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A King's Ransom [Kindle Edition]

Sharon Penman
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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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.

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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: 2645 KB
  • Print Length: 705 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0399159223
  • 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: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,135 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 14 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Ruth
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having read most of the previous Penman books (The Sunne In Splendour and its sequels, then the Angevin trilogy) I moved on to read the two books about Richard. I couldn't put Lionheart down and expected this book to be the same, but unfortunately it wasn't. I actually put it aside twice in the early chapters - I just got so fed up reading about shipwrecks & pirates, then when they got onto terra firma it seemed to go on forever; eventually I was willing Richard to be caught so we could get on with the 'real story'. Once we got to that point I felt it got better - although I confess to 'skim reading' quite a few of the battle scenes because that's just not my thing. But the thing that really spoiled my enjoyment of this Kindle version was the amount of typing errors. Complete mistypes of words - I would have to read the sentence two or three times to get what she was trying to say (eg 'He in rich' instead of Heinrich, 'asking' instead of as King, 'there venues' instead of the revenues). The American spellings of words I could put up with, but the poor standard of typing really irritated me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The perfect companion for all historical fiction enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

Richard the Lionheart has come down through history as a figure larger than life. More hero than not his actual record as King of England is mixed but as the subject of a novel - his life is at times stranger than fiction so it makes for fascinating reading especially in the hands of a storyteller such as Ms. Penman. I've been reading her books since she started writing them and I've only missed one - the first in her Angevin trilogy, The Devil's Brood. This conclusion to that series wraps up the life of Richard quite satisfactorily.

A King's Ransom covers the period of his life as he tries to come home from his last Crusade and finds himself captured and held for a ransom that is sure to bankrupt England. But his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine will raise that ransom to rescue her favorite son. Meanwhile his brother John will do what he can to thwart Richard's return because he wants to remain in power.

Who needs fiction when the facts are so compelling? But it's the fiction that pulls it all together into a very compelling read. I do love my English history and I am never quite so happy as when I have a doorstop of a book to get lost in so with A King's Ransom I was in my glory. I will say that Richard does come across somewhat god like and I take some issue with that as I do not think he was one of England's great kings - he was hardly in England! He was though an eminently fascinating man.

The book reads very quickly and while it can stand alone I think it was helpful to me as a reader to have read Lionheart first.
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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
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 Five Stars
Out of this world
Published 9 days ago by Ian Whitehead
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Great book - Sharon Penman never disappoints
Published 14 days ago by JennyB
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A really good read
Published 1 month ago by ad
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Big book, big story, but well worth the read.
Published 2 months ago by bracken
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
My wife has not yet read it
Published 2 months ago by just Ken
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read!
Great stuff from Kay Penman, as always.

The second part of Richard Lionheart's story, it was fascinating to read. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Stella MN
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of stu fflike this
I loved the book, which was much more engaging than Lionheart. The characters were more vivid and the story more interesting, even though I know what happened. Read more
Published 3 months ago by S. C. Jenkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally enthralling
Another stunning novel from this sublime historical novelist.
Published 3 months ago by Jill Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Haven't even read it yet but I have no doubt ...
Haven't even read it yet but I have no doubt it will be as well written, engaging, educational and enthralling as Ms Penman's other novels.
Published 3 months ago by lorraine
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful!
Sharon Penman concludes her Richard I series masterfully. I have read them all and they all deserve 5 stars. Couldn't recommend her books too highly.
Published 4 months ago by King Harry Williams
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