The Voyage West delivers storyteller Mark Beaulieu’s third volume recreating Eleanor of Aquitaine’s rich medieval world 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 restorative Orontes river. 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 the story of a layered world as complex as Eleanor, where armed political struggle, divisive religion, medieval beliefs, 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 and troubadour princes meet the exotic women of Outremer and the culture of the desert. We see both sides of the enormous battle fought over Damascus. Eleanor meets the sister-queens who operate the holy lands and learn what it takes to be a Queen that uses 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 call and divide the Second Crusade. Eleanor arrives 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.
This ten-year writing project draws on the latest scholarly research. Beaulieu’s historical fiction significantly updates what we know of this powerful medieval queen. Find out how she becomes one of the most enigmatic women of the middle ages as she develops the Eleanor Code and gets to be the grandmother of empires. Born as Alienor, she twice becomes a queen, once for France with King Louis 7th, then for England with King Henri 2nd.
This edition is April 2021