Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Cryssa Bazos: From Diamonds to Platinum - celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee

To celebrate Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee Discovering Diamonds is hosting a series of excerpts or articles written by our wonderful review team. For our author reviewers: the theme is an excerpt from one of their novels portraying royalty - or an equivalent leader-type character. For our non-writer reviewers: a favourite monarch and/or novel about Royalty... In other words, an enjoyable mix of entertainment to acknowledge Queen Elizabeth II's longest reign in British history! 70 years! 

God Bless you Ma'am. 

(say ma'am to rhyme with 'jam' not 'farm')


Traitor's Knot 
by Cryssa Bazos
17th Century Enthusiast

About Traitor’s Knot

England 1650: Civil War has given way to an uneasy peace . . . 

Royalist officer James Hart refuses to accept the tyranny of the new government after the execution of King Charles I, and to raise funds for the restoration of the king’s son, he takes to the road as a highwayman.

Elizabeth Seton has long been shunned for being a traitor’s daughter. In the midst of the new order, she risks her life by sheltering fugitives from Parliament in a garrison town. But her attempts to rebuild her life are threatened, first by her own sense of injustice, then by falling in love with an outlaw. 

The lovers’ loyalty is tested through war, defeat and separation. James must fight his way back to the woman he loves, while Elizabeth will do anything to save him, even if it means sacrificing herself.

Read an excerpt

Excerpt: The Coronation of King Charles II at Scone by Cryssa Bazos

Richard Fanshawe met James at the entrance to the Scone Palace.

This way,” he said, guiding him to the Kings chambers. A bewildering crosscurrent of people darted through the halls as Richard navigated the twists and turns and multiple staircases. Charless chamber doors were flung open, and a small army of servants and nobles were gathered inside.

High-ranking nobles circled closest to his orbit while a few unassuming people were shunted to the far corners. Charles was resplendent in richest crimson velvet with his black hair flowing over his shoulders. Every time he moved, the cloths sheen rippled between red and burgundy. James was struck by how much had changed. He smiled to himself, remembering the rough apprentice clothes Charles had donned to slip out of Bristol unnoticed five years ago.

When they got closer, Charles looked up and noticed James. A smile spread across his face, and he called out to him, unmindful of the shocked glares from his nobles, Captain Hart, well met.”

Your Majesty.” James stopped before him and bowed. May your reign be long and fruitful.”

Charles touched him on the shoulder. I am thankful youve come.” James did not think he meant the coronation. He lowered his voice and added, If I only had more with your resourcefulness and loyalty.”

Before James could reply, one of his grooms brought the heavy ermine cloak and, stepping between them, proceeded to drape it across the Kings shoulders. Another groom slipped in and fastened the royal Garter around Charless neck

Richard drew James away and navigated him to one of the far corners. James felt more at ease here, where plain linens replaced the showy velvets. The chirurgeon Wiseman stood beside a neat pair of women in crisp, white aprons.

Captain Hart.” The doctor nodded. Youve recovered well enough.”

James touched his side. It still twinged when he tried to practise with a sword. Aye, thanks to your skill.”

A nobleman in deep blue satin edged with lace sidled up to Richard. Artfully curled blond hair framed a pampered face. Fanshawe.” He spoke to the secretary, though his eyes were latched on James. We should have been in procession by now. These Scots cant keep a proper schedule.”

"My lord Buckingham,” Richard bowed. May I present Captain James Hart of Warwickshire.”

My lord,” James bowed. The Duke of Buckingham was one of the few English companions the Scots allowed Charles.

Hart? I'm unfamiliar with that name. Where in Warwickshire?”

Coventry, my lord,” James said flatly. The Harts have owned a modest freehold since old Queen Bess.

The dukes attention slid off James, and he turned once more to Richard. Shame the ceremony couldnt have been held at Holyrood, like his sainted father's coronation.”

His Majesty is beckoning you, my lord,” Richard said.

Naturally.” Without another word, Buckingham swept off to join Charles.

James shook his head. Like a cloying scent, the duke left a bad taste in his mouth. He better understood why the Scots allowed Charles this affectation. He could only show them in a better light. Still, the dukes thoughtless words bothered him. We should not wish the King to emulate his father,” he leaned in to murmur to Richard. Let the coronation pave a new path.”

Richard nodded. To Gods ears.”

The Kings nobles assumed their position, with a senior official on either side of Charles and four attendants holding his ermine train. The rest of the nobles aligned themselves behind Charles, leaving his household staff to follow at a discreet distance. James fell in beside Richard.

The procession headed down the long hallway towards the presence chamber, a grand room with a high, plastered ceiling. In the centre stood an ornate chair and over it a red canopy held in place by six attendants.

Charles took his seat and one by one received the Members of Parliament and leaders of the Council, who were all dressed in scarlet. After the last official paid his respects, a signal was made for the party to withdraw to the church. The highest-ranking nobles took up the royal regalia and in single file led the procession out of the palace. The six attendants holding the canopy arranged themselves around Charles so that as he walked, he was constantly covered by a crimson sky. As James watched, a cold shiver ran down his spine.

The procession headed across the grounds, along a sloping hill towards the stone church.

"They call this hillock Moot Hill,” Richard said to James.

What?” James asked, startled.

Moot Hill,” Richard repeated. Ancient meeting place.”

James smiled to himself at the coincidence—or irony, he couldnt decide which

They passed through a lych-gate to enter the church. As there were so many people who had to pass through, James and Richard waited nearly twenty minutes to enter. James looked around at the large rectangular hall filled with clerics, nobles and officials. At the centre stood a platform with a throne chair and a pulpit off to one side. Charles had not yet ascended the throne and instead sat directly opposite the pulpit in a massive wooden chair. All the regalia were laid before the pulpit upon a table clothed in green velvet.

This way,” Richard said, leading him to a position in the western end of the church where the other members of the princes household stood.

The energy was palpable in the church, and people did not bother to lower their voices. Friends greeted each other with rounds of self-congratulation, as though each one had a hand in this day.

The minister stepped up to the pulpit to start the coronation and began with a sermon. James braced himself for an invocation of hellfire and brimstone. Instead, the minister spoke with the soothing tones of a favoured grandfather, moderating his warnings and admonitions to fit the occasion.

When it was time, four noblemen went to each corner of the platform, announcing to the people at each quadrant, Sirs, I do present unto you the King—Charles, the rightful and undoubted heir of the crown and dignity of the realm.”

Charles ascended the platform and knelt before the minister. He held up his hand and swore the Kings oath. When he reached the part, I shall command and procure that justice and equity be kept to all creatures without exception,” James drew himself to his full height. Justice. This was what this was about.

The officials helped Charles to his feet and, before the congregation, clothed him in royal robes of purple velvet, girded the royal sword around his waist and placed golden spurs on his feet. Lastly, a nobleman, the Marquess of Argyll, held aloft the crown of Scotland and placed it upon Charless head.   

The crowd shouted, God save the King, Charles the Second.”

Over and over, the crowd continued to chant, moving James by the strength of their fervour. At the age of twenty, Charles had done what his father could not—rally all the Scots to his cause; these fractious, passionate, fervent Scots. The price had been his oath to their covenant, and only the future would tell the true cost of that oath, but for the first time in over five years, James was filled with genuine hope. First Scotland, next England. He smiled openly.

God save the King,” voices thundered around him.

James lifted his own voice and said, God save the King!”

Cryssa is an historical fiction writer and 17th Century enthusiast, with a particular interest in the English Civil War.  Her debut novel, Traitor’s Knot, is a romantic tale of adventure set during the English Civil War and was the Medalist winner of the 2017 New Apple Award (historical fiction), a finalist for the 2018 EPIC eBook Awards (historical romance) and the RNA Joan Hessayon Award. Her second novel, Severed Knot, was longlisted for the Historical Novel Society 2018 New Novel Award. Both novels are part of a series of stand-alone adventures spanning from the English Civil War to the Restoration.

Website: http://cryssabazos.com

  Facebook  Twitter @CryssaBazos

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  1. I LOVED Traitor's Knot and this excerpt shows just how good the book is. Thank you, Cryssa and Helen, for reminding us all.

  2. A fabulous excerpt from a fabulous book!

  3. I'm there! Wonderful excerpt, and now I must re-read Traitor's Knot. It's such a great novel!

  4. Brought back memories of being at Scone! Lovely.


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