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Authors: Terry Deary

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The Prince, the Cook and the Cunning King

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Illustrated by Helen Flook

A & C Black • London

This book is dedicated to the memory of
Perkin Warbeck, another young man who
claimed Henry VII’s throne, but who paid
for it with his life–Terry Deary

Reprinted 2004, 2008, 2010

First published 2003 by

A & C Black Publishers Ltd

36 Soho Square, London, W1D 3QY

Text copyright © 2003 Terry Deary

Illustrations copyright © 2003 Helen Flook

The rights of Terry Deary and Helen Flook to be identified as the author and illustrator of this work have been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

eISBN 978-1-40811-865-8

A CIP catalogue for this book is available from the British Library.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means–graphic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrieval systems–without the prior permission in writing of the publishers.

This book is produced using paper that is made from wood grown in managed, sustainable forests. It is natural, renewable and recyclable. The logging and manufacturing processes conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin.

Printed and bound in Great Britain

by CPI Cox & Wyman, Reading RG1 8EX.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: The Cold Kitchen

Chapter Two: The Shivering Servant

Chapter Three: The Scratching Straw

Chapter Four: The Midnight Meeting

Chapter Five: The Crafty King

Chapter Six: The Cruel Cook

Chapter Seven: Ellie’s Revenge

Chapter Eight: Greedy Guts

Chapter Nine: The Terrible Truth

Afterword: Lambert’s Story

Chapter One
The Cold Kitchen

We stood at the palace door and shivered. The wind was wintry, the grey walls gloomy. I was afraid.

My mother was just about to knock for a second time when the door was tugged open and I found myself looking into the castle kitchen.

A dozen dirty faces stared at me. The servants were sitting round a large table with wooden bowls in front of them.

“Shut the door!” someone moaned. “It’s cold!”

My mother pushed me into the kitchen and the door slammed behind us with a boom like the sound of doom.

The dozen pairs of eyes followed us into the cold kitchen.

There was a huge fireplace with copper pots, iron pans hanging down alongside dead rabbits and geese, and a shrivelled side of bacon. In that fireplace a miserable fire smoked under a small black pot full of pale and pitiful porridge.

A man lifted the pot off the fire and placed it on the table. The servants passed it round and spooned out the watery mess. They ate silently.

The man turned to look at me. He was the fattest man I’d ever seen. Folds of fat almost hid his little, watery eyes and his neck was like a bull’s. When he smiled, his teeth were yellow-green and broken. His greasy apron smelled nearly as bad as his breath. He put a hard hand under my chin and tilted my head up. “So, you’re the new kitchen maid?”

“This is Eleanor–Ellie,” my mother said. “Say hello to Cook, Ellie.”

“Hello to Cook, Ellie,” I muttered.

The clatter of wooden spoons in the sloppy food stopped. Twelve servants at the table held their breath. Cook’s eyes almost vanished in a scowl. Then he grinned.

“A lively lass, eh? Makes a change from this miserable lot!” he said, looking round at the servants who started eating again.

He nodded to my mother. “Leave her with me and I’ll take care of her.”

My mother left the bundle with my spare clothes and hurried to the door. She opened it and looked back, worried.

“Shut the door!” someone moaned. “It’s cold!”

She left me. Alone.

Chapter Two
The Shivering Servant

The cook looked round the table. “Lambert Simnel,” he hissed.

A boy rose to his feet. He was as thin as the porridge in the pot and twice as pale.

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