King Louis XI
King Louis XI (lwee), sometimes disguised as Maître Pierre, a merchant, the wily, able monarch of France, rivaled in power by the hot-headed duke of Burgundy. Gifted at Machiavellian politics, he schemes to weaken the duke by placing, through marriage, a hostile nobleman in his territory. His plan in sending Isabelle, countess de Croye, and her aunt to Liège is to have the outlawed Wild Boar of Ardennes waylay the ladies and marry one of them. Meanwhile, he travels to Burgundy to bargain with the duke and is imprisoned when the duke learns of the uprising of his vassals at Liège. Louis barely escapes being killed, chiefly through diplomacy and luck. He assists the duke in recapturing Liège, and the two make a temporary truce.
Charles (shahrl), the duke of Burgundy, a rash, hasty-handed nobleman with bull-like courage but little intelligence in statecraft. Resentful of the assistance given by King Louis to the young countess de Croye and her aunt, the Lady Hameline, he disregards the laws of hospitality and imprisons his royal guest. His temper explodes when he learns that the Wild Boar of Ardennes has led a revolt of the citizens of Liège, a city grown mutinous under the duke’s rule. Until his wrath is diverted against the outlaw, he is on the verge of killing the king. His anger abates when Louis volunteers to assist him in retaking the city. The duke vows that he will bestow the hand of the countess de Croye on the man who will bring him the Wild Boar’s head.
Quentin Durward, a stalwart young Scot. Of ancient lineage, he impresses disguised King Louis but later innocently brings the law down on himself when he cuts down the body of a Bohemian hanged by order of the monarch’s provost marshal. He joins the Scottish Archers, the king’s bodyguard, of which his uncle is a member. After he has shown his bravery by saving the king from a savage boar, he is chosen to escort the countess de Croye and Lady Hameline, her aunt, to Liège. During the journey, he thwarts the attempt of two court gallants to kidnap the countess and an ambush set by the Wild Boar of Ardennes, and he delivers the ladies safely to the bishop of Liège. When the Liègeois revolt, Quentin rescues the countess at great risk to himself. The two are saved by a Burgundian nobleman and taken to the court of the duke, where Quentin is instrumental in saving the king’s life. At the recapture of Liège, he fights with great gallantry and wins the countess as his bride.
Isabelle (ee-zah-BEHL), the Countess de Croye (deh kroy), a political pawn in the rivalry of King Louis and the duke of Burgundy. When Quentin sees her first, she is disguised as Jacqueline, a peasant girl. Twice he saves her from the Wild Boar of Ardennes. The angry duke offers her hand to the man who kills the outlaw. Quentin’s uncle kills the Wild Boar but relinquishes his claim on...
(The entire section is 1230 words.)