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The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman

The Sunne in Splendour (original 1982; edition 1990)

by Sharon Kay Penman

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1,820593,842 (4.46)269
Title:The Sunne in Splendour
Authors:Sharon Kay Penman
Info:Ballantine Books (1990), Paperback, 944 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:Historical Fiction, Plantagenet

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The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman (1982)

  1. 41
    The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey (LisaMaria_C)
    LisaMaria_C: For me The Daughter of Time and The Sunne in Splendour go hand in hand. The first is the classic mystery "solving" the mystery of the Two Princes in the Tower and the second a sympathetic biographical novel of Richard III which is well-researched and moving.… (more)
  2. 00
    We Speak No Treason by Rosemary Hawley Jarman (Imprinted)

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The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman is the long 1249 page tome most touted as favourite historical fiction by a huge number of Historical Fiction lovers. After one false start, I came back and persisted and am glad I did. I wasn't sure I completely agreed with the Ricardian viewpoint of the author, but it certainly added tons of clarity to my understanding of the supremely complex era known as The Wars of the Roses.

The research is extensive, especially Battle descriptions in Book 1.

Book 1: it's difficult to get over the starting line. There's so many characters you need to meet, battles upon battles and you try to sort out the heroes from the villains.

The author expertly relates the dynastic and interfamilial struggles which resulted in the Wars of the Roses, a term which only became popularized in 1829.

Book 2: this section deals with the relationship between Anne and Richard. There is a noticeable change in the writing style that really surprised me. Book 2 makes for much easier reading as it's basically historical romance.

I was struck by the astounding youth of the main players.

Book 3: the demise of Richard. By letting the drama unfold in discussions between Richard and Anne, their predicament becomes very real, not abstract.

After Edward IV's early unexpected death at age 40, everything changes for Richard. His role as Protector, and his very life, comes under challenge from various conspiracies, mainly headed by the venomous Dowager, Elizabeth Woodville and her family. Once more Richard is betrayed by those he trusted, namely Will Hastings and Henry Buckingham. It's a very tense time, the pace of the writing quickens and the sense of doom envelops the reader.

In Penman's eyes, Richard has nothing to do with disappearance of his nephews from the Tower, Princes Edward and Richard. Henry Buckingham is the supposed culprit. The mystery is never solved and the boys were presumed murdered by the end of 1483. Much of this theory is introduced via the exposition of various individuals who make the case for Richard's innocence. This technique weighs down the narrative

Even if you only read the hard facts of Richard's life and brief reign, it is full of drama and tragedy. Penman does a good job of bringing emotional depth to his story through his relationships to those closest to him. Occasionally, the dialogue weighs heavy and slows the pace of the story down as the author tries to imbue the language with archaicisms. It not an easy task, but she does it admirably.

I'm glad I persisted in completing this novel, but I do think it would have been more approachable written as a trilogy, rather than one long novel. ( )
  Zumbanista | Oct 16, 2016 |
Interesting history of a most maligned king, Richard III. Just awfully long!
Changed my mind, since I only read about 1/3, I will re-read and finish.
Actually went back and re-read and finished.  Penman's knowledge of this time in history is outstanding. ( )
  winterslights | Jun 12, 2016 |
Absolutely fantastic book. The only thing I knew about Richard III before reading this was from Shakespeare's play so I really enjoyed finally reading a more truthful and accurate version of his life. ( )
  Traciinaz | Mar 17, 2016 |
It took me a while to get through this, but I'm glad I picked it up. Generally i like fast paced, action, humor, sex, anything to force my scattered brain to pay attention to what I'm reading. This was a great change of pace. I enjoyed it very much and Penman writes beautifully. It's writing I can learn a lot from. I recommend it if you're looking for an enjoyable summer read, you know, on the beach with nothing but time to enjoy a good book. One of those reads. ( )
  ReneeMiller | Feb 25, 2016 |
In the Sunne in Splendour, Sharon Kay Penman vividly brings to life one of the most tumultuous periods in English History; the late 15th century. The principal characters are richly developed and engaging, the level of historical detail is astounding and, despite the book’s immense length (900 pages), the narrative moves quickly and is utterly absorbing. Readers who love historical fiction will not be disappointed.
( )
  Melissa_J | Jan 16, 2016 |
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To Julie McCaskey Wolff
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Richard did not become frightened until darkness began to settle over the woods.
And what of those who didn't know him? What happens, too, when all who knew him are dead, when people know only what they've been told? What truth will we be talking about, then?
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345363132, Paperback)

"The reader is left with the haunting sensation that perhaps the good a man does can live after him--especially in the hands of a dedicated historian."
In this stirring historical novel, Sharon Kay Penman redeems Richard III from his villainous role in history as the hulking, evil hunchback. This dazzling recreation of his life is filled with the sights and sounds of battle, and the passions of the highborn. Most of all, it brings to life a gifted man whose greatest sin was that he held principles too firmly for the times in which he lived, and loved too deeply to survive love's loss.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:22 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Departing from the traditional Shakespearian and Tudor historical portraits, this saga depicts the love story of Richard III and Anne Neville against the backdrop of royal family intrigue.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

LibraryThing Author

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

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Author Chat

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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