My Coffee Pot Guest: Amy Maroney – The Queen’s Scribe

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About the Book

Book Title: The Queen’s Scribe

Series: Sea and Stone Chronicles

Author: Amy Maroney

Publication Date: April 25, 2023

Publisher: Artelan Press

Page Length: 388

Genre: Historical fiction

A broken promise. A bitter conflict. And a woman’s elusive chance to love or die.

1458. Young Frenchwoman Estelle de Montavon sails to Cyprus imagining a bright future as tutor to a princess. Instead, she is betrayed by those she loves most—and forced into a dangerous new world of scheming courtiers, vicious power struggles, and the terrifying threat of war.

Determined to flee, Estelle enlists the help of an attractive and mysterious falconer. But on the eve of her escape, fortune’s wheel turns again. She gains entry to Queen Charlotta’s inner circle as a trusted scribe and interpreter, fighting her way to dizzying heights of influence.

Enemies old and new rise from the shadows as Estelle navigates a royal game of cat and mouse between the queen and her powerful half-brother, who wants the throne for himself.

When war comes to the island, Estelle faces a brutal reckoning for her loyalty to the queen. Will the impossible choice looming ahead be her doom—or her salvation?

With this richly-told story of courage, loyalty, and the sustaining power of love, Amy Maroney brings a mesmerizing and forgotten world to vivid life. The Queen’s Scribe is a stand-alone novel in the Sea and Stone Chronicles collection.

Discovering Charlotta of Cyprus, an Extraordinary Queen
Imagine a story about the heir to a French dynasty of kings who’s not only female, but who can’t speak French. Imagine she’s married at 14, widowed at 15, orphaned at 16, and crowned queen that very year. Imagine further that this young queen has a half-brother eyeing her throne, plotting to declare war on her. When she marries a second husband (a French speaker, so communicating is…um…tricky), the new king turns out to be a dud. So when civil war ignites, saving the kingdom is entirely up to her. 
The story of Queen Charlotta of Cyprus has so many fantastical plot twists, it couldn’t possibly be real. Except—it is. I stumbled across this forgotten queen while doing research for the Sea and Stone Chronicles, a collection of novels about ordinary people living under the rule of the Knights Hospitaller in medieval Rhodes. 
Charlotta was born into the Lusignan dynasty, which ruled Cyprus for hundreds of years during the medieval era and was allied with the Knights Hospitaller; as I dug into the knights’ history, I spied constant references to this obscure French dynasty.  
It was hard to look away. The murderous power plays and corruption of the glittering Lusignan court caught my eye again and again. Time stood still when I discovered that a teenaged, widowed queen had ruled Cyprus during the exact era of my research. 
In 1458, Queen Charlotta took the throne alone, held off her power-hungry half-brother’s massive siege and—when her second husband Louis of Savoy proved a weak leader—sailed around the Mediterranean entreating allies to help save her crown. 
I was riveted. I resolved to bring this empowered, courageous, ambitious woman to life with a novel, The Queen’s Scribe.
Public domain image
Though her father, King Jean, was a Frenchman, Charlotta’s mother, Eleni Palaiologina, was a proud Greek woman with a forceful personality. Charlotta (christened ‘Charlotte’ but likely called ‘Carlotta’ by her mother) grew up essentially a Greek girl in her mother’s apartments. Under her mother’s influence, the Cypriot court grew steadily Greek, causing resentment among the ‘Latin’ (Western European Catholic) members of the royal retinue.
When Charlotta was married to Prince João of Portugal at fourteen, their common language was French. Yet, by all accounts, her French was terrible. Her need for translators would only grew stronger as time went on and she sought assistance from Western allies such as the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller, the Pope, and the King of France. 
After the 1457 murder of her husband, Prince João, Charlotta was betrothed to her first cousin, Louis of Savoy. In the Greek Orthodox tradition, the marriage of first cousins doomed the bride and groom to hell. Charlotta’s mother fiercely opposed the union. But as soon as she died, the marriage plans went forward. 
Fortune’s wheel turned again when King Jean died just a few months after his wife (the number of mysterious deaths and outright murders in the Lusignan Court was astonishing). After the widowed, grieving Charlotta ascended the throne, her half-brother, Jacco, vowed he would seize it. His plan: gain the favor of the Sultan of Egypt, raise an army, and attack his sister’s kingdom. No one could deny he was a man of action. Soon his plan was unfolding exactly as he’d threatened. Charlotta would spend the rest of her life fighting to preserve her kingdom.
I chose to tell Queen Charlotta’s tale through the eyes of fictional Estelle de Montavon, daughter of a French falconer. I first wrote a story starring her in an anthology a few years ago, and she plays a minor role in my novel Island of Gold. 
In The Queen’s Scribe, Estelle, a talented scribe and linguist, offers unique value to the Lusignan court of Cyprus, which steadily lost touch with its French roots all through the late medieval era. 
Estelle’s language skills become critical when the royal court retreats to Kyrenia Fortress in anticipation of war. As Queen Charlotta voyages across the Mediterranean Sea beseeching allies for help, Estelle is at her side as scribe and interpreter, witnessing every triumph and disaster along the way. 
This extraordinary ruler’s story has been lost in the mists of history far too long. I hope The Queen’s Scribe plays a role in bringing Charlotta of Lusignan back into the light.

Praise for
the Sea and Stone Chronicles:

Island of
is a nimbly told story with impeccable pacing.”

Novel Society, Editor’s Choice Review

Sea of
is stunning. A compelling tale of love, honor, and conviction.”

Favorite Review

Maroney is the author of the award-winning Miramonde Series, the story of a
Renaissance-era female artist and the modern day scholar on her trail.

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About the Author

Amy Maroney studied English Literature at Boston University and worked for many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. She lives in Oregon, U.S.A. with her family. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, dancing, traveling, and reading.

Amy is the author of The Miramonde Series, an Amazon-bestselling historical mystery trilogy about a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail. Amy’s award-winning historical adventure/romance series, Sea and Stone Chronicles, is set in medieval Rhodes and Cyprus.

An enthusiastic advocate for independent publishing, Amy is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and the Historical Novel Society.

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note: Helen has not yet read this title – it is the next on her TBR list!

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