The Voyage West delivers storyteller Mark Beaulieu’s third volume recreating Eleanor of Aquitaine’s rich medieval adventure on land and sea. As a spirited crusader, the young French queen and mother must fight for all she believes in. Survival becomes paramount to endure an ill-conceived war in treacherous Outremer and to sail a dangerous voyage home.
Coming ashore in Antioch after horrific losses where only one in twenty survives, Eleanor must overcome despair. Meanwhile, Louis, who has lost most of his army, tours holy shrines. A barge sent by King Raymond invites her to sail up the Orontes river in honor. Her court urges her forward to discover the exotic ways of a rich desert culture. Louis and Eleanor come into a dramatic confrontation over the crusade mission, but actions far deeper are taking place by forces that have called the holy war.
This begins a layered world as complex as Eleanor, where armed political struggle, divisive religion, medieval ignorance, and passions compound. Eleanor, driven forward by a holy quest, finds it is everything else that matters. Through novice eyes, she experiences beauty and cruelty. Her court of chevaliers meet the exotic women of Outremer. A troubadour prince learns the music that drives the people of the desert yet must battle for his life against the same people. We see both sides of the enormous battle fought over Damascus. Eleanor meets the sister-queens who operate the holy lands. She learns what it takes to be a Queen and use her court to full advantage. In spite of fears for safety and facing real and immediate danger, she struggles in a holy war with an all-knowing church and an unknowing King, a perfect storm for making infallibly horrific decisions. Ultimately, she understands the forces that both call and divide the Second Crusade. Eleanor will head home as a wholly different person, changed forever. It is an amazing voyage and a thrilling adventure of one of the greatest queens you never knew.
In development fourteen years and based on the latest scholarly research, these stories significantly update earlier historical fictions. Discover how she will become one of the most powerful and enigmatic women of the middle ages as she develops her own Eleanor Code.
Born Alienor d'Aquitaine in 1124, died in 1204, she twice becomes a queen, once for France with King Louis 7th, then for England with King Henri 2nd.
This edition is November 2017.