Christina Hardyment

Author and Journalist

Alyce Chaucer I: The Serpent of Division

The Serpent of Division features murder and mystery, a charming pirate, Oxford colleges and libraries, a buxom bookseller reminiscent of the Wife of Bath and a Persian physician with a fondness for Rumi. All have a part to play, as the granddaughter of Geoffrey Chaucer fights for survival against her ruthless neighbour Sir Robert Harcourt and the machinations of Elizabeth Wydeville, descendant of the serpent fairy Melusine and queen of Edward IV. It is set during the politically rocky final years of the Wars of the Roses.

Alyce Chaucer lived from 1404 to 1475, married profitably three times, but lost each of her noble husbands to a violent death. After the horrific murder of William de la Pole, duke of Suffolk, she chose to spend the last twenty-five years of her life as a widow. There is evidence that she was an independently-minded woman with decided opinions. Her elaborate tomb in the Oxfordshire church of St Mary’s Ewelme is topped by an elegant but unflattering alabaster effigy, under which lies a shockingly realistic carved cadaver, arched in agony. Inventories of her possessions reveal that she had a magnificent collection of tapestries and was unusually interested in literature. Tantalisingly little more is known about Alyce, so rather than writing a patchy biography full of guesswork, I decided to allow my imagination full rein.

I publishing it privately in December 2022 as a limited edition hardback (now sold out) or a paperback (£10+£3 p&p), which I’ve now reprinted several times. Postage stays at £3, however many copies you buy. If you are interested in ordering the paperback edition, please press the payment box on the right for a link to Pay Pal – which can charge via your credit card if you don’t have an account

It is also available from the White Horse Bookshop, Blackwells and Amazon for £10, as an Amazon Kindle ebook for £3.99 and as an audiobook, read by Clare Wille. This is available from your public library or via Amazon or Audible. Please spread the word about the Alyce books if you enjoy them – I’m a duffer at social media, so rely entirely on readers’ recommendations and selling copies at talks.