King Richard’s Sword

5240101BC_Front CoverThe story of King Richard’s Sword opens with the return to Worcester of a pilgrim who has just returned to his native city, having been gone for several years.  Robert Kenwood had travelled to Spain, following the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, and returned wearing the immediately recognisable scallop-shell badge and pilgrim’s hat associated with followers of Saint James the Great.

It is February of the year 1399, and the Lady Apollonia and her affinity are living in Worcester in the home of her eldest son, the knight Sir Hugh of Aust, and his wife, Gwendolyn.  Hugh is pleased to have his aging mother living with them, but the relationship between his wife and mother is strained and distant.

Apollonia is pleased to meet a neighbour of her son’s family who is kin to people whom she has known from her home village.  Tim Forrester calls to introduce himself to her and stirs her fondest memories of her second husband, Edward Aust.

Unknown to the Lady or Tim, a vicious usury scheme is being promoted on the streets of Worcester, victimising the poorest of the poor by Forrester’s so-called cousin, Antony Forrester, who has recently come to Worcester from Devon and obviously wishes to live with Tim.

The Carders are another wealthy merchant family of Worcester, mercers or dealers in fine textiles and fabrics, especially silks.  The Carder men represent both highly respected members of their society as well as one whose smuggling activities, if exposed, would declare him a criminal.

Credan Carder is the elder brother and first born son to his merchant father, Goran Carder.  Credan is the height of respectability as a merchant of the town.  He has been made bailiff, a sheriff’s officer who executes writs and carries out arrests. His younger brother, Keneth, is an illegitimate son of Goran Carder and one whose life has been, he feels, condemned by his illegitimacy.  Ironically, Keneth remains unmarried although he lives openly with his mistress, Molly Martin.

Thanks to Molly’s wholesome loving kindness, important relationships within these families are revealed. She encouraged each of them to build their lives and loves upon mutual respect. The usury scheme deteriorates into a greed inspired collection of murders, robbery, and betrayal, while the gifts of a little child joyously reunite a family close to the heart of the Lady Apollonia.

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