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Lionheart: A Novel by Sharon Kay Penman

Lionheart: A Novel (edition 2013)

by Sharon Kay Penman

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6634921,832 (3.96)84
Title:Lionheart: A Novel
Authors:Sharon Kay Penman
Info:Ballantine Books (2013), Paperback, 624 pages
Collections:Your library

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Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman



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Lionheart was OK but not as good as the first book I read by Penman. ( )
  KateSavage | Mar 29, 2019 |
Very interesting novel - it changed my view of Richard, who I'd always thought was a swaggering, rather brainless war monger. As the author notes, there must have been some reason that he was Eleanor's favorite child. I understand that better now. ( )
  Kuglar | Mar 28, 2018 |
A book by Sharon Penman is always eagerly awaited, at least by me and I am sure a myriad of other readers. The author's books are up there with the best historical fiction writers of today. If however, you are expecting a couple of hundred pages and a lightweight or easy reading storyline then Sharon Penman is probably not the author for you. Most of her books are heavyweight (in volume, not in content. No 200 page wafer thin offerings from this author). This book runs to just over six hundred pages and is the first of a two part series.

Sharon Penman's attention, not only to detail, but also to historical accuracy is as good as anyone writing today. She has the ability to bring the period of history she is writing about to life for the reader. At the same time she writes in a style that is never boring. No long passages, or chapters that could safely be left out of the book without the story suffering. Everything in the book is there for a reason, and that is to add to the enjoyment of the reader. A style that some other author's could learn a great deal from.

The English crown had barely flattened the hair of Richard's head before he upped and left his new Kingdom for the Holy Land and the Third Crusade. A popular true story, told time and again through the centuries. Richard is portrayed as an indestructible symbol of the Christian forces in the Holy Land and his fearlessness in battle is well documented. The author tells the story of Richard with compassion, at a time when warfare was barbaric and brutal death common place. The Lionheart was sometimes brash and bullying, but a man of enormous intelligence and military acumen. At other times he had the weakness, self doubts and misgivings of any mortal man. The author also sympathetically portrays Richard's undoubted respect for his opponent Saladin, even though the Lionheart will move heaven and earth to destroy the opposing forces, and regain the Holy Land.

This book is a terrific read, and one that should not be missed by all those who love historical fiction. I for one am waiting with anticipation for the sequel, A King's Ransom A book that follows Richard the Lionheart's difficult and lengthy journey back from the Holy Land. ( )
  Jawin | Dec 29, 2017 |
One word that can justifiably illustrate King Richard I, and that Sharon Kay Penman has used in this book thrice: bravura. Indeed, he was never short of audacity, always leading his men to the front line and proving himself a capable military tactician as early as sixteen. For all his blunders as a son, a husband and a king, or even the risky exploits he had committed himself into that almost bordered on perverse tenacity and perhaps a strong disregard to his self-preservation, no one could ever dispute his sound warrior skills and great courage in the battlefield. Reading this book felt like watching a far-fetched movie about a hero who is glorified excessively for his ability to run through the enemy line on his own, come to his wife and sister’s rescue in the nick of time and in a rather dramatic fashion, and reclaim a besieged town and hold fast to it even when they were greatly outnumbered by the enemy—only, these aren’t merely whimsical hero’s tales but a few of the many testimonies that proved Richard’s legendary valor.

No wonder he’d been referred to as the “Lionheart” in his lifetime and thereafter. He was definitely a force to reckon with, a “medieval rockstar”, to quote one book reviewer. So admirable was his authority that many were enamored to follow him to hell and back and sacrificed themselves on his behalf, like one Norman knight did. I think I would do the same if I were part of his retinue; I would also stay loyal and trusting and confident even to be sleeping soundly every night knowing that my liege lord could easily outdo the saints in performing miracles and bringing good fortune in his favor every time. Sadly, though, that with all the illustriousness surrounding King Richard’s life, his death had come out rather tragically lackluster (actually, his later years and death aren't covered in this book, all the more reason to read the next—and final— installment of Penman’s Plantagenet series, A King's Ransom)

I detested his selfish and skeptical nature in the previous book, Devil's Brood, although my general sentiment about him after reading this story has now quite mellowed to ambivalence (or even perhaps a bit more on the approving side). Penman has painted King Richard here in a different light—a pleasant kind of different in my opinion, and a satisfying divergence from the many chronicles practically underlining his disreputable deeds. I also appreciate how the author has narrated the events of the Third Crusade in a very detailed fashion that didn’t turn out flat in the end. I find that she has a witty way of describing historical events, and if she were a History professor, she’d surely have lots of eager enrolees in her class! ( )
  Krista02 | Oct 7, 2017 |
I have to admit I’ve never tried to read a book about Richard whilst he was on crusade. I feared it would be boring but it certainly wasn’t. I confess I had a crush on him in Devil’s Brood so I was so excited that this book came out.

Have to feel sorry for Berengaria though, even if the marriage started well. They were so ill-matched that I’m surprised it started that well at all. Sometimes opposites attract and all that but sometimes it’s just too different.

I really liked Joanna and how she could knock some sense into her brother’s head at times. It seems like it’s been too long since I read Devil’s Brood and I tried to remember if we met Joanna in that book also? I can’t remember.

It’s not a fast read but I didn’t find it boring. There’s a huge cast of characters and POV changes that might be annoying to some readers. ( )
  Elysianfield | Feb 8, 2017 |
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Theirs was a story that would rival the legend of King Arthur and Guinevere, his faithless queen.
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Book description
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.
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Richard, the second surviving son of Henry Plantagenet and Eleanor of Aquitaine, inherits the throne from his brother, before embarking on the Third Crusade, a conflict that is complicated by the schemes of his usurping brother, John.

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