Picture of author.

Sharon Kay Penman (1945–2021)

Author of Here Be Dragons

20+ Works 17,614 Members 495 Reviews 185 Favorited

About the Author

Sharon Kay Penman was born in New York City on August 13, 1945. She received a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Texas at Austin and a Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers University School of Law. She worked as a tax lawyer before becoming a full-time writer. She wrote The Sunne in show more Splendour, which chronicled the life of Richard III, while she was a student and a tax lawyer. After finishing the manuscript, her only copy was stolen from her car. She eventually rewrote the book and it was published in 1982. Her other works include Here Be Dragons, The Reckoning, When Christ and His Saints Slept, The Queen's Man, Cruel as the Grave, Dragon's Lair, Prince of Darkness, Lionheart and A King's Ransom. She won the 2001 Career Achievement Award for Historical Mysteries from Romantic Times. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: © William Penman, Jr.


Works by Sharon Kay Penman

Here Be Dragons (1985) 2,580 copies
The Sunne in Splendour (1982) 2,389 copies
Falls the Shadow (1988) 1,522 copies
The Reckoning (1991) 1,358 copies
Time and Chance (2002) 1,327 copies
The Queen's Man (1996) 1,296 copies
Cruel as the Grave (1998) 998 copies
Devil's Brood (2008) 952 copies
Lionheart (2011) 902 copies
Dragon's Lair (2003) 840 copies
Prince of Darkness (2005) 675 copies
A King's Ransom (2014) 474 copies
The Land Beyond the Sea (2020) 210 copies

Associated Works

Dangerous Women (2013) — Contributor — 1,134 copies
Dangerous Women 2 (2014) — Contributor — 95 copies


12th century (314) 13th century (159) 15th century (68) Britain (107) British (65) British history (130) Crusades (69) ebook (97) Eleanor of Aquitaine (380) England (874) fiction (1,694) France (97) Henry II (173) historical (559) historical fiction (3,050) historical mystery (196) historical novel (124) history (216) Justin de Quincy (117) Kindle (114) King John (67) medieval (817) Medieval England (105) medieval history (69) medieval mystery (64) Middle Ages (278) mystery (600) novel (146) own (174) Plantagenet (303) read (180) Richard I (140) Richard III (190) romance (62) royalty (64) series (188) to-read (1,311) unread (119) Wales (429) Wars of the Roses (119)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Penman, Sharon Kay
Date of death
New York, New York, USA
Place of death
Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
Cause of death
Places of residence
New York, New York, USA
New Jersey, USA
University of Texas, Austin (BA ∙ History)
Rutgers University (JD)
historical novelist
Molly Friedrich (Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency)
Mic Cheetham (Anthony Sheil Associates, Ltd.)
Short biography
Sharon Kay Penman was born in New York City and grew up in New Jersey. She majored in history at the University of Texas at Austin, and received a law degree from Rutgers University School of Law. She worked as a tax lawyer before becoming a writer. While still a student, she started to research and write her first novel, The Sunne in Splendour (1982), a fictional account of the life of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of Gloucester, later King Richard III of England. However, after the only copy of her manuscript was stolen from her car, she was devastated and gave up writing for several years. Eventually she was inspired to begin again, and 12 years later, while practicing law at the same time, had produced the 936-page novel. In the early 1980s, she began publishing the "Welsh Trilogy" of historical novels set in medieval Wales. It was followed by the "Plantagenet series," novels about the life of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. In 1996, she published the first in a series of medieval mystery novels, The Queen's Man. It was named a finalist for an Edgar Award for Best First Mystery from the Mystery Writers of America.



Rest in Peace Sharon Kay Penman in Historical Fiction (September 2021)
Chronological Sharon Kay Penman Books Challenge in Historical Fiction (August 2021)
Sharon Kay Penman in Historical Fiction (February 2017)
GROUP READ: Devil's Brood by Sharon Kay Penman in 2013 Category Challenge (November 2013)
GROUP READ: Time and Chance by Sharon Kay Penman in 2013 Category Challenge (September 2013)
2013 GROUP READ Dicussion - When Christ and His Saints Slept in 2013 Category Challenge (February 2013)


Loved this book, hated all the blasphemies.
tayadora1950 | 77 other reviews | May 21, 2024 |
Read a quarter of the 900 small-print pages & gave up. Too many battles and repetive back & forth power struggles. A slog. Which is a shame because some of the characters were well done.
Abcdarian | 77 other reviews | May 18, 2024 |
Read almost 300 pages before tossing.
Abcdarian | 28 other reviews | May 18, 2024 |
The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman was both interesting and well-written. I found it particularly interesting as it deals with a time frame I'm not very familiar with as most histories, biographies, and novels I've favoured previously have covered the Tudor period.

Obviously reading it for the first time in 2024 changes how I came to it as a reader. The de-villianisation of Richard III has been going strong for a few years now, but I can imagine this would have been a very different and interesting take when first published.

In conclusion, my short, very reductive review of this book is that I did not expect to finish it having the hots for Richard III, but here I am.
… (more)
73pctGeek | 77 other reviews | Apr 5, 2024 |



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