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The Future King is an adult saga of bringing up a mischievous upstart to take on the responsibilities of becoming the High King of all Brightland. It is the continuing King Arthur-like adventures of the ‘Queen Of Candelore’ and her efforts to rule all of Brightland in her king’s stead.
Queen Gwyndalin smothered the cherubic infant with kisses, the beloved issue of her dead husband, King Anthony I, and set him down to watch him play on the elk hide laid before the open hearth. In spite of the heavy shutters the cold, late spring storm shrieked through the cracks. She pulled her mantle more securely about herself.
“Keep him warm. I love him too much to have anything happen to him,” she proclaimed to the child’s mother, Lady Elaine. She watched the child a moment longer before she turned away. “I must go down and officiate before the King’s Counsel. I’m beginning to understand why Anthony always looked so...oh, so haggard, when he’d return to our chambers. It’s absolutely astounding what men will quarrel about.”
But before she departed, she again took up the infant and chanted his name softly. “Anthony, my little Anthony. When ye get to be king, ye can go to court and make the decisions. Of course, ye’ll have to learn to talk first.” She kissed the late king’s son on the end of his nose and set him down again. The baby cooed and gurgled.
“I really must go, but I’d rather be here with ye.” She laughed, and brushed an affectionate hand across Lady Elaine’s arm, the late king’s consort.
“Aye, yer Majesty.” The girl curtsied low, ducking her head.
As Queen Gwyndalin gazed back at the cooing infant a fleeting shadow stole across her face. This slip of a girl had finally done the one thing she hadn’t been able to do in all the years she and the king had been together. This Council selected consort had given King Anthony I the heir he needed, the future King Anthony Darkdragon II of all Brightland... while she had remained barren to him. The life of the only child she had managed to nearly carry to full term had been snuffed out like a candle in the wind.
Memories of being trampled during the tournament filled her mind. She had been attacked in the royal box by a Royalman’s crazed charger, a massive beast ridden by Prince Laurance’s own brother. The man had somehow known the secret that the babe she carried in her belly had not been sired by her Lord, the King of the Realm. Her war-trained guard dog, had viciously ripped the man apart, thus by his death had silenced his proclaimed reason for attacking the queen. That she had ‘cuckold’ her own king. Fortunately, the Christian monks in attendance had never understood his wild accusations.
She shuddered in memory of the slashing hooves striking again and again and the unbelievable pain, as though the cold wind chilled her very soul. Only it had been her Royal Companion, Prince Laurance’s Beltane’s babe she had miscarried. A child sanctioned by the Master Merlin on a Beltane Eve. A child begot upon her by order of her king by his distant cousin, Prince Laurance. A child, who her Lady Chamberlain had spirited out of her bed chamber because the Lady had said, ‘his dark curly hair testified he had not been bred by the king’. A child the woman had proclaimed on her death bed... still lived... somewhere...but where? Under what name? Who had been given the swaddled babe to suckle? Who had succored and cared for her infant child? What would her six year old son look like today? Would she even recognize him were she to find him?
The queen suddenly jerked back to the present, the infant’s mother still bowing before her.
“When ye get used to me, I hope ye won’t do that any more, my dear. Our dear King saw both of us as worthy sisters of the realm. Ye be not in servitude to me.” She tweaked the girl’s cheek and hastened for the door. Prince Laurance, her Royal Companion, stood waiting in the doorway to escort her to the counsel hall.
What a handsome devil he is. Oh, how I’d love to toss him into my bed and mess up that beautiful head of curls. Oh what a fanciful dream, Gwyndalin. It will never happen. He is too loyal to the throne and too much a gentleman to ever allow it to happen...again.
BIO: JoEllen Conger is not one writer, but two—a pair of twins who have shared their special mind-linking abilities since children. What one doesn’t think to add to a manuscript or story, the other does. They make quite a team. And as they matured and went their separate ways, writing was the one link that always kept them together. Each twin has her own area of expertise, but enjoying their collaboration efforts, they continue to write fiction in several genres and non-fiction articles and books in various topics.
BIO (1): Joan Ellen Powell lives in Santa Cruz, California with her younger daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters. She also writes under her married name, Joan C. Powell. Being a long-term member of her community, Joan Ellen is actively involved in many local organizations. She has been a member of Romance Writers of America since 1989, and has served as an officer of her local chapter many times. Over the years she has been called upon to judge RWA writing contests, critique or advise other writers, mentor and review pre-published galleys and published works. She finds it a fulfilling way to make new friends.
BIO (2) Joyce Ann Kennedy lives with her husband, and a yard full of wild birds, two small dogs, and a number of cats in the dessert heat of Bakersfield, California. She not only critiques manuscripts by mail, and served as a writing contest judge for RWA, she’s accepted a more recent job as submissions editor for a local cyber-magazine, while continuing to co-write romance, fantasy, and adventure tales with her twin sister. Although the twins live miles apart, thanks to e-mail, they are in constant communications.
“A stellar pre-medieval story from an outstanding author.” Penelope West – Ethan’s Flight – Whiskey Creek Press
“Most of the detail is so authentic for the 5th/ Century that I kept forgetting it was a Fantasy.”
Gabriel Timar – Novgorod Diary – Wings ePress
The Future King: is a rich and detailed saga not only about a young boy growing up to become king, but about Gwyndalin and Laurance’s undying love for each other. A love they can’t acknowledge even though her husband and Anthony’s father, King Anthony I, has died.
I invite you to get comfy and enter the exciting and imaginative 5th Century world of JoEllen Conger. The Future King is a good, old fashioned historical fantasy saga. A wonderfully creative, re-imagined Camelot continued on from Conger’s Queen of Candelore, the first story of King Anthony I, his love for Queen Gwyndalin, their love for Prince Laurance, and his love for the royal couple. It’s as stirring and convoluted, but much more satisfying than the Camelot story. Read it. You’ll see what I mean. -- Review by Jane Leopold Quinn
‘‘The Future King’ by JoEllen Conger is a masterpiece. I was riveted to my chair and couldn’t seem to turn the pages fast enough in my constant quest to find out what was happening next. This is a beautiful novel about relationships mainly between Queen Gwyndalin and Prince Laurance, and Anthony II and Gallagher.
I was caught up in the love and warmth that abounded throughout this well-written book. I couldn’t seem to get enough of the affection between the Queen and her Prince, as well as the developing friendship between Anthony, being groomed to be the High King Darkdragon of Brightland, and his Royal Companion. Gallagher, the lovechild of Gwyndalin and Laurance, was their son, who they thought had died.
Ms. Conger has definitely penned a winner. It is a beautiful escape for the reader into the lives of long-ago. I highly recommend ‘The Future King’ and look forward to more novels by this great author. -- Suzanne Hurley
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 467
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