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Blog Tour and Book Excerpt for "The King's Command"

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

Book Title: The King’s Command: For God or Country

Series: n/a

Author: Rosemary Hayes

Publication Date: July 3rd, 2023

Publisher: Sharpe Books

Page Length: 415

Genre: Historical Fiction

The King’s Command: For God or Country

Rosemary Hayes


16 year old Lidie Brunier has everything; looks, wealth, health and a charming suitor but there are dark clouds on the horizon. Lidie and her family are committed Huguenots and Louis XIV has sworn to stamp out this ‘false religion’ and make France a wholly Catholic country. Gradually Lidie’s comfortable life starts to disintegrate as Huguenots are stripped of all rights and the King sends his brutal soldiers into their homes to force them to become Catholics. Others around her break under pressure but Lidie and her family refuse to convert. With spies everywhere and the ever present threat of violence, they struggle on. Then a shocking betrayal forces Lidie’s hand and her only option is to try and flee the country. A decision that brings unimaginable hardship, terror and tragedy and changes her life for ever.

‘One of the very best historical novels I have ever read’

Sandra Robinson, Huguenot Ancestry Expert

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This title is available to read with #KindleUnlimited.

Author Bio:

Rosemary Hayes has written over fifty books for children and young adults. She writes in different genres, from edgy teenage fiction (The Mark), historical fiction (The Blue Eyed Aborigine and Forgotten Footprints), middle grade fantasy (Loose Connections, The Stonekeeper’s Child and Break Out) to chapter books for early readers and texts for picture books. Many of her books have won or been shortlisted for awards and several have been translated into different languages.

Rosemary has travelled widely but now lives in South Cambridgeshire. She has a background in publishing, having worked for Cambridge University Press before setting up her own company Anglia Young Books which she ran for some years. She has been a reader for a well-known authors’ advisory service and runs creative writing workshops for both children and adults.

Rosemary has recently turned her hand to adult fiction and her historical novel ‘The King’s Command’ is about the terror and tragedy suffered by the French Huguenots during the reign of Louis XIV.

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Book Excerpt:

The smudge on the horizon. Surely it was only a low cloud or the top of a distant wave? Lidie rubbed her eyes.

I am overwrought and bone weary. My mind is so confused that I am imagining things.

But when she looked again, it was taking shape.

The fisherman was fully engaged in keeping the boat on course, fighting with the wind and the waves. Lidie moved over to him and tugged on his arm, shouting a warning, but the wind snatched away her words, so she pointed. He turned his head.

‘Merciful Christ,’ he muttered and immediately altered course, going about so abruptly that the party was pitched from one side of the boat to the other.

Lidie’s mother had not heard the man’s words but she raised her eyes to the horizon. What had been a mere smudge only minutes ago was now clearly defined as a ship and it was heading in their direction.

‘What vessel is it?’

The fisherman didn’t answer so Lidie once again tugged on his arm.

He yelled over his shoulder. ‘It is one of His Majesty’s frigates. Hide yourselves, for pity’s sake. Cover yourselves with the old sails in the bulkhead. Hurry or we shall all be taken.’

The two women looked at one another and Lidie muttered a quick prayer. She glanced back to the English vessel, still anchored in the lee of the island, becoming smaller now as they sailed away from it.

So close! We had nearly reached it.

But now the fisherman was heading his craft in the direction of La Rochelle.

‘Hide!’ he shouted.

Lidie and her mother crawled around in the bottom of the boat, pulling some old sails out of the bulkhead. The children watched them, Esther awake now and whimpering and little Jean shaking with fever. Only Elias was still, his eyes wide and his fists clenched.

‘We shall all lie under the sails and see how quiet we can be,’ said Lidie trying to keep her voice steady as she and her mother pulled the children down and started to cover them, but Esther immediately shrieked in protest and fought to free herself.

Then, as her screams grew in intensity, Elias grabbed her arm and shook her.

‘Be quiet,’ he hissed. ‘Stop your noise!’

The child was so taken aback that she ceased her screaming and sobbed quietly, her thumb wedged in her mouth.

When they were all covered by the sails, Lidie spread her arms so that each of her three children could feel her touch.

‘Lie as still as stones, children,’ she said. ‘Make no sound, I beg you. If you cry out we shall be discovered.’

There was no chance that they could outpace the oncoming frigate. The fisherman knew this and took no avoiding action, indeed he sailed deliberately towards it. The minutes passed while the frigate drew ever closer and the little party lay still at the bottom of the boat. Then, as their teeth chattered with the cold and sea water swirled around their bodies, they heard the frigate hailing them.

‘Whence are you bound?’ came the shout over the water.

The fisherman glanced down at his firearm.

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