Banished from his beloved London in 1303, Gregory of Bordeaux heads to Gascony, the old wine duchy in southwest France, to wait out his expulsion. Far from idle, he is burdened with tasks that if completed, enable a triumphal return home, where his wife and infant twins await. Out into the hills he rides, the cities and castles, the vineyards and wastelands, each stop a step closer to the tidy merchant’s life he’d left behind. Smoldering among the writs and letters tucked in his satchel is an arrest warrant, one he must serve on an outlawed traitor to the king. Safe within the walls of his bleak stronghold, Alphonse of Bayonne—brooding over his mistakes and eaten through with tedium—must bide his time until a royal pardon, his last and doubtful hope for redemption, is granted. Gregory, who in exile sees a grand opportunity for his own ends, has other ideas.
The Gascony Letters, sequel to The Southampton Chronicle, is another stone-and-steel dash through the Middle Ages, another series of high escapades in a time when horses were fast, swords were sharp, and all roads led to peril. Joined by his former page, Warren of Lichfield, Gregory again resorts to his feared weapon of choice—a goose-feather quill dipped in poisonous ink—as he struggles to tilt the field in his favor.