The Devil's Diadem

By Sara Douglass

Maeb Langtofte is fortunate to have a place within the loved ones of the Earl of Pengraic—one of the main robust males in England, whose holdings rival King Edmond's. She is fortunate that his spouse, Adelie, whom Maeb serves, is variety and pious (unlike the Earl, whom Maeb unearths darkish and secretive). but if observe arrives plague is sweeping via Europe like a human wildfire, each person within the Earl's family is wear area. it really is whispered that sufferers of this plague are spontaneously engulfed in flames—as if the flames of Hell had abruptly leapt as much as declare them and the satan himself is to blame.

As the sickness spreads into England, so too does civil unrest. King Edmond calls his lords and their armies to come back to London, and the Earl obeys, leaving Maeb and his kin unprotected. It seems that the Earl has been hiding greater than nation secrets and techniques, and that his relations is vulnerable to wasting not just their lives but additionally their souls. To her horror, Maeb will study that the satan himself could have arrived on her doorstep. And worse, what he calls for could be operating via her very veins.

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Henry bothers many folks. he'll be your most threatening opponent at courtroom, for he hates your husband and covets his strength — and his independence from Edmond. Come, allow us to descend to the lesser corridor, and we will parade alongside its size, and assemble you admirers. ’ We conscientiously traversed the slender spiral stairs to the reduce point — Alianor displaying me, unasked, the place the privies have been at the means (she had borne seven little ones, she advised me, and understood the desires of the lady sporting a baby) — and into the lesser corridor.

Did none of you spot something? That fungus used to be good unfold … how might my girl mom have hid it? ’ Now I regarded complete at Yvette, difficult her. She shifted uncomfortably, and at last spoke, her voice delicate and apologetic. ‘The fungus got here 3 days in the past, my lord. My girl … my woman begged me to not inform an individual. We saved it good concealed. ’ Stephen stared at her. ‘You didn't imagine for a second to inform me? you probably did no longer imagine that I hold complete accountability for all at Pengraic and may by way of rights have identified?

I rose, dipped in courtesy, and left the shop room. The earl looked as if it would have forgotten his promise to escort me to my chamber, yet i didn't brain. i used to be comfortable sufficient to go away him. I again secure to my chamber, and utilized the poultice to Evelyn’s again. She didn't seem to observe something amiss, and that i acknowledged no longer a be aware of what had happened. I lay beside her, the poultice warming us either as we curled jointly, yet i didn't sleep that evening. The hissing imp invaded my ideas at any time when I closed my eyes, and if it used to be now not the imp, it used to be the earl’s phrases.

And that of his son? And why now not! God by myself knew what lies Henry have been feeding him. used to be I to be blamed for each dying in England? I puzzled on the not likely pairing of Madog and Henry. What have been they approximately? I wept in hopelessness and discomfort, placing on grimly to the clumsy bastard of a horse I rode, attempting to swallow my sobs in order that the Teulu driving nearby didn't comprehend how misplaced in discomfort i used to be. Madog was once going to kill me. If I had now not identified it ahead of, I knew it now. We rode until eventually good after sunrise while, eventually real to his observe, Madog commanded us to halt and make camp.

I peeked at girl Adelie and observed that her face used to be sympathetic. they'd informed her then, but she didn't condemn me. The older childrens, Alice, Emmette and the twins, dipped or bowed prior to the king, then Pengraic beckoned Alice ahead a step. ‘Gilbert,’ the earl stated, ‘this is my daughter Alice. ’ Alice dimpled prettily on the nearer of the 2 noblemen, and curtsied back. I checked out the gleam of curiosity within the nobleman’s eyes, and puzzled if Pengraic was once arranging a fit among Alice and this guy — the Earl of Scersberie.

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