In a sense, this is a story of here-and-now. This Earth, this year ... but on a history-line slipped slightly sidewise. A history in which a great man acted differently, and Magic, rather than physical science, was developed....
late Majesty, Henry X, spoke very few words of Anglo-French, and those with a heavy Norse accent.
Nevertheless, there was nothing Scandinavian in the language, manner, or bearing of Richard, Duke of Normandy. Not only was he a member of the oldest and most powerful ruling family of Europe, but he bore a Christian name that was distinguished even in that family. Seven Kings of the Empire had borne the name, and most of them had been good Kings--if not always "good" men in the nicey-nicey sense of the word. Even old Richard I, who'd been pretty wild during the first forty-odd years of his life, had settled down to do a magnificent job of kinging for the next twenty years. The long and painful recovery from the wound he'd received at the Siege of Chaluz had made a change in him for the better.
There was a chance that Duke Richard might be called upon to uphold the honor of that name as King. By law, Parliament must elect a Plantagenet as King in the event of the death of the present Sovereign, and