is a writer of books, stage plays and screen and radio plays on historical subjects.
For 700 years it was a hanging crime to speak his name. Believed to be the Angel of the Apocalypse,
launching the millennium that would see the disintegration of nations in a single world-order, and the withering away
of the Church as each soul is filled with the Holy Spirit – Simon de Montfort founded England’s Parliament and brought
modern democracy into being.
Few could have been a less like champion of the common man – or considered an angel. Brought up as companion to King
Louis IX of France (Saint Louis), Simon was befriended by King Henry III of England, married the king’s sister, who was a
nun, and probably was the queen’s lover and father of the heir to the throne, Edward I.
Offered the Crowns of three nations, tried twice for treason, repeatedly excommunicated, Simon, as Earl of Leicester,
enforced an elected government upon his king in 1258. And the government he brought into being has been the model for most
“Montfort”, a speculative history in the form of a novel, with extensive research notes
in an Historical Context section appended to each of the four volumes, follows 13th century documentation to probe how
these things may have happened in the day-to-day living of Montfort’s life.
New! Katherine sat with WVIA host Erika Funke and talked about her newest work as well the genesis
of the project that became the Montfort series. This far-ranging discussion was filmed on Jan 15, 2013 by the folks at WVIA.
Click here to watch it on Youtube
Montfort is available from Amazon in soft-cover or e-book form, or can be ordered at your bookstore.
Amazon.uk Author Profile
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“In a tale crammed with romance, deceit,
rampant ambition, failures and triumphs galore, readers will get all they hoped for in this deeply researched
and well-told historical narrative.”
-Jane Geniesse, author of “Passionate Nomad”
“Katherine Ashe has written a detailed,
action-packed, insightful historical novel. A marvelous work of literature and a great story.”
-Bill Jaker of “Off the Page” at WSKG Public Radio
“Ashe's richly imagined details draw the reader into the splendors of 13th
century English and French court life. Her meticulously researched portrait tells the story of Montfort's life and
times, his loves, his military prowess, and the machinations of his enemies and followers alike."
-Clara Pierre, author of "Troubadour"
“The finest work I know on the thirteenth century.“
-Dr. Madeleine Cosman, Founder of the
Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, City University of New York
Montfort - The Early Years 1229 to 1243:
He was tall and slender, at that time in life when the body in a sudden rush to adult height becomes long limbed and angular.
He was dressed in white. His hair was dark, his skin was fair, but his eyes had the stern frown of acute nearsightedness. He stood
on the quay at Dover peering for his baggage among the cargo tossed by the ship's crew to the landing. Mist and sheaves of sleety
rain swept across the harbor, blending the gray air into the cold, slate-colored sea. It was February of the year 1229.
Montfort - The Viceroy 1243 to 1253:
As he ran, the echoing beat of his own feet on the cobbled paving made chaotic din with the clatter of hooves behind him
and the bursting throb of his heart. The house-fronts formed a narrow chasm, their whitewashed walls glowing in the moonlight,
their dark shutters and doors bolted against the dangers of the night. The riders, three at least, were nearly upon him.
Yes here, here was the door with a dove with outspread wings carved in the stone of the lintel.
The runner pounded on the oak paneling. "Help! Let me in! I'm Richard! Duke of Gascony!"
A knife blade thudded, driving its point deep into door. But the door-bolt rattled and the door swung open.
A frightened servant dropped back as Richard forced his way into the safety of Guillame Colom's house.
Montfort - The Revolutionary 1253 to 1260:
Taxes on everything we own! Taxes on every penny we gain! Taxes on anything we may ever hope to have!
Taxes on what our children might have had! At every turn another tax!" Humphrey de Bohun stood quaking
"The army swallows money as if it was water! We demand an accounting!" Richard de Grey shouted.
"We hear reports the war is over. Still it's money for the war!" Hugh Despenser protested.
The gabled hall was crowded with angry men, lords in damask robes trimmed with fur, clerics in black
or white or in Franciscan brown. The stone walls, with their murals of the Battle of Antioch,
reverberated in the barrage of shouting. Bishops and abbots at the forefront glowered and grumbled
to each other. Amid the sturdy square columns further back, earls and lordly tenants of the king were
at point of violence. The royal bailiffs at the doors looked nervously about, they were far outnumbered.
Montfort - The Angel with the Sword 1260 to 1265:
Consciousness came slowly and at first was only of pain. A pain too familiar, that brought a longing to return to the void. But the void was receding out of reach and the pain was growing more insistent, more engulfing till at last he opened his eyes with the thought there might be help.
His squire Peter’s face filled his view, its tense expression easing then softening to a slight smile. “Master, your fever has broken. What can I do for you?”
“He’s coming, I hope with a cask. At present the good wine of Normandy, or a strong apple wine…”
“Whatever’s strongest,” Simon whispered, the pain of his shattered legs was threatening to take complete hold of his mind. A hand pressed his hand gently, he looked to see whose hand it was.
13-hour series, THE WASHINGTONS,
on the life of our nation’s first couple, commissioned by Celeste
Holm for PBS.
Two-hour video-drama, THE TREASURE:
the story of a young nun during the Nazi occupation of France. Commissioned
by Transfiguration Monastery.
Two-hour video drama: NELLY, LUCIE
AND TWEETS, three generations of Irish/Mohawk women, from sweatshop worker
to fashionable Boston medicine woman.
Created and produced WORLD VIEW, half-hour news interview of international
press on current world issues hosted by Anton
Foek and Lisa
Champeau, produced WVIA
Created and developed "Glorious Gardens" half hour gardening
show at WVIA Public Television.
EVENING WITH EDGAR ALLAN POE, one man show commissioned by the New
York City Historic House Trust. Ran 2½ years at The Waverly Inn,
NYC before touring.
• JOHNNY! a full-length musical libretto on the 19th century coal,
steel, railroad monopoly and Johnny Mitchell, the charismatic leader of
the United Mine Workers of America. Winner of Commission contest and produced
by the Scranton Cultural Center for the National Celebration of American
• COUNTRY LIFE: monologue on farm life circa 1922, commissioned
by Celeste Holm
for performance at the Boston Historical Society.
Y'ain't gotta lunch?
Here, have a bit o' mine.
An' don't ya go t' sleep, lil' nipper.
Many was the nipper fell asleep
An' met his Maker when the coal train come on through.
Smell o' coal lulls yer sense
Stay awake, keep defense
'Cause the mine's breath
'll swallow y' live.
yer eyes an' yer dead!
Keep that in yer head!
Stay awake, lil' nipper, stay awake!
'N' when ye hear the whistle blow
Up above, ye can go. One less chance that the mine's got t' claim
day's work is done
Go back like we come.
Stay awake lil' nipper, stay awake.
SUPPER WITH THE POPE, one act play on Cesare
Borgia and Christian versus Islamic imperialism. Produced at the Expanded
Arts Theater, now offered with a companion one-act BURTON IN AFRICA on
issues of humanism and exploitation in 19th century Africa.
• THE MEDICINE MAN: an alienated Mohawk medicine man searches for
his daughter, finds her in an orphanage and teaches her his ancient healing
• MARTHA SPEAKS UP: half-hour monologue on
Martha Washington for Celeste Holm. Performed at The
Boston Historical Society.
epic feature film script on the 13th century:
He was King Henry III's closest friend. But right after the Queen's first
Confession since conceiving the throne's heir — a Confession she made to the Archbishop of
Canterbury, Simon's implacable enemy — the King turns upon Simon, forcing him to flee for
his life into exile.
King Henry raves before his entire Court - having learned that the
infant, thought to be a miraculous conception by the intercession of
Saint Edward, was no miracle at all.
Katherine Ashe brings the 13th century
brilliantly to life in all its scope — from jousts and battle scenes to the pageantry of royal progresses
and glorious feasts, from medieval international banking to Crusade, troubadours and the Court of Love.
Purchase Volumes I - IV now at Amazon.com
England and founded Parliament.
THE RICHEST WOMAN IN THE WESTERN WORLD: 7-part epic series starring
Widdoes. True story of a woman, born in a brothel in 1776, who
went on to corner the New York City real estate market. She married
Aaron Burr, nearly rescued Napoleon after Waterloo, and in her 90’s
raised her own army to make herself Empress of Mexico. Broadcast nationally.
BEING MURIETTA: 4-part series on a genuine Zorro in Gold Rush California.
VRIESLAND: 4-part series on the Dutch massacre of Lenape Indians
in 1644, from the memoirs of a Dutch settler married to a Lenape woman.
Produced at WVIA Public
Radio. Broadcast nationally, and was an all-day special feature
with discussion by scholars and representatives of the Lenape Tribe
at WBAI Public Radio,
THE CHRISTMAS ANGEL: THE LITTLE FIR TREE: NPR
Christmas show 1995 and 1996, adapted from two short stories by Peter
MONEY RADIO: half-hour comedy on Public Radio fund raising. Produced
and broadcast at WJFF Public Radio.
Copyright © 2010 by Katherine Ashe
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