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When Christ and His Saints Slept

by Sharon Kay Penman

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1,969627,328 (4.24)1 / 335
A.D. 1135. As church bells tolled for the death of England's King Henry I, his barons faced the unwelcome prospect of being ruled by a woman: Henry's beautiful daughter Maude, Countess of Anjou. But before Maude could claim her throne, her cousin Stephen seized it. In their long and bitter struggle, all of England bled and burned. Sharon Kay Penman's magnificent fifth novel summons to life a spectacular medieval tragedy whose unfolding breaks the heart even as it prepares the way for splendors to come--the glorious age of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Plantagenets that would soon illumine the world.… (more)
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» See also 335 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
Here's what I wrote in 2008 about this read: "This was a great read! What terrible and turbulent times these were. Royalty fought royalty for power and wealth, while both they and the peasant folk paid the heavy price as war continued throughout the English land. Truly, Christ and his Angels did seem to sleep." Was obviously on a medieval reading course during this time of life; check out other books read during the years 1995-97. And, interesting that they were all written by women. ( )
  MGADMJK | Sep 9, 2022 |
It was okay, but at times it really reads more like a documentary than a novel and I was expecting a novel. It's really, really, long and the documentary style just didn't work for me. I couldn't finish it. ( )
  DragonsRReal | Aug 6, 2022 |
Recommended by Louisa Brooks
  standrewsparish | Nov 27, 2021 |
This historical novel covers the decades-long struggle between King Stephen and Empress Matilda (Maude), which eventually ends with the coronation of Henry II, Maude's son. Rich in detail, the novel gives a good sense of the brutal and violent times in which it is set, and how the average people suffer as the nobility fight for power. I also liked the author's inclusion of the fictional Ranulf, as his viewpoint offers good insight into the various characters. ( )
  mathgirl40 | Jan 19, 2021 |
The story of the founding of the House of the Plantagenet. Most of the book was focused on the 18 years of wars between Maude of Anjou (daughter of Henry I) and Stephan of Blois (Prince of Normandy). Maude was the only legitimate child of Henry I and had been promised the throne; but on his deathbed Henry I gave the throne to Stephan, thus initiating an English Civil War. I thought the most interesting part of the book was the last 200 pages which relates the life of Henry II and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. This is the best book I've read in 2020 and I will most certainly be reading the others in this series. 762 pages ( )
  Tess_W | Jul 14, 2020 |
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Epigraph
Never before had there been greater wretchedness in the country ... And they said openly that Christ and His saints slept.
The Peterborough Chronicle
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To Valerie Ptak LaMont
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Stephen was never to forget his fifth birthday, for that was the day he lost his father.
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A.D. 1135. As church bells tolled for the death of England's King Henry I, his barons faced the unwelcome prospect of being ruled by a woman: Henry's beautiful daughter Maude, Countess of Anjou. But before Maude could claim her throne, her cousin Stephen seized it. In their long and bitter struggle, all of England bled and burned. Sharon Kay Penman's magnificent fifth novel summons to life a spectacular medieval tragedy whose unfolding breaks the heart even as it prepares the way for splendors to come--the glorious age of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Plantagenets that would soon illumine the world.

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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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