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In The Frenzied Crown novel:

As a younger son, Ranulf feels a certain amount of envy for his elder brother who has inherited their father's sizable demense. This leaves Ranulf with little choice but to find a way to gain lands of his own. So far his family has yet to negotiate a profitable marriage for him so Ranulf has had to take service with one of the prominent neighboring lords - Gervase of Tamworth.

Each of the old man's sons has taken a different side in the struggle for the throne. Joscelyn, the elder, is firmly committed to Stephen's cause. Meanwhile, his younger brother, Gilbert, has gone off to offer his support to the Empress Maud. With so many of their men away, Gervase's family has but a tenuous hold on their property. This is a fact that is all too apparent to Ranulf and the de Braose clan. They have long cast covetous eyes on the manors that Gervase holds. If Ranulf can find some way to gain them for his family, they will reward him generously.

With Joscelyn away in Stephen's army, Ranulf hopes that he can manipulate Ysabel, the wife of the elder son. Accustomed to life at court, she does not care for life along the wild borders of Wales. Along with that, Ysabel resents that her brother's sister, Daalny, runs the manors. It is her right as Joscelyn's wife but Gervase will not allow an outsider so much control with both his sons gone off to war. Noting the opportunity to create dissension and chaos, Ranulf plans to pit one woman against the other in the hope that he can discover a way to seize control for himself and his family.

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