HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

When Christ and His Saints Slept

by Sharon Kay Penman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,071627,792 (4.23)1 / 340
In the wake of King Henry I's death in 1135, the Countess of Anjou, his beautiful daughter, prepares to claim the throne despite the reservations of the late ruler's barons, but her position is usurped by her cousin. 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)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

» See also 340 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
I have meant for some years to read this author's long novel about Richard III, so when this one instead appeared in a charity shop was tempted. I didn't know much about the period it covers other than remembering that the war between King Stephen and Empress/would-be Queen Maude (aka Matilda) forms the background to the Cadfael series by Ellis Peters.

I enjoyed this book in parts, principally when the scenes developed naturally with some nice interaction between historical characters such as Henry, future King, and Eleanor of Aquitaine. And the book was educational as I certainly know more about the period than beforehand. I wasn't so keen on the huge chunk that revolved around the imaginary character Ranulf and his friends/relations and his strung out hopeless love affair. I can see the point of putting such a character in scenes to interact with the real historical characters, to give a third party onlooker with whom the reader can identify and who can perhaps help to convey key facts, but there were extended interludes based around this character's misadventures elsewhere. I felt that the section in Wales was put in to allow the author to display her research about medieval Welsh society. In an already very long book, Ranulf's interactions away from the historical events must have added at least 200 pages of padding.

I also wasn't keen on certain aspects of the book's structure. There was a repeated style of scene where characters are discussing the events of the day and then someone bursts in, either with a message or to announce the arrival of a messenger. This was repeated so often I came to expect it whenever people were sitting down having a discussion. It made for a certain staleness and sense of deja vu. There were also quite a few places where someone explains all about something or someone to another character in an extended infodump, quite often done between made up characters who only appear for that purpose.

I also appreciate that there were a lot of characters in the real history, and many had the same or similar names, but it did get quite confusing at times and I just couldn't remember who someone from among the minor characters was, especially if they had been out of the picture for a few chapters. The list of characters at the start of the book only lists the main ones plus Ranulf and his invented friends and relations.

These issues made it a bit of a struggle to get through the book although I did persevere as I did want to know what happened and found the character of the future Henry II attractive. Therefore my overall rating balances out at 3 stars.

( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

Belongs to Series

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
Never before had there been greater wretchedness in the country ... And they said openly that Christ and His saints slept.
The Peterborough Chronicle
Dedication
To Valerie Ptak LaMont
First words
Stephen was never to forget his fifth birthday, for that was the day he lost his father.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

In the wake of King Henry I's death in 1135, the Countess of Anjou, his beautiful daughter, prepares to claim the throne despite the reservations of the late ruler's barons, but her position is usurped by her cousin. 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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

LibraryThing Author

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

profile page | author page

Author Chat

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

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (4.23)
0.5
1 2
1.5 1
2 12
2.5 4
3 56
3.5 14
4 181
4.5 29
5 203

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 204,212,551 books! | Top bar: Always visible