Welcome to Wednesday Confidential! Each week, I’ll talk about…something. And it won’t be confidential, or I couldn’t exactly post it on the Internet, so this whole idea is sort of misleading. Oh well.
Today, I thought I’d introduce you to some of my research behind DEADLY, CALM, AND COLD, a romantic thriller that will be released in early December. The Collectors series is about a bunch of rich, ruthless treasure hunters who, of course, don’t get their own hands dirty hunting the treasure. They use people. (So the books are only loosely connected and work as standalones.)
Anyhoo, the treasure at the heart of DCC, as I’ve come to call it, is tied to England’s King John. Don’t remember John? Some believe he’s England’s Worst. King. Ever, so much so that there has never been another king brave enough to risk that name.
Remember the evil greedy king in the Robin Hood stories? Yep, that was John. Remember the king who was so despised that landowners forced him to sign the Magna Carta in 1215? Yep, that was John too. Remember the warrior Richard Coeur de Lion? John’s older bro, who conveniently died and allowed John to become king.
So here’s the deal with John. The king was traveling back to London after a series of disastrous military losses. As was the custom, he had his crown jewels with him—scepter, crown, much of the treasure inherited from his mother, the Empress of Germany—along with a big entourage. He was not a happy camper and, to top it off, he felt like crap. So he made a pit stop along the way at the abbey located in the village of Swineshead, in Lincolnshire.
Here’s where the plot thickens. One of four things happened, depending on whose history you happen to be reading.
First scenario: While he went off to spend the night at the abbey and recover from his illness, he sent his slower baggage train on a more direct route toward London, across the swampy land that makes up the Wash. They miscalculated the weather conditions and tide, and the entire baggage train—men, horses, and the crown jewels—were sucked into quicksand and lost to history. Sick and bereft and suffering from dysentery, John traveled on and died a couple of days later.
Second scenario: John knew his reign was in deep trouble and, to protect the jewels, had them hidden away somewhere in the vicinity of Swineshead Abbey while his baggage train went on without them, with the intention of retrieving them at a later date. Unfortunately, he died two days later.
Third scenario: John arrived at Swineshead Abbey with the jewels in tow and his baggage train going ahead and lost in the Wash (that much seems to be consistent among all the stories—death by quicksand). He demanded a little smexy time with the abbott’s wife, and an enraged Cistercian monk by the name of Brother Timothy poisoned the king’s wine. He became increasingly ill, during which time, the industrious Timothy took the jewels and either buried them or gave them to the abbott. John, too ill to know he’s been robbed (and poisoned), died two days later.
Hmmmm….While I think scenario #3 is the most colorful, most of the histories go for #1. Whatever happened, we’ll probably never know. Many a folk over the centuries have searched for the lost jewels to no avail.
But one of my Collectors? He wants those jewels, and will stop at nothing to get them.
So that’s the story behind the treasure of DEADLY, COLD, AND CALM! Which theory is your favorite? Which seems most likely? Leave a comment for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card. New policy: all giveaways for each month will be announced the last Sunday of the month.