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Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman

Here Be Dragons (1985)

by Sharon Kay Penman

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2,013503,333 (4.34)176
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One of the things I like about Sharon Kay Penman is her ability to write about history in a clarifying way, without making it confusing. I also appreciate her skill in fleshing out the characters of our past, making them much like people we know today.

Here Be Dragons is one of this author's first works, written about 30 years ago, and it's a keeper. In this first of a trilogy (they can be read separately), we are immersed in the Angevin dynasty politics and intrigue, based mostly in 12th and 13th century England, Normandy, France, and Wales, and come to know the powerful people of that time. At first, King John is a somewhat sympathetic character, as Penman paints his picture through the eyes of his illegitimate daughter, Joanna. After a marriage of political benefit to a prince of Wales, Llewellyn, Joanna's eyes are opened more to the differences between the Norman conquerors and the Welsh, whose ideas of marriage and inheritance appeal to her.

Riveting, a hard-to-put-it-down book of more than 700 pages, though it does not read as a typical "chunkster". Highly, highly recommended. ( )
2 vote fuzzi | Dec 28, 2016 |
My husband says it's overly romanticized, and he's no doubt right, but it's such a great read. I could barely put it down yesterday. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
An enjoyable tour through the late 1100s/early 1200s in England, France and Wales, but with a focus on Wales. An interesting fictional look at political allegiances, way of life, beliefs and laws under the cover of historical fiction. The intermarriages and complexities of family are well described. ( )
  devilish2 | Aug 4, 2016 |
This is a favorite book--one I read years (decades?) ago yet still remember lines and scenes from. One of those rare books that have moved me to tears. I've read a lot of Sharon Kay Penman's books--I'm currently reading her latest release and then will have no more of her to read until "Prince of Darkness" comes out. This one and "Sunne in Splendor" are by far my two favorites, the two I'd rate a full five stars. Not only engrossing, solidly ground historical fiction but one of the best love stories I've ever read. I'm not saying this is deathless literature--there are aspects of Penman's style I find clunky (point of view, dialogue tags, etc) But that doesn't stop me from flat-out loving this book. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | Apr 21, 2016 |
This first instalment in Penman’s England/Wales trilogy paints a magnificent portrait of the personalities and politics at the heart of the 13th century conflict between England and Wales. Penman’s richly drawn characters come right from the pages of history and she completely pulls you into their world. This book does not disappoint. ( )
1 vote Melissa_J | Jan 16, 2016 |
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Prologue: Theirs was a land of awesome grandeur, a land of mountains and moorlands and cherished myths.
Book One: Chapter 1: Shropshire, England, July 1183: He was ten years old and an alien in an unfriendly land, made an unwilling exile by his mother's marriage to a Marcher border lord.
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Book description
Thirteenth-century Wales is a divided country, ever at the mercy of England’s ruthless, power-hungry King John. Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, secures an uneasy truce by marrying the English king’s beloved illegitimate daughter, Joanna, who slowly grows to love her charismatic and courageous husband. But as John’s attentions turn again and again to subduing Wales---and Llewelyn---Joanna must decide where her love and loyalties truly lie.

The turbulent clashes of two disparate worlds and the destinies of the individuals caught between them spring to life in this magnificent novel of power and passion, loyalty and lies. The book that began the trilogy that includes Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning, Here Be Dragons brings thirteenth-century England, France, and Wales to tangled, tempestuous life.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345382846, Paperback)

"A masterful picture of Wales in the 13th century...vivdly pictured as grandly beautiful, its people volatile, stubborn and mystic."
Thirteenth-century Wales is a divided country, ever at the mercy of England's ruthless, power-hungry King John. Then Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, secures an uneasy truce with England by marrying the English king's beloved, illegitimate daughter, Joanna. Reluctant to wed her father's bitter enemy, Joanna slowly grows to love her charismatic and courageous husband who dreams of uniting Wales. But as John's attentions turn again and again to subduing Wales--and Llewelyn--Joanna must decide to which of these powerful men she owes her loyalty and love.
A sweeping novel of power and passion, loyalty and lives, this is the book that began the trilogy that includes FALLS THE SHADOW and THE RECKONING.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:07 -0400)

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A thirteenth-century Welsh prince called Llewelyn the Great tries to wrest his country from England. Standing in his way is King John who marries his daughter to Llewelyn in hopes of taming the rebellious prince.

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LibraryThing Author

Sharon Kay Penman is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Sharon Kay Penman chatted with LibraryThing members from Aug 10, 2009 to Aug 21, 2009. Read the chat.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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