Synopses & Reviews
Set in the 13th Century, Here Be Dragons
is the story of King John and his England. A paradoxical man, he was charming, generous, clever — and he was unstable and brutal. He was capable of great kindnesses, but he butchered child hostages. He was the youngest son and favorite of Henry Plantagenet, but he would betray his father in order to seize the throne of England. For centuries, history recorded him as a bad king, upon whom the Magna Carta was forced. Yet history also tells us he was intent on bringing a measure of justice to his realm in the face of his greedy barons' refusal to accept the law.
But Here Be Dragons is also the story of Llewelyn the Great of Wales. At 14, he began a civil war; by 21, he held all North Wales. He was John's vassal — and most bitter enemy. His dream of a free and united Wales, unencumbered by English laws or lords, was to spur a lifelong crusade that left little time for peace or pleasure.
And, at its heart, Here Be Dragons is the story of Joanna: daughter to one, wife to the other. Bastard-born, hidden from her father until her embittered mother's death, then brought, a bewildered five-year-old, to John's court. He would cherish her, cosset her, and yet use her as a political pawn, marrying her off at fifteen to a wild Welsh prince She was terrified, but he was the father she adored and obeyed. Wife to Llewelyn, whom she came to love, daughter to John, whom she worshiped, Joanna was trapped in the crossfire of their implacable enmity. Here Be Dragons will not disappoint Sharon Penman's loyal following. Told with a richness of detail that brings the England, France, and Wales of the thirteenth century fully to life, Here Be Dragons combines high drama, romance, adventure, and authentic historical fact. It makes for an engrossing, entertaining, and just plain wonderful read.
"A masterful picture of Wales in the 13th century....vividly pictured as grandly beautiful, its people volatile, stubborn and mystic." The San Diego Union
About the Author
Sharon Kay Penman is the author of seven critically acclaimed historical novels: The Sunne in Splendour, Here be Dragons, Falls the Shadow, The Reckoning, When Christ and his Saints Slept, Time and Chance, and Devil’s Brood. She has also written four medieval mysteries. Her first was The Queen’s Man, the queen in question being Eleanor of Aquitaine, a finalist for an Edgar Award for Best First Mystery from the Mystery Writers of America. Her other mysteries are Cruel as the Grave, Dragon’s Lair, and Prince of Darkness. She lives in New Jersey.