Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
Constantinople in the early 12th century: Alexius Comnenus is on the throne, along with his wife Irene and daughter, Anna. They are protected in part by the Varangian guard, a collection of refugees from Saxon England and various countries in Scandinavia. The bulk of the first Crusade to rescue Jerusalem from the pagans is about to arrive and consequently the intricate politics of court life are becoming increasingly complex. Count Robert and his warrior wife, Countess Brenhilda are a major part of the noble contingent, along with Bohemund and Godfrey de Bouillion. Alexius wants to utilize the crusader army as a defensive ploy against the Seljuk Turks, who are aggressive and ambitious, but he’s afraid of being besieged by the relatively undisciplined force as well. In addition, he’s become aware that a plot to dethrone him is in existence, but he’s not sure who is involved.
Hereward the Saxon is a Varagian guard renowned for his skill, strength and loyalty. He suspects the leader of the Varangians, Achilles Tatius, of being overly ambitious and snaky in his friendships, one of the latter being Anna’s husband, Nicephorus Briennius, who has
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OK, this post came to my email inbox two days ago (Feb 24) and here I am. But the post leaves off mid the second paragraph. Carry on!