Today I'm welcoming Mercedes Rochelle and her book - The Usurper King (The Plantagenet Legacy - book 3) - to my blog as part of the blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club (founded by Mary Anne Yarde)
I'm delighted to share an excerpt with you all but first I will introduce the book.
The Usurper King
Outlaw to Usurper, Henry Bolingbroke fought one rebellion after
he led his own uprising. Gathering support the day he returned from
exile, Henry marched across the country and vanquished the forsaken
Richard II. Little did he realize that his problems were only just
beginning. How does a usurper prove his legitimacy? What to do with
the deposed king? Only three months after he took the crown, Henry IV
had to face a rebellion led by Richard's disgruntled favorites. Worse
yet, he was harassed by rumors of Richard's return to claim the
throne. His own supporters were turning against him. How to control
the overweening Percies, who were already demanding more than he
could give? What to do with the rebellious Welsh? After only three
years, the horrific Battle of Shrewsbury nearly cost him the
throne—and his life. It didn't take long for Henry to discover that
that having the kingship was much less rewarding than striving for
Length: 308 Pages
You can buy a copy of the book via -
Now for the excerpt -
Day after Henry Bolingbroke returned from exile
lord, a small band of warriors are approaching bearing Percy arms."
Henry whirled around, touching Erpingham who was distracted by the
ship's captain. "Thomas, why would Percy be here?"
Percy?" Erpingham asked.
younger, I believe," said the knight.
Henry said to himself. "He's Warden of the East March of
Scotland if I'm not mistaken." He glanced at the knight. "You
say he has only a small group?"
counted six men."
enough to attack us, unless more are in hiding."
us greet him," Erpingham said. "Best to deal with him
Henry and Thomas knew Harry Hotspur well, so-named by the Scots
because he was always ready to dash into battle. Just a few years
older than Henry, he had also distinguished himself at the St.
Inglevert tournament. They had spent many long evenings drinking and
feasting together in those heady days, but once the festivities were
over they had not crossed paths since. Hotspur and his father, Henry
Percy, Earl of Northumberland had their hands full keeping peace in
the Marches, and their experience with the restive Scots was
was well aware that the Percies were pivotal in his upcoming
struggle. They were the most powerful force in the North, by far.
Their only rival was Ralph Neville, the Earl of Westmorland—a new
earl, one of King Richard's derisively named duketti.
He was given his new title after the Revenge Parliament that
condemned the Appellants. Bolingbroke was counting on Westmorland as
a potential ally because Ralph had recently married his half-sister
Joan Beaufort. At the same time, Henry knew that the Percies weren't
going to let Neville get ahead of them when there was a chance to
grab more power. So he was relatively certain he could induce them to
support him as well.
he wasn't prepared to face them so soon! At least he only had to
confront the son; the father would ride roughshod over any perceived
threat. Still, Henry wasn't sure how to manage Harry yet. He was well
aware that by law, Percy could use his office to arrest him as a
declared outlaw. Or
at least he could try.
Hotspur and his followers entered through the gates of the priory,
Henry, Arundel, and Erpingham were waiting for them in the courtyard.
"My lord, what a surprise to see you here," said Henry,
holding the reins of Hotspur's horse.
Harry brushed his hands across his legs. "Dusty out there,"
he said amiably. "One of your messengers rode across my land and
naturally I questioned him. I was at my manor of Seamer, which is
only about twelve miles away."
brings you so far south?" Henry asked, pretending not to be
concerned. As Warden of the East March of Scotland, Hotspur spent
most of his time in Northumberland—not here, in Yorkshire. Putting
on his most amiable expression, Henry led the others into the priory
where the good friars laid out food and drink for them.
came to collect payment from the exchequer for my services as
warden." Hotspur accepted a mug of ale from a servant. "I
think it would be more appropriate to ask what you
are doing here?" He softened the remark with a smile.
was hard to resist his grin. Harry had a certain openness about him
that invited trust. Tall, bearded, brown-haired, sincere, and
intense, Percy's son was well-known for his honesty and chivalry. He
was the opposite of his brusque father.
was not immune to Hotspur's charm. "I have come back to reclaim
my patrimony, which was unjustly taken from me," he answered
softly. For a moment there was silence around the table.
think my father received a letter from you last month."
grunted. He had sent letters to both of them. "What happened to
me concerns us all," he said in earnest.
Thomas FitzAlan walked into the room. Henry pointed to him. "Harry,
this is Thomas Arundel, son of the late Earl Richard. Like me, he
comes to reclaim his earldom. Thomas, meet Sir Harry Percy, son of
the Earl of Northumberland." The lad came forward and bowed.
this is his uncle Thomas, the Archbishop of Canterbury," Henry
continued. "I don't believe you ever met."
nodded. Hotspur gave him a long look; he knew the archbishop had also
been outlawed. "I don't think we have," he said finally.
"Well met, your Grace. I see you all have the same purpose in
returning to England."
are injustices that need to be put to right," Henry said. "I
hope to gather enough support to convince King Richard he must
reverse his unlawful decisions."
see." Harry looked around the room. "It appears you have
made a modest start."
himself, Henry blushed. "I came with my closest companions, who
accompanied me to France. I have faith my Lancastrian affinity will
swell my ranks."
nodded. Again his smile rescued an uncomfortable situation. "I
have no doubt. King Richard's policies have even disturbed our
stability in the North."
that an invitation? "You
must know I have great respect for your family. Between your lordship
and Lancaster—and the Nevilles, secondarily—the North is a force
to be reckoned with."
would have you with me, Harry."
a sip of his ale, Hotspur looked at the table. "You're asking
for much, my lord."
Henry speaks for all the nobles in the land," interjected the
archbishop. "If Richard could take away the great Lancastrian
patrimony with a strike of his quill, what's to stop him from doing
the same to everyone else?"
declaring a loyal subject a traitor?" added Henry, unable to
suppress his bitterness. "We are all at the mercy of his
impulses." He sensed Hotspur's resistance was half-hearted, and
his heart pounded in response.
considered that, ourselves," Harry said. He turned his whole
body, facing Henry. "What are your real intentions?"
Henry drew himself up. "I have stated them. I came here to
reclaim my own."
didn't know whether to be surprised or offended. But, he admitted to
himself, that question was going to be asked again and again. There
was no easy way to put this. "Are
you wondering if I covet the throne?"
It was said. For the first time.
crossed my mind." Hotspur stared at him, trying to measure his
honesty. Henry shook his head.
have no interest in Richard's crown. The Lancastrian inheritance is
more than enough."
do you intend to convince the king, as you say?"
pursed his lips. It was a fair question. "It won't be easy. I
think, as in the past, a group of magnates," he said slowly, "if
united by a common goal, can force an obstinate king to rule more
wisely, with their help."
don't have to look any farther back than 1387," Arundel
asserted. "The parliamentary Continual Council was only
established for one year. It would need to be permanent this time."
were other examples," Percy mused. "The Council of Fifteen
under Simon de Montfort. Or more lately, the Lords Ordainers against
Edward II. Both ended badly for the barons if I'm not mistaken. We
don't even need to talk about the Lords Appellant."
squirmed uncomfortably. Percy was right. But he had to try again.
"This time around, the king has no powerful supporters.
Richard's new appointees have no teeth. Besides, they are with him in
Hotspur turned his cup in his hand.
the Lancastrian affinity and the North, I trust, we will prove an
irresistible force." Henry leaned forward. "I am prepared
to pay the wages of any men who choose to follow me."
that will be a great benefit." Percy cocked his head. "You
have no intention of usurping the king?"
you prepared to swear an oath?"
hesitation, Henry put a hand on Percy's arm. "My lord, I will do
so at once."
up and gesturing for everyone in the room to follow, Henry called for
a monk to meet them in the chapel. They approached the altar and
waited while the brother reverently unlocked a casket and produced a
bible. Henry knelt, putting his hand on the precious volume.
swear, before this room full of witnesses and God himself, my only
intent in returning to England is to reclaim my inheritance. By the
grace of God, I will recover my patrimony and serve the king as a
held his hand on the bible as every man crossed himself. Then he
stood, a reverential glow on his face. "Are you with me, Harry?"
was suitably impressed by his sincerity. Only hesitating for a
moment, he extended his hand. "You may count on me. I will go at
once to my father so we can gather our resources."
Rochelle is an ardent lover of medieval history, and has channeled
this interest into fiction writing. Her first four books cover
eleventh-century Britain and events surrounding the Norman Conquest
of England. The
next series is called The
about the struggles and abdication of Richard II, leading to the
troubled reigns of the Lancastrian Kings. She
also writes a blog: HistoricalBritainBlog.com to explore the history
behind the story. Born in St. Louis, MO, she received by BA in
Literature at the Univ. of Missouri St.Louis in 1979 then moved to
New York in 1982 while in her mid-20s to “see the world”. The
search hasn’t ended! Today she lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her
husband in a log home they had built themselves.
You can connect with the author via these platforms -
Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Mercedes-Rochelle/e/B001KMG5P6?
You can also find out more about the book and the author by visiting the other blogs on this tour.
That's it for now.
Till the next time.
Take care Zoe