Brighton novelist goes back to 17th century

Brighton author Judith Thomson takes her readers back to the last decade of the 17th century with her latest book.

Brighton author Judith Thomson
Brighton author Judith Thomson

Flowers of Languedoc is published by Troubador; paperback £9.99, ebook £3.99; available from bookshops and online at Amazon, bookshop.org and Troubador or you can buy a signed copy directly from Judith’s website at https:/judiththomson.com.

“It is a new story about my lead character, Philip Devalle, who is half-French. It takes him from the battlefields of Ireland to a vineyard on the sunny slopes of Languedoc, where he makes new friends and new enemies, and he becomes involved in the plight of the French Huguenots.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

“I hope it will appeal to people who love France and Louis XlV, and I hope it will also appeal to people who have followed Philip’s previous adventures, as well as introducing him to new readers.

“The idea for the story came to me towards the end of my last book, The Distant Hills. As soon as I had completed that I saw clearly see where the next part of Philip’s journey would take him, and I could not wait to begin it with him.

“The story begins at the end of 1689, the year following the so-called Glorious Revolution, when William of Orange came over to England to take the throne from King James, which is the main theme of another of my previous novels, The Orange Autumn.

“The first years of William’s reign are troubled ones for it is a period of constant war with France, which makes it a difficult situation for Philip, whose loyalties are obviously divided and who has served King Louis in the past. Growing weary of war and politics, he embarks upon a new enterprise, one which he hopes will ensure his future and that of his family in what are uncertain times.

“It was actually a wonderful book to write. There were lots of different aspects to research, which was challenging and fun. I particularly enjoyed doing some invaluable on-the-spot research in the south of France.

“As well as having a lovely holiday there, I was able to discover lots of details about the places I was going to feature, details that I could never have learned from books or the internet. And I had the chance to sample the local wine too, of course!

“I had partly written the story before I went to France but by the time I came back with so many ideas that I had to buy another notebook whilst I was there, everything had fallen into place, so you could say, I guess, that Languedoc was my inspiration this time.

“Flowers of Languedoc is my sixth Philip Devalle adventure and, although I have written them as a series, they can all be read as stand-alone novels. Will there be another? There certainly will. I am working on it now!

“Philip is the younger son of an earl and my books follow his fortunes, and misfortunes, through the reigns of three kings of England in the exciting 17th century.

“They begin with Designs of a Gentleman: The Early Years, which tells of his eventful first years at Court and in the French army and Designs of a Gentleman: The Darker Years, about his involvement in the Popish Plot. The others are High Heatherton, when he is accused of plotting against King Charles, The Orange Autumn, where he becomes part of the Glorious Revolution and The Distant Hills, when he is the target of a prominent enemy in Paris.”