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A King's Ransom [Kindle Edition]

Sharon Penman
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £18.99
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Book Description

From the New York Times bestselling author comes the stunning sequel to Lionheart

Travelling home from the bloody battlefields of the Holy Land, the Crusader King Richard the Lionheart is shipwrecked in the Mediterranean after an encounter with pirates. He should be protected by a papal decree, but he is betrayed and captured by the Duke of Austria - a man who has good reason to loathe him - and is immediately claimed by the Holy Roman Emperor, who also bears him a bitter grudge.

Richard is to spend fifteen months imprisoned, much of it in the notorious fortress at Trefils, which few men ever left. Meanwhile, his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, is moving heaven and earth to raise a staggering ransom, travelling across Europe herself to buy the release of her favourite son.

But her determination may not be enough. At the eleventh hour, the Duke announces that he has had a better offer from the French king, Philippe, and Richard's own treacherous brother, John. They will pay an even larger sum to continue Richard's captivity - or to turn him over to their tender mercies.

Told with masterful insight and rich historical detail, A King's Ransom is a striking portrayal of the darker, troubled years of Richard - a man whose courage, compassion and intelligence became the stuff of legend.

Product Description


Praise for "A King's Ransom" ""A King's Ransom "[is] historical fiction of the first order, a narrative synthesis of the royal marriages and petty rivalries, the personal slights and gestures of loyalty, the grand deeds and simple twists of fate that shape events . . . Instead of history that reads like a novel, Penman achieves something greater: a novel that reads like history."--"Willamette Week" "Penman's long-awaited sequel to her book "Lionheart" covers the last seven years of Richard's life. There's betrayal, war, illness and intrigue....She includes everyday details that get you right into the story . . . once you start reading you won't want to stop."--"British Weekly" "A panoramic retelling of the tumultuous last years of Richard the Lionheart's life . . . Penman has absorbed herself so fully into the heart and mind of her protagonist that an undeniably flawed but refreshingly human Richard virtually walks off the pages. This atmospheric fictional biography showcases the author's mastery of all things medieval while providing some refreshingly new twists on the life and times of a hallowed hero."--"Booklist" "Detailed down to the last flagon of wine, Penman's work will please serious fans of historical fiction. . . Characters rise from the pages--Richard, brave warrior, skilled diplomat; Heinrich, "If he were cut, he'd bleed ice"; the mercenary Mercadier; and multitudes more. Seven years of sieges and battles, confrontations in castles and on horseback are lovingly detailed. . . Penman's latest is a massively entertaining work of historical fiction for dedicated fans." --"Kirkus Reviews" Praise for Sharon Kay Penman "Sharon Kay Penman transcends beloved-author status: among lovers of historical fiction, she is cherished." --"BookPage" "Always happy to read a new Sharon Kay Penman novel: "Lionheart," set during the Crusades, brings both Richard and Saladin to vivid life."--Nancy Pearl "The gr

Book Description

The sequel to Lionheart, completing the story of Richard I

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2438 KB
  • Print Length: 704 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0230768059
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Main Market Ed. edition (13 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,028 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I am an American of Irish-English-Welsh heritage, and I currently live in New Jersey, although many of my readers imagine I am happily dwelling upon a Welsh mountaintop--but no such luck. I was once a tax lawyer, which I looked upon as penance for my sins. Like most writers, I was born with a love of the written word, although I never expected to be able to support myself as a writer; when you read about starving artists in their garrets, most of them have starving writers as roommates. But I was very lucky and I have been blessed to make my living as a writer for the past twenty-seven years or so. All of my novels--eleven at last count--are set in the Middle Ages, and focus upon England's most colorful dynasty, the Plantagenets. It is almost as if they lived their dramatic and often wildly improbable lives with future historical novelists in mind, and I am very grateful to them--especially to the Angevins,Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine and their equally famous children, known to their contemporaries as the Devil's Brood.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Penman outdoes herself in this one 18 Mar. 2014
By Misfit TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I don't think it's any secret that I'm a huge Penman fan (or Penmenian as my good friend J calls it), and I was thrilled to spot this on the Vine newsletter and get an early shot at it.

This is a difficult book to review, since those who are familiar with Richard's history don't need another rehash, and those fresh to the story don't need me spilling the beans. And trust me, there are plenty of surprises to be had, even for those who think they know about Richard being held hostage and his troubles with the French king and his younger brother John.

That pretty much leaves me to discussing MY reading experience, and all I can say is WOW. I was gripped on the first pages with the cat and mouse came of getting home from crusade and trying to avoid the snares set to capture him. While I was aware that Richard had spent time in Germany as a hostage, there was much more to the story, and I was fascinated watching how that experience changed him and how he interacted with others in his life, especially his marriage to Berengeria. I loved his sarcastic nature (he gets some of the best dialogue!) when it was directed towards younger brother John and Philippe Capet (the French king). And speaking of Richard's younger brother John, some of my favorite moments were the family Christmas celebrations and watching him trolling the room for gossip and mischief. I so wish I could quote some of it. It doesn't get better than that.

While this book is a follow up to Lionheart, IMHO it can be read as a stand-alone, and another thumbs up to the author for getting the reader up to speed on previous events without the use of tedious info dumps. I also appreciated how Raimond was used to get the reader up to speed with the Cathar religion, and why the Catholic church was so set against it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
The perfect companion for all history enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

A King's Ransom is the follow up to Lionheart and tells the story of King Richard I's imprisonment in Germany at the hands of Duke Leopold of Austria and Emperor Heinrich VI and of his battle to win back his Kingdom from his rapacious brother John.

Penman plainly did her homework. Her storytelling is intricate, well researched and historically faithful. There were a few interesting alterations - the most memorable being Penman's take on the relationship between Richard's sister, Joanna and Raimond Count of Toulouse along with several additions, i.e., characters created just to further the storyline. Penman explains her changes satisfactorily at the end of the novel in the Author's Note section stating that not everything we read online is gospel. Many historical fiction authors don't bother doing an in depth examination of all the sources and just repeatedly regurgitate Wikipedia entries. If Hollywood took research seriously the way Penman has, we'd have fewer bad medieval movies and historically inaccurate television programmes.

A King's Ransom is an intricate, clever, bloody and at times, moving story. Richard I is presented realistically yet still keeps his aura of legendary heroism. The tale reads like a movie without losing it's way historically. It was a book I was sad to finally put down.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Sequel to Lionheart 14 May 2014
By J. Chippindale TOP 500 REVIEWER
A book by Sharon Penman is always eagerly looked forward to, at least by me and a myriad of other readers. The author's books are up there with the best historical fiction writers of today. If however, you are expecting a couple of hundred pages and a lightweight or easy reading storyline then Sharon Penman is probably not the author for you. Most of her books are heavyweight (in volume, not in content), as in this book, that runs to several hundred pages and is the sequel to the excellent Lionheart

Sharon Penman's attention, not only to detail, but also to historical accuracy is as good as anyone writing today. She has the ability to bring the period of history she is writing about to life for the reader. At the same time she writes in a style that is never boring. No long passages, or chapters that could safely be left out of the book without the story suffering. Everything in the book is there for a reason, to add to the enjoyment of the reader. A style that some lesser author's could learn from.

This book concentrates on the protracted return of the Lionheart from the Holy Land, becoming shipwrecked in the Mediterranean and his subsequent capture by the Duke of Austria. Further to his incarceration his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine begins to raise the ransom needed for Richard's release, with little or no help from her younger son, the infamous John. The English people in general are loathe to part with the taxes being raised to free a King who has barely set foot on English soil during his reign. Eleanor will not be denied and moves heaven and earth to free her favourite son.

The story is a well documented one, and has been told many times, but rarely with the aplomb shown by the author. A terrific read, and one that should not be missed by all those who love historical fiction.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another chronicle: admirable, but a bit of a slog 3 April 2014
By Bookwoman TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Every reviewer so far has given this latest instalment in Sharon Penman's mighty Plantagenet saga five stars, and I can understand why. This is an author in a league of her own.
She's been my favourite historical novelist from the moment I came across Here be Dragons in the library and raced through it over a lost weekend. But ever since the follow-up to the magnificent When Christ and His Saints Slept (Eleanor of Aquitaine Trilogy 1), she's been writing a different sort of book. In previous reviews I've called them fictional chronicles, and I have to admit that I find them a bit of a slog.
Her novels were always weighty but never dull. She managed to re-create and interpret historical events intelligently and in meticulous detail, while telling a hugely entertaining tale: the backgrounds may have been sweeping, but the individual stories were personal and touching. The icing on the cake was her creation of some of the most vivid characters in historical fiction - a romantic view of their emotions and relationships, perhaps, but always believable, and totally compelling.
Nowadays, her determination to give us an exhaustive account of every event is admirable, but it's at the expense of things like structure, drama and empathy. Although she still rises to the occasion when necessary - Richard's trial at Speyer is a dramatic highlight, and her deathbed scenes rarely leave me dry-eyed - there's far too much clunky and repetitive exposition.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ... for my boyfriend and it came very quick he loved the
Bought this for my boyfriend and it came very quick he loved the book
Published 1 month ago by Nicole
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read
Amazing book!
I loved from begging to end. Incredible story, however, I am still shocked in the way that the Lionheart died. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nabil
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A well known tale brilliantly told so pleased i found the newer penman books
Published 2 months ago by Mr. Neil Porter
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent just as i ex pected
Published 2 months ago by D G Ramsden
4.0 out of 5 stars Ransomed, but was he worth it?
Firstly, I notice the paperback version has just been released and I wish I had waited for that rather than committing to the expensive hardback. Read more
Published 2 months ago by EleanorB
5.0 out of 5 stars A kings ransom
A truly fascinating book ,the second I've read by this wonderful author. I have spent several sleepless nights to reach this review and am now sad it's over. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rory
2.0 out of 5 stars Sadly disappointing
I agree entirely with Kate Vane in that the magic has gone! Lionheartt and then this were hugely disappointing when my expectations, as an avid fan of Sharon Penman, we're so high. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Little Mumsie
3.0 out of 5 stars American spellings a disappointment.
Usual high standard from Sharon Penman. Unfortunately this is the American edition with weird spellings so I cannot rate it as highly as I would like. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Flos
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
Sharon Penman is a wonderful writer and this is another enjoyable and well researched novel. I found it interesting how she put a modern spin on Richard with the idea of post... Read more
Published 4 months ago by lizc
5.0 out of 5 stars Great follow up to Lionheart, if a little less colourful
This is the follow up volume to Sharon Penman's Lionheart, and the action picks up when Richard is on the way back from the Third Crusade, and has to divert overland through the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by John Hopper
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