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Time and Chance by Sharon Kay Penman
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I am not good at summarizing books but I loved all the Sharon Kay Penman books that began with Eleanor and Henry. ( )
  CathyWacksman | Apr 24, 2016 |
At her best (Sunne in Splendour, Here Be Dragons) Penman is numbered among my favorite authors. Those favorites greatly moved me and are memorable years afterwards. There's only one book of hers I've read I ever found tedious--and that's her recent novel "Lionheart" about Richard the I of England.

This particular book is the second in a trilogy about Henry Fitz-Empress, King of England who with his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine ruled an empire that rivaled Charlemagne's. The first book, "When Christ and His Saints Slept" didn't quite reach the heights of Penman's best for me, but was still fascinating in its contrasting portraits of Henry's mother, Matilda and her cousin Stephen who vied for rule of England. This book is perhaps a notch below that one, but still very entertaining with no dull spots. The pair contrasted and centered upon n this book is the relationship between Henry and Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, If given what I knew about history Matilda was the surprise of the first book, Beckett is the surprise of the second. Beckett is usually presented as, well, a saint--or at least a hero fighting the oppression of the state. The matter isn' so simple as Penman presents it and more often than not it was Beckett I found utterly exasperating--my sympathies by and large were with Henry. The book is also interesting in its picture of the deteriorating marriage between Henry and Eleanor which no doubt is destined for a messy crackup in the next book and last book of the trilogy--"The Devil's Brood"--which I'm already reading and enjoying. If you enjoy works based on medieval history Penman is definitely worth your checking out. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | Mar 22, 2016 |
After Henry II ended the civil war by taking the throne, his next big crisis was the struggle with Thomas a Becket, and the Church. The novel covers that period and the martyrdom is well described. The other theme is the evolution of the Henry and Eleanor's marriage. This is the best time in it. we also have a visit to the Welsh marches to begin weaving some other themes in this corpus. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Feb 23, 2016 |
Great sequel to When Christ and His Saints Slept, beautifully written and well researched! ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
Sharon Kay Penman is without question my favourite author of historical fiction, so when I started reading this book I expected to be hooked immediately. Unfortunately, I found the first quarter of the book gave far too much attention to a character not even from the pages of real history - a character whose storyline I didn't at all enjoy. As a result, I despaired that I might have come across a work of Penman's that I wouldn't enjoy. Penman came through in the end though...and I never should have doubted that she would. As soon as Henry II and Thomas Becket began their infamous feud I didn't want to put the book down. Penman has once again painted a vivid portrait of the regal and political figures that defined the 12th century, most especially Henry II and Thomas Becket. My only criticism, aside from the attention paid to Ranulf's storyline, was that Eleanor of Aquitaine played such a minor role in the story. I do, however, believe this will be rectified in the novel that follows, Devil's Brood, and I am very much look forward to reading it. ( )
  Melissa_J | Jan 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift'
nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise,>
nor riches to the intelligent, nor favour to the men of skill
but time and chance happen to them all.
Ecclesiastes
Dedication
To Jill Davies
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As the King of England crossed the inner bailey of Chinon Castle, his brother watched from an upper-storey window and wished fervently that God would smite him dead.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345396723, Paperback)

The Sunne in Splendour confirmed Sharon Kay Penman's place in the upper echelons of historical fiction, combining a breathtaking panoply of the past with an acute psychological observation of her characters. Time and Chance is the second part of her planned trilogy about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, beginning in the glory years of their reign. Penman conjures for us an astonishing era in which Henry battles with the Welsh and the French king, appoints Thomas Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury, and, by taking a mistress, makes a bitter enemy of his wife.

Readers know the scalpel-like precision of Penman's character building from her earlier work, and the emotional lives of Henry and the troubled Eleanor are powerfully realized. As in the first book of the sequence, When Christ and His Saints Slept, conflict is ever the driving force. Henry and Eleanor's remarkable partnership was proving highly fecund, both politically, and physically, as Eleanor gave birth to five sons and three daughters, laying to rest her reputation as a barren queen and founding a dynasty that was to last three centuries. But auguries of trouble ahead were apparent: war with the Welsh; acrimonious battles with Eleanor's first husband, King Louis VII of France. But the truly destabilizing factor was Henry's decision to appoint his friend and confidant Thomas Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury. Henry had assumed that the worldly, ambitious Becket would be the perfect ally, and was devastated when the new archbishop cast off his own worldly past as he embraced his role as Defender of the Faith, swapping dissolution for piety.

As Penman vividly demonstrates, Henry saw Becket's action as a humiliating betrayal. One of the most famous murders in history followed, with further conflict in the kingdom caused by Henry's liaison with the daughter of a baron. In bedding Rosamund Clifford, Henry put his marriage and even his kingship at risk. As always, Penman handles her research lightly; the personal drama is the engine of her narrative, with each fresh scandal and intrigue delivered with a beguiling combination of relish and restraint. She is assured in her detailing of the political and ecclesiastical clashes of the court, but it is Henry II who strides her novel like a colossus--just as he did the kingdom he ruled. --Barry Forshaw, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:34 -0400)

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In When Christ and His Saints Slept, acclaimed historical novelist Sharon Kay Penman portrayed all the deceit, danger, and drama of Henry II's ascension to the throne. Now, in Time and Chance, she continues the ever-more-captivating tale. It was medieval England's immortal marriage-Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, bound by passion and ambition, certain to leave a legacy of greatness. But while lust would divide them, it was friendship-and ultimately faith-that brought bloodshed into their midst. It began with Thomas Becket, Henry's closest confidant, and his elevation to be Archbishop of Canterbury. It ended with a perceived betrayal that made a royal murder seem inevitable. Along the way were enough scheming, seductions, and scandals to topple any kingdom but their own. Only Sharon Kay Penman can re-create this truly tumultuous time-and capture the couple who loved power as much as each other, and a man who loved God most of all.… (more)

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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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