Shield of Kronos (The Great Knights of de Moray Book 1)

By: Kathryn Le Veque

A Medieval Romance

Great Knights of de Moray series




Author’s Note




A good, old-fashioned damsel in distress book!

That’s what I really wanted this book to be – a lady who is in a really bad spot, saved by a man who has fallen for her – in this case, Garret de Moray. I’m not a fan of the insta-love trope, where heroes and heroines fall in love at first sight, but sometimes that’s just the way things happen. Sometimes you just look at someone and know that’s the “one”. This book takes place over just a few days, but MAN… what a few days!

And about Garret… as the father of Bose de Moray (THE GORGON), you just know he had to be the consummate knight. Straight-laced, chivalrous, imposing… everything his son is. When I was writing THE GORGON, I never really talked about Garret other than to mention his name, but there is a conversation between Bose and his cousin, Dag, where Dag mentions that Garret was “as cold as new snow”. Bose defends his father and says the man simply knew how to control his emotions better than most. So, now we get to know Garret de Moray and find out that he’s really not cold at all. He’s just one of those guys who has a serious personality and has a good poker face.

You’ll catch a glimpse of old friends in this novel, namely Christopher de Lohr. This book takes place about four years after RISE OF THE DEFENDER (Christopher’s novel), so both he and his brother, David, are in the first few years of their marriages in this book. Gart Forbes, Rhys du Bois, Anthony de Velt, and a few more of Christopher’s crew make an appearance in this book, however brief. Even so, it was fun to write about them again. It always is!

Name pronunciations in this book: while most names are “normal”, there is one name that is a little different—Jago. It’s pronounced “EE-ah-go”. It was a fairly common name in Medieval times but not something we really see today. Rickard is another common Medieval name and is pronounced “REE-card” (if you can roll your ‘r’s, even better). “Lyssa” is pronounced “Liss-uh”.

Lastly, there is no epilogue to this book because I really didn’t think it needed one. I thought the ending was just so sweet and satisfying that an epilogue might actually dilute the powerful message of it. And I think you’re going to love it without one. At least, I hope so.

So, sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy Garret and Lyssa’s story!

Hugs,

Kathryn







PROLOGUE





The Levant

8 September 1191 A.D.

Six miles east of Arsuf

It is a night made of diamonds, he thought.

On a moonlit night like this, one could see the agelessness of the land, a primordial verve that implied a sense of passing through space and time and history. There was no present, no past, and no future – simply the moment at hand, a weightless awareness of being. The moon overhead was a brilliant silver disc, bathing the land in a ghostly glow, and the stars above seemed to cower to the brilliance of the celestial body.

The air was warm, blowing off the desert’s sands that had seen heat on this day hot enough to fry a man’s skin and burn him to the bone. England didn’t have heat like this, so searing and dry that it laid everything to waste. It had, therefore, been an adjustment for the English armies when they had first arrived with their king, Richard, two months ago in the heat of the summer. But they’d quickly adapted and quickly learned how to cope, purely from necessity.

It was either that or die.

In fact, it had been an adjustment for all of the pale French and English and Teutonic knights who now looked more like tanned leather because it was impractical to wear their heavy armor most of the time, which left their virgin white skin open to the blazing sun. Men were sick from sun exposure almost more than they were sick from the myriad of diseases running rampant among the Christian forces, while the Muslim armies sat back and laughed at their misery.

Foolish Crusaders. Allah will punish them.

Truth was, the Christian armies didn’t have to wait for Allah to punish them because God was already doing a fairly good job of it. If it wasn’t disease or battle that killed them, then surely the subversion and infighting would, which was how the knight in question, the one musing about the diamond sky and feeling the warm wind on his face, found himself on the rocky sands of the desert on this night admiring the moon above.

He was hunting.

Alfaar, the native guides called his prey. The Rat. A cousin to King Richard, Jago de Nantes was the son of Geoffrey of Nantes. Geoffrey was the younger brother of Richard’s father, Henry. Geoffrey of Nantes had never married but he’d had a son with a washerwoman’s daughter and when Geoffrey died, the mother brought her son to King Henry and demanded the boy receive his due. Unwilling to deny his brother’s blood, even if the child had inherited all of his mother’s stupidity and none of his father’s royal blood, he’d given the boy a dukedom simply to ease his guilt in a royal bastard. Popular rumor said Alfaar had been given a dukedom somewhere, Colchester it was said, but no one referred to him by his title. Everyone simply called him Alfaar.