Synopses & Reviews
From the New York Times-bestselling novelist, a stunning story of a great medieval warrior-king, the accomplished and controversial son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine: Richard, Coeur de Lion.
They were called "The Devil's Brood," though never to their faces. They were the four surviving sons of Henry Plantagenet and Eleanor of Aquitaine. With two such extraordinary parents, much was expected of them.
But the eldest-charming yet mercurial-would turn on his father and, like his brother Geoffrey, meet an early death. When Henry died, Richard would take the throne and, almost immediately, set off for the Holy Land. This was the Third Crusade, and it would be characterized by internecine warfare among the Christians and extraordinary campaigns against the Saracens. And, back in England, by the conniving of Richard's youngest brother, John, to steal his crown.
In Lionheart, Sharon Kay Penman displays her remarkable mastery of historical detail and her acute understanding of human foibles. The result is a powerful story of intrigue, war, and- surprisingly-effective diplomacy, played out against the roiling conflicts of love and loyalty, passion and treachery, all set against the rich textures of the Holy Land.
"In this gritty, unsentimental, and richly detailed epic, Penman (The Sunne in Splendour) tackles the legendary King Richard the Lionheart (son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine), and nearly succeeds in making him human. As Richard leads the Crusades in Outremer (the land beyond the sea), Penman depicts many story lines: the friction between the English and French allies; the complex political tension between warring factions within Jerusalem; the mutual admiration between Richard and Saladin (a Sunni Muslim who became leader of the Saracen forces and sultan of Egypt); and Richard's neglect of his young bride, Berengaria. The story follows Richard as he journeys from England to Sicily to free his sister, to Cyprus and Outremer, and finally to his departure from the Holy Land to reclaim his own lands from his treacherous brother John. Though hinting about events that don't take place in the book may feel frustrating, and though Penman never allows readers to meet the elusive Saladin, she ably captures the political intricacies of the time. Readers will eagerly await the next installment, which will focus on Richard's capture and ransom on his way home." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"The great Crusader king Richard the Lionheart comes alive in all his complex splendor in this masterpiece of a medieval tapestry by Sharon Kay Penman. She brings him and his legendary enemy, Saladin, before us, both on the battlefield for Jerusalem and in the quiet of their private chambers. It's as if you were there, in this strange, beguiling, vanished time that haunts the Middle East even today. Penman has triumphed in capturing its elusive essence and the blazing glory of the English king called Lionheart." -Margaret George, author of Elizabeth I: A Novel
Praise for Sharon Kay Penman
“Sharon Kay Penman transcends beloved-author status: among lovers of historical fiction, she is cherished.” —BookPage
“Always happy to read a new Sharon Kay Penman novel: Lionheart, set during the Crusades, brings both Richard and Saladin to vivid life.”—Nancy Pearl
“The great Crusader-King Richard the Lionheart comes alive in all his complex splendor in this masterpiece of a medieval tapestry.”—Margaret George
“Sharon Kay Penman transcends beloved-author status: among lovers of historical fiction, she is cherished.”—BookPage
“Penman has written a tour de force that has me ready for the sequel right this minute. Highly recommended.”—Historical Novels Review
“Penman displays her usual grasp of sweeping historical events, as well as an uncanny ability to get inside the hearts and minds of her real-life characters. Her reputation for character-driven, solidly detailed historicals is richly deserved. High Demand Backstory: The popularity of her superbly rendered Angevin trilogy guarantees a ready-made audience for this fictional biography of the always intriguing Richard the Lionheart.”—Booklist
“[A] gritty, unsentimental, and richly detailed epic. . . . Readers will eagerly await the next installment, which will focus on Richards capture and ransom.”—Publishers Weekly
From the New York Times-bestselling author of Lionheart comes the dramatic sequel, telling of the last dangerous years of Richard, Couer de Lions life.
This long-anticipated sequel to the national bestseller Lionheart is a vivid and heart-wrenching story of the last event-filled years in the life of Richard, Coeur de Lion. Taken captive by the Holy Roman Emperor while en route homein violation of the papal decree protecting all crusadershe was to spend fifteen months chained in a dungeon while Eleanor of Aquitaine moved heaven and earth to raise the exorbitant ransom. But a further humiliation awaited him: he was forced to kneel and swear fealty to his bitter enemy.
For the five years remaining to him, betrayals, intrigues, wars, and illness were ever present. So were his infidelities, perhaps a pattern set by his fathers faithlessness to Eleanor. But the courage, compassion, and intelligence of this warrior king became the stuff of legend, and A Kings Ransom brings the man and his world fully and powerfully alive.
About the Author
The story behind Sharon Kay Penman's first novel has become legendary. For many years while she was a student and then a tax lawyer, Penman slowly but steadily worked on a novel about the life of Richard III. After finishing the manuscript, however, her only copy was stolen from her car in a busy parking lot, Thankfully, Penman rewrote the entire novel that would become The Sunne in Splendour. It was published in 1982. She then quit her job to write full-time. Penman is the author of five critically acclaimed historical novels, including Here Be Dragons, The Reckoning, and most recently, When Christ and His Saints Slept, and one medieval mystery, The Queen's Man, a finalist for an Edgar Award for Best First Mystery from the Mystery Writers of America. She lives in New Jersey.
On the web: http://www.sharonkaypenman.com