This week marks the 586th anniversary of Joan of Arc’s triumphant entry into Paris. To celebrate, my friend and colleague Kathryn Le Veque takes us back in time to tell us about a book she based on this unusual woman’s life.
Sounds weird, right? A Saint and a Beast. Kind of a ‘let’s eat hot dogs and caviar’ kind of idea. Actually, the ‘opposites attract’ theme is what fuels the story of one of my bestselling novels, BEAST.
The enigmatic woman who became one of the patron saints of France plays heavily into the storyline. She’s ‘The Saint.” But “The Beast” is a very special hero named Sir Bastian de Russe. He is called ‘beast’ because he’s a hybrid of sorts – a beast of a warrior, if you will – with the bloodlines of six powerful Le Veque knights that flow through his veins, making him a kind of ‘super knight’. Some of my best heroes are his ancestors, which made his lineage pretty complicated because some of these men go back two hundred years. Still, Bastian is a culmination of all their best qualities – powerful, cunning, smart, and with military DNA that any soldier would envy.
The year is 1431 and Bastian serves the Duke of Bedford who was, at this point in time, instrumental in the capture and conviction of Joan of Arc. She was put to death in May of that year. Bastian served as her primary jailor because he was the knight with the best character and the fairest manner when it came to dealing with her.
But here’s where the issues happen – Bastian comes to see how the English, with their supporters, literally railroaded Joan straight to the stake. Did you know that she wasn’t actually convicted of heresy? She was actually convicted of cross-dressing (it gets very complicated here, but trust me on this one). This uneducated, illiterate maid from Domremy stood up to the most intelligent men the ecclesiastical community had to offer and they could not break her. So they got her on a technicality. Up in flames she goes.
Fact: Joan’s heart and intestines survived being burned TWICE.
Bastian sees how the English and their Burgundian allies have manipulated the young woman and rather than support his English overlords, he ends up sympathizing with the Maid. She’s a truly tragic character. Before she dies, she asks a favor of him – a favor he grants – and it is this favor that carries through most of the novel. It causes him trouble, heartbreak, and nearly ends up costing him his wife, but like a man true to his words, he sees it through. We should all have someone as honorable as Bastian de Russe in our lives.
So Joan and the Beast had a special bond – not a romantic one – but one of understanding and, eventually, friendship. Bastian took a big chance doing that but it works out in the end. It’s a truly wonderful novel that was nominated for a prestigious RONE award for 2015.
A big thanks to the readers and lovers of Medieval Romance; without you, authors like me wouldn’t be here. You make it possible for us and we are very grateful for your support and enthusiasm.
Kathryn Le Veque Links:
Website: Kathryn’s website
Facebook: Kathryn Le Veque Author
Buy Links: On Amazon: Kathryn Le Veque’s Amazon page
On iBooks: Kathryn Le Veque iBooks
Kobo: Kathryn Le Veque Kobo
Barnes and Noble: Kathryn Le Veque Barnes and Noble