• Robert The Wayward Prince – Book One

The Making of an Empire

Trouble is my eternal and unshakeable companion and today it arrived once more…

Robert the Wayward Prince – Book One: The Making of an Empire by Austin Hernon tells the tale of the not-so-well-known oldest son of William the Conqueror, Robert Duke of Normandy.

The fictional autobiography begins in 1079, thirteen years after the Battle of Hastings and the Norman takeover of England. Robert is now 25 and practising war games with friends at Gerberoy when a summons come from his father telling him to get out of France and return to Normandy. Robert doesn’t care for his father’s tone, and he and his warriors ride out to meet the challenge instead…

Robert’s is a life full of conflict, amour and adventures. An amorous man, he enjoys his time with the ladies – to the despair of his father and the priests who wish he would turn up to early morning Mass more often, rather than attending to his bedroom duties.

Yet he recognises the demands of his position in life and is anxious to excel, travelling through France, England, Scotland and Italy to bring his particular brand of diplomacy wherever he goes…

Book One is also available from Amazon on Kindle – Click here to purchase.

The Making of an Empire
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The Prince Who Came Short of his Father’s Ideal.

The Making of an Empire – In 1066 when William, Duke of Normandy, fought the battle of Hastings for the right to rule England, his eldest son Robert was around twelve years old. Normally a youth of that age would already be in training as a knight and would expect to be taken to the battlefront as part of his development, perhaps as a squire to some skilled and experienced lord. In Robert’s case that didn’t happen and although already a promising soldier he was held back in Normandy under the watchful eye of his mother, Matilda of Flanders – just in case.

As the eldest son of the marriage and therefore his father’s natural successor as Duke of Normandy, Robert was far too valuable to the Norman dynasty to risk in a war of uncertain outcome on foreign soil.

There were other issues: William did not like Robert; despite his being a powerfully muscled youngster with a well-developed competency at arms he was altogether too short to suit William’s idea of regal, so he insulted him with the sobriquet ‘Curthose’ – short stockings – in reference to the lad’s height.

However, Robert’s main failing in his father’s eyes lay in his demeanour. Being by nature a pleasant and easy-going fellow, Robert was considered by his cruel and unyielding father to be quite lacking in those qualities of leadership which William believed necessary for the task of keeping and expanding the domains of the Normans.

Over the years, Robert has plenty of conflicts with his father William, many arising from Robert’s lax rule which infuriates the Conqueror. Yet Robert excels at military campaigns and diplomacy and William is happy to take full advantage of these skills, as in Robert’s dealings with the intransigent Malcolm of Scotland – and his lovely wife.

When William dies he leaves Normandy to Robert who becomes Duke – but the English crown goes to William’s flamboyant second son, William Rufus. This brings its own conflicts, as Rufus is always looking to get the upper hand in Normandy as well as England. And then there’s Henry, the third surviving son, who is left money but no land when the Conqueror dies but will scheme for what’s been denied him – and anything else he fancies. And he fancies a lot.