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N. Gemini Sasson is the author of six historical novels set in 14th and 15th century Scotland, England and Wales, including The Bruce Trilogy and Isabeau, A Novel of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer (2011 IPPY Silver Medalist in Historical Fiction). Her latest release is Uneasy Lies the Crown, A Novel of Owain Glyndwr. Long after writing about Robert the Bruce and Queen Isabella, Sasson learned she is a descendant of both.
For centuries, the bards have sung of King Arthur’s return, but is this reluctant warrior prince the answer to those prophecies?
In the year 1399, Welsh nobleman Owain Glyndwr is living out a peaceful gentleman’s life in the Dee Valley of Wales with his wife Margaret and their eleven children. But when Henry of Bolingbroke, the Duke of Lancaster, usurps the throne of England from his cousin Richard II, that tranquility is forever shattered. What starts as a feud with a neighboring English lord over a strip of land evolves into something greater—a fight for the very independence of Wales.
Leading his crude army of Welshmen against armor-clad columns of English, Owain wins key victories over his enemies. After a harrowing encounter on the misty slopes of Cadair Idris, the English knight Harry Hotspur offers Owain a pact he cannot resist.
Peace, however, comes with a price. As tragedies mount, Owain questions whether he can find the strength within himself not only to challenge the most powerful monarch of his time, but to fulfill the prophecies and lead his people to freedom without destroying those around him.
Owain shook her, his voice full of anger. “Damn it! Let him burn this house. Let him level every stone for miles. I will not have you all dead or taken captive.” All at once, the harsh lines in his face went soft. “Tudur and Rhys came not an hour ago directly from Ruthin. Grey’s forces were gathering there. Far more men than he had sworn to limit himself to bringing here. And I doubt he was headed back to Scotland anytime soon. We are all in grave danger. I haven’t the means to keep him from taking this place, if that is his intent.”
“Then we shall all go to Wrexham,” Margaret pleaded. “John and Phillip will help us. You can plead your case with the king or... or some other great lord. Surely there is one who will support you?”
“And put your brothers’ lives at risk? Henry cares not one whit for my case. He has already proven that. Grey is his pet who may take whatever scraps he can wrest from us as reward for his loyalty. No, we must save ourselves first. Save the children.”
Margaret shook her head. The reality was too bitter to accept, the implications too far-reaching, the future too uncertain. “What then? When will I see you again? Where will you go?”
“I... I don’t know when. And as for where, perhaps it’s best you don’t know.”
He pressed her hands together between his and then kissed the ends of her fingers.
Margaret stood as motionless and mute as a cairn battered by a terrible storm. Minutes passed before she realized that Owain had walked off and her children and servants were scurrying past her, urging her to hurry.
“Lady Margaret?” Iolo touched her back from behind. “It’s time. Sir Owain is outside waiting for you.”
Waiting to say farewell. For how long? A few days? Months? Longer?