About the Book:
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.
So much is known about Richard the Lionheart. Even people who don’t know much about history have at least heard about him. He is a true legend. Yet in this magnificent novel Ms. Penman manages to make him both bigger than life and ordinary man.
Richard ascends to the throne of England upon the death of his father, Henry II. His mother is Eleanor of Aquitaine and he had spent most of his life in her domain thinking he would be ruling there. He never expected to be King of England. He had “taken the cross” and found himself on the third crusade right after he was crowned King. He was unmarried and his heir was his youngest brother John whom he really did not trust. Smart man.
Richard was a soldier through and through. He was a brilliant battle commander and strategist. He and Phillipe Capet of France were joining forces to go on the crusade together but neither man liked nor trusted one another.
The book is a history lover’s dream, full of detail and life created from the records left by peoples long dead. Fortunately with Richard there are records from both sides – those that hated him and those that revered him so a somewhat true picture of the man can be formulated. So often with historical records only one side is left to tell the tale.
This is not a book for someone looking for a fast, light read. This is a book for someone who wants to truly immerse themselves in time and place. There are a lot of characters from a number of countries to keep straight – this is sometimes a challenge but they are important to the telling. I have never been disappointed in a book from Ms. Penman, in fact I look forward to each one with a passion.
Lionheart tells only half of Richard’s story; the rest will be told in the sequel – A King’s Ransom. So my waiting begins. I first discovered Ms. Penman’s books in the ’80ies with The Sunne in Splendour and drove my husband crazy for every time we went to a book store I had to look for the next book and when it wasn’t there I was crushed. This was, of course, before the internet became so ever present.
So if you love history and you want a deep, involving book pick up Lionheart. You will not be disappointed.
Lionheart is available at Amazon.com
Disclosure: I received a copy of Lionheart gratis. Any opinions expressed are my honest opinions and were not impacted by my receipt of the free book. I received no monetary compensation for this post.