Lady Maria Rendell is torn between two men: a loving but absent husband and the illegitimate half-brother of Edward II. When civil war breaks out against the feckless Edward, Maria must pay the price for her scandalous affair with his half-brother. Personal love, duty, and loyalty collide with larger events—ending in the deposition and death of one of England’s most unfortunate kings and Maria’s own private reckoning.
The Lion and the Leopard is Book 1 in the 6 book Knights of England series. Books 2-6 follow the lives and loves of chivalric knights and their ladies through the golden age of England, the Black Death, glorious battles and campaigns; the decline of that most magnificent of medieval kings, Edward III, the 1381 Peasants Rebellion and the deposition of the narcissistic Richard II. It ends in 1403 with Henry IV’s successful fight to keep his crown following the brutal battle of Shrewsbury.
The Lion and the Leopard can be read as a standalone.
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Mary Ellen Johnson’s writing career was sparked by her passion for medieval England. Her first medieval historical, The Lion and the Leopard, was followed by The Landlord’s Black-Eyed Daughter, a historical novel based on the Alfred Noyes poem, “The Highwayman.” (Published under the pseudonym, Mary Ellen Dennis.) Landlord was chosen as one of the top 100 historical romances of 2013.
Mary Ellen’s six-book series, Knights of England, follows the fortunes of the characters (and their progeny) introduced in The Lion and the Leopard through pestilence, war, rebellion, and finally, one of the bloodiest battles in medieval England, the Battle of Shrewsbury (1403). Through her fictional creations, Mary Ellen is always probing the limits of loyalty, love, duty and obligation, as well as trying to realistically portray the complexities of love which go far beyond “romance.”
While Mary Ellen wishes she could list race car driving and skydiving among her hobbies, the truth is she’s always been more an observer than a participant. She loves visiting her kids and grandkids, reading anything and everything and researching battles and campaigns and daily life in fourteenth century England. She slogs through exercise and housekeeping and fantasizes about becoming a master gardener, carpenter and all-round handywoman. Maybe in her next life…