I received a free copy of A King’s Ransom from the publisher for my honest review.
About the Book:
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 home—in violation of the papal decree protecting all crusaders—he was to spend fifteen months imprisoned, much of it in the notorious fortress at Trefils, from which few men ever left alive, while Eleanor of Aquitaine moved heaven and earth to raise the exorbitant ransom.
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 father’s faithlessness to Eleanor. But the courage, compassion, and intelligence of this warrior king became the stuff of legend, and A King’s Ransom brings the man and his world fully and powerfully alive.
About the Author:
Sharon Kay Penman was born in New York City and grew up in New Jersey. She has a BA in history from the University of Texas and a Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers School of Law. She has not practiced law since the publication of her first novel, The Sunne in Splendour, in 1982. To date, she has written six historical novels and two medieval mysteries. She has lived in England and Wales while researching books, and currently lives in New Jersey.
Richard the Lionheart has come down through history as a figure larger than life. More hero than not his actual record as King of England is mixed but as the subject of a novel – his life is at times stranger than fiction so it makes for fascinating reading especially in the hands of a storyteller such as Ms. Penman. I’ve been reading her books since she started writing them and I’ve only missed one – the first in her Angevin trilogy, The Devil’s Brood. This conclusion to that series wraps up the life of Richard quite satisfactorily.
A King’s Ransom covers the period of his life as he tries to come home from his last Crusade and finds himself captured and held for a ransom that is sure to bankrupt England. But his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine will raise that ransom to rescue her favorite son. Meanwhile his brother John will do what he can to thwart Richard’s return because he wants to remain in power.
Who needs fiction when the facts are so compelling? But it’s the fiction that pulls it all together into a very compelling read. I do love my English history and I am never quite so happy as when I have a doorstop of a book to get lost in so with A King’s Ransom I was in my glory. I will say that Richard does come across somewhat god like and I take some issue with that as I do not think he was one of England’s great kings – he was hardly in England! He was though an eminently fascinating man.
The book reads very quickly and while it can stand alone I think it was helpful to me as a reader to have read Lionheart first. Just to have all of that delightful background. There are a LOT of characters and it does take a while to sort them all out especially their titles from their names but once that is done the book is a rich depiction of the last years of a man who left a large shadow on history. A rip roaring good read with a very satisfying ending.
You can read my review of Lionheart