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By Tim Severin

Sigwulf, a minor Saxon prince, is stored from execution after his kin is slaughtered through the ruthless King Offa of Mercia. due to his Devil's Mark - his eyes of alternative colours - Sigwulf is exiled to the Frankish court docket of King Carolus, the longer term Charlemagne. There Sigwulf survives on his wits whereas while attempting to come to phrases with disturbingly prophetic dreams.

He profits the friendship of count number Hroudland, Carolus's robust and bold nephew - yet, mysteriously, numerous makes an attempt are made on Sigwulf's lifestyles. whilst he obtains a ebook of desires, a unprecedented textual content that explains their that means, he draws the eye of Carolus himself. yet th booklet proves to be a slippery advisor in a global of double dealing. despatched into Spain to secret agent at the Saracens, Sigwulf turns into stuck among loyalties; both he honors his debt to new Saracen buddies, or he serves count number Hroudland in his quest for glory, gold or even the Grail itself.

One after one other Sigwulf's predictions come precise, yet frequently no longer as anticipated, and he reveals himself swept ahead right into a ultimate nice conflict that finds who his enemies are...

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In fact I’m sure,’ he snapped. ‘We bought into the cathedral sooner than it burned. not anything there. all of the church plate long past. an identical tale with the service provider homes. We came across quite a few baubles. ’ He became his bloodshot eyes in the direction of me. ‘And now there’s a miles better prize. ’ I checked out him baffled. ‘What prize? ’ The count number leaned ahead and tugged a size of firewood away from the fireside. the top was once smouldering. The count number blew on it till the 1st flames started to flicker. ‘Patch, imagine again on your previous journey via those mountains. We spoke approximately it once we have been using south. You instructed me then that the folk of those mountains are an historical race who've lived of their mountain strongholds for hundreds of years. ’ ‘It used to be how Wali Husayn defined them to me,’ I acknowledged. ‘And didn’t he say that they demanded tolls from the folk who used the passes, or robbed them in the event that they didn't pay? ’ i used to be becoming uneasy with the road of wondering. while Hroudland subsequent spoke, it used to be in a dreamy tone as though he was once far-off. He was once watching the flames at the firebrand in a half-trance. ‘A priest in Pamplona gloated to me, whilst his cathedral burned round his ears. He crowed that their maximum treasure used to be valueless to us. ’ With a surprising fierce gesture, the count number jabbed the top of the piece of wooden again into the fireplace, and left it there deep one of the gleaming embers. ‘The priest must have stored his mouth close. yet he used to be too rationale on having his paltry victory – the church’s non secular price outweighs any wordly fee used to be how he positioned it. I requested him what he intended, and he acknowledged that their maximum treasure used to be a chalice shaped from stone. It got here from the Holy Land. ’ I felt the hairs on my neck prickle for now I knew why Hroudland had ridden up into the mountains with such haste. The count number grew to become to stand me. It was once as if he was once seeing me for the 1st time. ‘I requested the priest why the chalice was once so distinctive. He knowledgeable me that Christ had used this exact same chalice on the final Supper. ’ ‘I consider he even instructed you the place to discover it? ’ I pressured as a lot disbelief as attainable into my voice, yet Hroudland overlooked my scepticism. ‘It took a bit persuasion. The chalice doesn’t belong to the cathedral yet is introduced there for distinctive banquet days. For the remainder of the yr it really is saved in a mountain safe haven. ’ He reached out and stuck me via the sleeve. ‘Don’t you notice, Patch. every thing suits. The fort within the mountain, the traditional guardians, the chalice from the Holy Land. This should be the Graal. by some means the Vascons bought carry of it from a gaggle of guests who have been on their approach throughout the move. If I deliver it again to the Bretons, i'll develop into greater than only a margrave. ’ I made one other try to deflect him. ‘Everyone is familiar with that Vascon mountain refuges are impregnable. ’ ‘How approximately theft through stealth? ’ he stated, unexpectedly sly. ‘Less than 5 miles from right here a stronghold suits the outline we extracted from the Pamplona priest. It’s worthy a glance. ’ He gave my sleeve a moderate shake to stress his phrases.

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