Touchstone, Dec 8 2009, $16.00
Blondel the lute player loves Berengaria the wife of his sire, King Richard the Lionhearted although he does not act on his regard for several reasons and not just because he would be executed. He knows the woman he cherishes above all else loves her husband and beside he is the king’s companion and would never be disloyal. Berengaria's hunchbacked sister Anna Apieta is attracted to Blondel while Richard loves Crusading and men.
When Richard heads off for Jerusalem, Blondel accompanies him mostly because of his love for Berengaria. After they failed, he returns home with his monarch until the king is captured in France. He continues home not sure how to break the news to the woman he loves.
The Lute Player is a terrific medieval fiction in which the audience obtains a less romantic but totally human view of King Richard the Lionhearted and the Crusades through the eyes of four people impacted by the monarch and the war. Besides the title player, the audience learns how the queen and her sister feel as well as the ruler’s mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. With a strong antiwar message as the horrors come home to roost to those on the home front, Norah Lofts provides a super historical showcasing the effect of the Third Crusade on Richard’s mother and wife.