Synopsis: Volume I The Early Years, 1229 to 1243
Montfort is a work in four volumes.
Book One, The Courtier
Simon begins his life in England as a callow and prudish youth who must win his family’s lapsed earldom at King Henry’s dissolute Court. Soon Simon’s pride and presumption are shattered as he first becomes obsessed with a passion for the young heretic Queen Eleanor, and then falls in love with a nun who is the King’s sister. High points: a jousting tournament, the decadent Rome of the emperor Frederic II, the Court of Love and the medieval pageantry of the Wedding Progress of King Henry III.
Book Two, The Exile
Fleeing the jealous suspicions of King Henry, Simon escapes into exile, and on to crusade in the Holy Land where he refines his training in military strategy, learns how to govern a city, and then a country. No longer the callow youth, he is beginning to master the skills that will enable him to change the world. High points: 13th century Jerusalem, the Duke of Burgundy’s Crusade, the battle of Sainte.