Excerpt: UNDER THE APPROACHING DARK by Anna Belfrage

Updated: Feb 3, 2020

“The writing is impeccable. The story has everything. Under the Approaching Dark is just perfect in every sense”

– Sharon Bennett Connolly, History The Interesting Bits


Under the Approaching Dark

The King's Greatest Enemy III

Adam de Guirande has cause to believe the turbulent times are behind him: Hugh Despenser is dead and Edward II is forced to abdicate in favour of his young son. It is time to look forward, to a bright new world in which the young king, guided by his council, heals his kingdom and restores its greatness. But the turmoil is far from over.

After years of strife, England in the early months of 1327 is a country in need of stability, and many turn with hope towards the new young king, Edward III. But Edward is too young to rule, so instead it is his mother, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer, who do the actual governing, much to the dislike of barons such as Henry of Lancaster.

In the north, the Scots take advantage of the weakened state of the realm and raid with impunity. Closer to court, it is Mortimer’s increasing powers that cause concerns – both among his enemies, but also for men like Adam, who loves Mortimer dearly, but loves the young king just as much.

When it is announced that Edward II has died in September of 1327, what has so far been a grumble grows into voluble protests against Mortimer. Yet again, the spectre of rebellion haunts the land, and things are further complicated by the reappearance of one of Adam’s personal enemies. Soon enough, he and his beloved wife Kit are fighting for their survival – even more so when Adam is given a task that puts them both in the gravest of dangers.


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Series: The King's Greatest Enemy | Genre: Medieval Fiction | Pub Date: April 28, 2017

eBook & Paperback; 424 Pages



from Under the Approaching Dark


From Chapter 1

Adam de Guirande was in the bailey when his brother, William, was sighted at the top of the lane. It was three days before Twelfth Night in the year of our Lord 1327, and Adam should have already been on his way to Westminster, but he had delayed on purpose, not wanting to leave until his priest brother returned from his recent excursion to Tewkesbury Abbey.

It was wet rather than cold, and dark clouds to the east promised more rain. Adam sighed: it would be a long ride to Westminster, but he was not in a position to refuse. He had been summoned back to court, by both Prince Edward, his present young master, and Lord Roger Mortimer, his former master. From the terse wordings in the two separate messages, delivered by two different and exhausted messengers, Adam gathered his two lords were not seeing eye to eye on things. They rarely did lately. Ever since Mortimer—or rather Queen Isabella—had led the invasion that had deprived King Edward of his throne, the prince’s relationship with his lady mother’s champion and lover had cooled. Now King Edward was held prisoner at Kenilworth—an honourable and comfortable captivity, to be sure—and this had further distanced the prince from his mother.

Adam strode over to the gate to welcome William, stopping for a moment to take in his manor with proprietary pride. Tresaints was not a large place: it consisted of the manor house, several buildings that housed barn and stables, kitchens and storage sheds, and, to the left of the house, a chapel, built some centuries earlier by a returning crusader ancestor of Kit’s. The thought of his wife made him smile, and he glanced at the solar window, the opaque horn panes lit from within by candles and fire. His Kit, surely sitting up in bed with their newborn son at her breast. A son, a little bundle he had already taken to his heart, holding him for hours as he slept.




Author Anna Belfrage

Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she’s multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive…

For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she’s still there.




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