Pedro The Cruel (ebook)
Pedro The Cruel (ebook)
- Toni Cor
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On a pleasant autumn day in the year 1357, Pedro, King of Portugal, sets out on a hunt, accompanied by a group of his companions. He soon discovers that wild boar are not his only quarry. Not far from the city of Santarém, where the court is in residence, they find a body in a field, face disfigured, clothes stained and tattered. Was this unfortunate a pilgrim or a beggar? Was he the victim of robbers or did he provoke the anger of a fellow traveler? Because a king owes justice to all his subjects, no matter their station, King Pedro has the body taken to Santarém in hopes it will be identified. He sends a group of men out to learn if there are any robbers in the area and capture them if possible. He instructs another man to question the inhabitants of the area where the body was found. It soon becomes clear that the matter is more complicated than was first thought. Far from being a beggar, it appears that the dead man was a prosperous goldsmith. And a Jew. New evidence suggests that the death cannot be conveniently blamed on a band of robbers but is instead the work of members of the court, perhaps even close associates of the king himself. Soon Pedro must ask himself what he will do if forced to choose between justice for an outsider and friendship for a member of his court. This story is not wholly a work of fiction. It is based in part on an incident described in The Chronicles of King Pedro. Fernão Lopes, the author of the Chronicles, was a member of the court of Duarte I, grandson of King Pedro. As Royal Archivist, he had access not only to official documents but was also acquainted with men and women whose parents and grandparents had known and told stories of King Pedro and his times, allowing Lopes to create a vivid picture of fourteenth century Portugal.
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