On his way back from the crusades, one of England's most famous and romantic medieval kings was ship-wrecked and stranded near Venice. Trying to make his way home in disguise, he was arrested and imprisoned and effectively disappeared. He didn't ...
return home for another fifteen months, and at enormous cost a quarter of the entire wealth of England was paid to win his release. The extraordinary events surrounding Richard the Lionheart's disappearance has been relegated to the nursery by generations of historians. But it also provides the background to some of the most colourful and enduring legends Robin Hood, the Sheriff of Nottingham, the discovery of King Arthur's grave, and above all, the story of Blondel, Richard's faithful minstrel, and his journey across central Europe singing under castle towers until he finds the missing king. Blondel's Song tells the tale of one of the most peculiar incidents of medieval history, and the background to the real Blondel and his fellow troubadours, as well as the courts of love, the Holy Grail, emergence of gothic cathedrals like Notre Dame and Chartres, and the unique moment of tolerance in the West when Europe shared a language, and a new culture of music, romance and chivalry. It retraces and rediscovers Richard's secret journey across the Alps in winter, and uncovers the real story of the arrest of Europe's most powerful king, two thousand miles from home, and the effects of his gigantic ransom. And it uncovers for the first time the real meaning of the legend of Blondel, the song that revealed Richard's lonely cell, and the truth about who Blondel was.