The Bards of Ventadorn
When Bards run amok.
In 13th-Century Aquitaine, the young son of a count has skills—musical and magical. He also has romantic and family problems. He likes men. Really likes them, and he’s terrified. The Church likes burning witches, Jews, Moors, strong women, and queers. It’s always a beautiful day for an auto da fé.
Music and Magic are powerful forces that work together for the Bardic Mages. Much of Europe—and Rome—are suddenly vilifying magic, just as young Bardic Mage Guilhem de Comborn and his best friends are going to the Bardic Collegium in Aquitaine to learn it. Aquitaine is a lot more tolerant of many things since the time of Aliénor.
The Church in Rome, a child-stealing undead Hungarian necromancer named Koppany, and a bigoted feudal society are working against Guilhem and his friends. Something is butchering villagers. Giant obsidian gargoyles are abducting children from monestaries.
When Guilhem’s youngest brother–Rene– is spirited away from Ventadorn Castle, the Adults In Charge seem to be doing nothing. Guilhem goes spare. He and his friends Tristan, Robin, Nicolas, and Christophe sneak out of the Collegium to rescue Rene.
As part of this ill-considered plan, they leave their friends Marie-Laurente and Francoise behind. Not caring to be left out because of their sex, they join up with Guilhem’s mother, Dauphine de la Tour, and her small personal army–many of whom are women. The women head for Koppany’s lair in their own attempt to save Rene and pull Guilhem & Company’s chestnuts out of the fire.
With a lot of hard work and luck, this novel will debut in late 2023.