The Lion and the Leopard by Mary Ellen Johnson (1985, Hardcover)

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The Lion and the Leopard
A Novel of Plantagenet England
by Mary Ellen Johnson
Publisher: Crown Publishers, Inc.
Copyright 1985

A grand, full-blown historical romance, The Lion and the Leopard tells the noble tale of a passionate menage a trois played out against the bloody backdrop of war-torn Plantagenet England.

Maria Rendell, the beautiful, auburn-haired Lady of Kent, is a feisty girl, eternally fighting against her wild impulses.  When she first meets Phillip Rendell, hero of the Battle of Bannockburn, she not only falls instantly and madly in love with him, but runs away to marry him against her parents' wishes.  During the early months of their marriage, she continues to adore him, but quickly realizes she can never understand his zealous, chivalrous idealism.  They are married but a brief three years when he leaves Maria behind to care for their two children while he goes forth to the Crusades.

But by this time, Maria's fiery nature has allowed her to fall in love with a man she understands utterly, a man to whom she is linked to the core of her being: the handsome Richard of Sussex, bastard brother of King Edward II, and best friend to her husband, Phillip.  Richard and Maria fight their passion -- and their guilt -- but finally succumb to their love.  During Phillip's long absence, they live together openly, caring naught for the consequences.

In war-ravaged, Plantagenet-ruled England, awesome events begin to shape and sway their lives.  Edward II, England's first charming Prince of Wales, has proved to be a weak monarch (addicted to foolhardy favorites -- Piers Gaveston and later the Hugh Despensers), a worthless soldier, and an incompetent statesman.  Edward's French queen, Isabella deserts him and, together with her lover, Mortimer, Lord March, invades England.  Edward is forced to abdicate in favor of his son, is imprisoned at Berkeley Castle, and is finally murdered by Mortimer in one of history's most sordid executions.

As England falls to the hands of Mortimer and Isabella, the love story of Maria and her men entwines with the fate of the Plantagenet kings.  After Edward abdicates, Richard becomes vulnerable to the sadistic whims of Mortimer and Isabella.  Phillip returns only to discover that his wife and his best friend have betrayed him.  It is at this stunning moment that Phillip, Maria, and Richard resolve their fates as only each can.

The Lion and the Leopard is not only a lusty and moving story of love in its many guises, but a historical novel of richness, verve, and breathtaking readability.  A fine entrance by a remarkable new talent.

Condition: Used. Hardcover. Dust cover. Dust Cover and dust cover edges shows a bit of wear and discoloration.  Previous owner's name and date are written on the front endpaper.  Previous owner's "ex libris" is on the front endpaper.  Pages may be tanning from age.


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    • ISBN 0517557274
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