"John, watching in dismay, saw his great chance slipping through his fingers, and he swung around to demand of his father, "Papa, does this mean Richard has bested you and Aquitaine is lost?" Eleanor winced, Geoffrey rolled his eyes, and Henry gave his youngest a look John had never gotten from him before. "My life would have been much more peaceful if I'd had only daughters," he snapped. "As for Aquitaine, it is yours if you can take it."
Third part of SKP's ever growing 'Plantagenets' series and the final one dealing with the Middle Ages power couple, Henry Fitz Empress and Eleanor of Aquitane.
Henry returns from a self-imposed exile in Ireland after the murder of Thomas Becket to more trouble than even the rebellious Archbishop gave him - this time it comes from within his own family - his wife and sons.
The king had his oldest son crowned in his own lifetime and others come into their inheritance, gaining money and supporters, which turn out to be a fatal miscalculation. Added to that is king Henry's stubbornness, inability to relinquish control and to see another's point of view - it's a recipe for disaster.
This is my favourite book in the series so far. There's never a dull moment, always something happening, usually some disaster, and the characters are quite unforgettable - I especially liked the "kids" - Hal, fun-loving and impressionable; Richard, fearless, with an infernal temper; Geoffrey, smart and calculating; and John, a quiet boy who's never known mother's love. And offcourse, wee Joanna.
As always, there are glimpses into Medieval life and culture through the eyes of minor characters and too many deaths guaranteed to break the reader's heart.