favoured knights. He often chuckled to himself
about their content, for they exposed the sexual exploits of those chivalrous,
but adulterous, adventurers.
He was happy that his world meshed close with that of the family of the
Gryndeham (pronounced Greend hm) whose estate lay between the edge of the
woodland bordering the forest, and Aix the capital of Provence. For it was that
family who supported the Vidals after their persecution by the church. He found
out that the old Celtic family of the Gryndeham knew all about persecution.
Their history went back beyond the time when the Romans founded Aix in 126 BC.
The Gryndeham remained, all the other Celtic tribes leaving the area after being
defeated by the Romans.
The gruel in the pot was now warmed up, so he spooned it onto a tin plate
and ate it in several gulps. Then he donned his sage coloured robe from which
came his title. After tying the tassel he moved to the entrance of his
cave and began the wait for dawn. More light was needed before he was willing to
venture down the cleft. While he waited, he used a pointed stick to pick the
husks of oats from his teeth.
Anton De Gryndeham walked the upper reaches of his
vineyard. He liked to do this from time to time. It made a pleasant change from
the dead weight of his mail armour and broadsword. His frame was bandy now, from
the endless horse riding as a knight for the king, and any others willing to buy
his expertise at taking life. The eyes scanning the vines, peered out from under
his cap at the steam now slowly rising, as the sun hurried last nights dew on
its way back into the sky. His eyes matched the reflected colour of his
broadsword when drawn in anger. Mercilessly grey and without emotion. He was not
a tall man. Somehow though, his presence filled any room he entered, washing
into its farthest corners. Conversation ceased momentarily, waiting for the
invisible sign, allowing things to continue on without interruption.
His great hunched shoulders now showed the strain of a life spent in the
saddle. It was time he retired. A rare feat, for one of his profession. Most of
his peers retired to marble boxes in the cathedral years ago. He liked the last
row at the top of the estate vineyard. From there he could almost see the cleft
in the rocks where the Sage lived, although it was too far to see an actual
person in the pre-dawn light. Several times he had invited the old man down from
his eyrie to live on the estate, but the Sage declined with some flimsy excuse.
Anton was bemused by this continued refusal, but not annoyed. He had long ago
decided that the Sage had lost all trust in institutionalised living, and would
one day be found dead up there beyond the forest, if the forest wolves didnt
find him first. Anton shivered with this thought and turned to move back along
the stone wall towards the main estate building, heading off towards his
breakfast. As he moved along the walls bordering the vineyard, he thrust his
short sword into its holes, half-hoping for a rabbit to be skewered on it.
A tasty bunny for adding to the stew, ha! Damn, missed him. The
rabbits, used to these games, always headed for the safety of the other side of
the wall as soon as they saw him sauntering along.