Sample from Chapter Four:
"IN THE SHADOW OF THE KING"
By Deborah O'Toole
HOURS LATER, Francis Bryan was still in a daze. The royal banquet was long over when he finally took to his bedroll on the floor in Harry Guildford's antechamber. His manservant Robin Havers snored fitfully next to Francis, having imbibed enough wine to fell a giant. Francis did not notice as he lay on his back, eyes to the ceiling. Light from the fireplace danced above him, casting shadows and outlines on the smooth and shiny wood beams. Despite the fire, the chill in the room seemed to have little effect on Francis. His arms were braced behind his head, a lock of dark hair unmoved on his forehead.
The trance he brought on himself continued unbidden, even though he was aware of small noises in the room. The slight hissing and sputtering of the fire, the raucous gales of wind against the small window pane, the muffled sounds of footfalls outside the chamber door in the corridor. All were in Francis' cognizant realm, but not prominent as they should be. The sounds were on the peripherals of his mind, peering in and taking note.
His Majesty the King. The four words were branded upon Francis and his conscious thoughts. He was at the wonder of the world, Greenwich Palace, and he was about to meet the most wondrous and spectacular man of the sixteenth century: Henry VIII. The man who embodied the crown, and all that royalty represented. Francis' wonder grew as he thought of little else, and the sense of anticipation he felt earlier in the day - was it just hours ago? - upon arriving at Greenwich returned to him stronger than before. The emotions enveloped him wholly, and overwhelmed his young senses. For he was young, and about to embark on the greatest adventure any mere mortal man could expect to have in his lifetime.
Francis' eyes grew heavy as the hours passed, and he dozed fitfully. Robin continued to snore unabated. The embers of the fire gradually lessened to a mere glow, shuddering to ash just before dawn.
*Please Note: In the Shadow of the King is a work of historical fiction. Aside from real characters in history, other characters, places and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Copyright ©Deborah O’Toole. All rights reserved. No part of In the Shadow of the King may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author. Estimated Completion: 2022. Storyline, estimated completion date, content and book cover art for In the Shadow of the King may be subject to change.
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