Anatomy of a Thriller 1
The Black Madonna,
A Pope’s Deadly Obsession
The Hanged Man
“Anyone who attempts to construe a personal view of God which conflicts with Church dogma must be burned without pity.”
~ Pope Innocent IIIMother’s Day Promotion @ eBooks.com Save $5 on $40 purchase. Use code MOTHER$TREATcp. Valid until May 31, 2019
Toulouse, France 1209
Guilhelm de Montanhagol, a Knights Templar knew his death was imminent. Few who entered the halls of torment emerged whole in mind or body. For six years, Bishop Folques had kept him imprisoned in a small cell in Toulouse. Condemned as a heretic, he’d suffered the agony of the rack on several occasions.
He reflected on the last time Folques visited him in the dungeon. He had been splayed on a board, tied down at the wrists and ankles. Rollers at each end of the board slowly turned, pulling his body in opposite directions until every joint dislocated. He could no longer sit or stand. He slept, ate, and wasted away in his own filth. His once fine kirtle and linen shirt were just rags wrapped around his body for warmth.
His thoughts turned to his lover, Esclarmonde. Thinking of his her comforted him in his last hours,. Esclarmonde’s skin was the color of alabaster, her shimmering blonde hair, highlighted with wisps of silver, cascaded down her body. She favored floor-length, loosely fitted gowns, usually of blue. He longed to thread his hands through her hair one last time. Her emerald -green eyes shimmered with love for him. Esclarmonde was strong. She would get the codex, written by Mary Magdalene, safely away.
Guilhelm was at peace in this knowledge. He was ready to accept his impending death. His tormentors had beaten him down mentally and physically. Esclarmonde was gone. His brother’s in the Knights Templar were dead and gone. There was no hope, only the desire to die and end the suffering.
Soldiers came, stripped him of the last of his ragged clothing, then dragged him from his meager cell. He had been wearing the same clothes he had worn since Pope Innocent III had him thrown into this God-forsaken hell. They hung him upside down by one leg, creating the sensation of a crucifixion. In time, this posture would inhibit and exhaust the muscles required for breathing. They stretched him in one direction, while gravity and his body weight worked against him. Exhaustion would eventually set in, and he would die. They do this to traitors, he thought angrily, but he was not a traitor. He was a Knights Templar and had sworn an oath never to kill a Christian. The pope believed if one was not of the Orthodox Christian faith, then that person was a heretic and should pay for his crimes against the church. Today, Folques, dressed in monk’s attire, came to offer Guilhelm a last salvation if he would only give up his lover’s secret, the treasure hidden by the Cathars, people who practiced a religion the pope had declared war against in 1208.
“You must be getting desperate, Folques,” Guilhelm whispered weakly. “I have not seen you in years. Have the Cathars escaped with the secret that you want so desperately so you can protect the pope and the Roman religion?”
“Guilhelm, tell me where the treasure is hidden, and I will spare you from being tortured further,” Folques coaxed, while nervously shuffling a deck of cards in his hands.
“I believe the end is near, Bishop. I have nothing to gain and everything to lose in telling you anything. I would lose my soul if you were to extort that from me,” Guilhelm proclaimed defiantly.
Folques held out a card for Guilhelm who strained through blurred vision to see its face. He saw what appeared to be a young woman holding open the jaws of a lion., He’s discovered cards, he thought. He blinked back the salty sweat rolling down his face, trying to see more clearly.
The image faded and he saw a Roman pontiff holding a staff, crowned by the Yellow Cross of the Cathars. The next card Folques pulled from the deck displayed a burning tower with its defenders leaping to their deaths. Visions of the cards floated past Guilhelm with greater speed, a blur of scenes he could barely distinguish through his battered eyes. Did this mean that -Esclarmonde plan had worked? His mind leaped with joy as his body grew weaker. God bless Esclarmonde.
“Who is this woman?” Folques demanded again.
The question roused Guilhelm from his anguished thoughts. The guards yanked his head back by his hair. He saw Foulques displaying a card with a hand-painted miniature of his beloved Esclarmonde.
“We found these playing cards being copied and passed from city to city like holy relics by gypsies. What is their purpose?” Folques demanded.
Guilhelm suddenly turned away, realizing which card Folques was holding—the one that depicted the seated priestess. She held a scroll bearing the letter’s tarot. Esclarmonde created these cards to preserve the teachings of the Cathars for future generations. The scroll protected by the High Priestess would one day turn the world upside-down, but only if the truth was known.
Two burly guards cut Guilhelm down and let him drop hard to the ground. Grabbing him by his arms, they picked him up and gripped his head, turning it to face the pyre. He felt the intense heat and smelled the smoke. He envisioned Esclarmonde calling out to him.
He had withstood more pain than most men could have. Completely worn out, he longed only to be with his lover one day in the Hereafter.
“Tell me, Guilhelm, now,” ordered Folques.
Guilhelm forced a slight smile on his dry, cracked lips, knowing that, one day, the truth about the Cathars and the treasure would be known.
“Your god is waiting for you and every other Cathar,” Folques spit out with disgust. “I will find the treasure of the Cathars if it takes killing every one of you.” He turned to the guards. “He might as well burn. He is useless to me.”Up to 40% Off Books Mom Will Love!
About the Author
Linda Lee Kane is an author of fantasies, thrillers, and contemporary fiction works. She is the author of Death on the Vine, Chilled to the Bones and an upcoming re-release of the The Black Madonna ‘A Popes Deadly Obsession’. She lives with her husband, two dogs, and seven horses in California. “Whether I am writing for adults or children, the war between my days and nights is reflected in my books. Although the tendency to acknowledge the light and dark sides of life is often disguised in my work, it’s always there, lurking just out of sight.”
You can find Linda at her website: https://www.lindaleekane.com/
You may also follow her on Twitter at @llkane2152.
You can follow the author’s blog tour using the dates and links below!
— Blog Tour Dates
April 1st @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Come by today and celebrate the launch of Linda Lee Kane’s book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obession. Read an interview with the author and also enter to win a copy of the book.
April 2nd @ Break Even Books
Make sure you visit Erik’s blog today where you can catch Linda Lee Kane’s blog post about heroes and villains.
April 3rd @ Words from the Heart
Rev. Linda Neas will be reviewing Linda Lee Kane’s book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.
April 5th @ Words from the Heart
Stop by Rev. Linda Neas blog where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s blog post about heroes and villains.
April 8th @ Jennifer’s Deals
Visit Jennifer’s blog where you can read her review of Linda Lee Kane’s exciting historical mystery book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.
April 10th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog
Stop by Bev’s blog today where you can read her thoughts about Linda Lee Kane’s historical mystery Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.
April 11th @ Oh for the Hook of a Book
Visit Erin’s blog today where she shares her opinion about Linda Lee Kane’s exciting book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.
April 12th @ Bookworm Blog
Stop by Anjanette’s bookworm blog where you can read author Linda Lee Kane’s post about creating suspense. Plus, be sure to check out the interview with the author as well!
April 13th @ Chapters Through Life
Visit Danielle’s blog where you can read her interview with author Linda Lee Kane and hear more about this interesting writer!
April 15th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog
Visit Bev’s blog again where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s guest post about finding the idea.
April 16th @ Amanda Diaries
Visit Amanda’s blog where she reviews the exciting historical fiction book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession by Linda Lee Kane.
April 19th @ Bookworm Blog
Stop by Anjanette’s bookworm blog where you can read her thoughts about Linda Lee Kane’s book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.
April 19th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog
Make sure you stop by Jill’s blog today where author Linda Lee Kane talks about finding the idea.
April 20th @ Madeline Sharples’ Blog
Stop by Madeline’s blog where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s blog post about life as a writer.
April 21st @ Coffee with Lacey
Grab some coffee and visit Lacey’s blog where you can read her review of Linda Lee Kane’s exciting thriller, Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.
April 22nd @ Cassandra’s Writing World
Visit Cassandra’s blog where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s guest post on research.
April 23rd @ Joyful Antidotes
Come by Joy’s blog today and find out her thoughts on Linda Lee Kane’s exciting book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.
April 24th @ Bring on Lemons
Stop by Crystal’s blog today where you can read her review of this exciting historical fiction book, Black Madonna.
April 25th @ To Write or Not to Write
Visit Sreevarsha’s blog where she shares her thoughts about Linda Lee Kane’s exciting thriller Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.
April 26th @ To Write or Not to Write
Make sure you stop by Sreevarsha’s blog again where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s fascinating blog post about the anatomy of a thriller.
April 27th @ A Day in the Life of Mom
Visit Ashley’s blog and check out what she has to say about Linda Lee Kane’s exciting historical mystery Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.
May 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog
Be sure to stop by Anthony’s blog today where you can read his opinion about Linda Lee Kane’s exciting historical mystery Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.
May 4th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog
May the 4th be with you on this day! Be sure to visit Anthony’s blog again where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s guest post on the anatomy of a thriller as well as an interview with this incredible author.
May 6th @ Cassandra’s Writing World
Visit Cassandra’s blog again where you can read her review of Linda Lee Kane’s book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession. Plus you can also enter to win a copy of the book!