II - The Journey East


Eleanor of Aquitaine : The Journey East

Book Brief & Author’s Statement


In The Journey East, author Mark Beaulieu continues the adventure of young Eleanor of Aquitaine (Alienor d'Aquitaine 1124-1204), who would twice become a queen - first of France then of England. As the young French queen becomes a mother she leads warriors on a spectacular Journey of personal destinations in a historical fiction about people of epic stature that will delight readers everywhere.

Eleanor arrives in the dark city of Paris as the new fourteen-year-old Queen wed to King Louis the Seventh. Her loyal Aquitaine court of chevaliers, troubadours, and friends are not permitted to follow. The French Court and reigning Queen oppose her every move. Religious fanaticism pervades Paris, but a new cathedral with glowing walls of stained glass outside the city walls offers hope. It is run by Abbot Adam Suger who is in conflict with Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, the nemesis of Eleanor’s family. In the division of faith she takes sides, but not as you might expect in this contest for power.

After trials of majesty, her innovative network of messenger birds send speedy messages from her uncle in the middle-east. She learns well ahead of everyone, and alerts King Louis - The Crusade of their forefathers would not be the last.

Recruiting the greatest land army every assembled, Eleanor embarks on a 3,000 mile journey across medieval Europe to enter the Second Crusade. She and her court, which include a train of three hundred women, encounter new cultures. Enchanted by Byzantium - the greatest city in the world - they are terrified as they cross into mountainous Outremer and begin the brutal war against the Saracens. The conclusion of the disastrous winter campaign sets the bounds of chivalry and courage, testing the endurance of Eleanor and her friends. It is an amazing study and passionate telling of the people of her time.


I wish I could have bought such a book. But no such recording existed that told a credible story of a multidimensional woman. More than anything, I wanted to write that would show what made Eleanor become the person she would become. The novel correctly weaves together the many influences of her realm and times.

This encompasses the 3,000 mile journey she takes across Europa into Byzantium and on to Turkey (Anatolia) with her court that consists of 300 women and their champions. There are romances, cultural discoveries, humor, and sorrow. We begin to see the natural evolution of what will later become the so-called courts of love - born of necessity to govern couples on route to a Holy War.

A good reason I wrote this was for the final chapters. Here Eleanor rides in the vanguard to earn the only victorious battle of the Franks in the Second Crusade. Her husband King Louis fails to follow on her success and due to extraordinarily bad planning leads his people into a hell.

No one has written the story of the horror of the nine weeks from Mount Cadmos to their isolation and starvation in Attalia. Friedrich Nietzsche later wrote of the event as the definitive proof that God does not exist. That Eleanor survives such an ordeal, and then goes on to prosecute the crusade in Outremer is one of the most heroic aspects of her character, and an unsung part of her life.

‘Eleanor of Aquitaine : The Journey East’ is the widely anticipated book that follows ‘The Young Life.’

‘The Journey East’ with ‘The Voyage West’ tells of Eleanor of Aquitaine’s crusade adventure to Outremer and back.