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Falls the Shadow Paperback – 6 Jul 1989


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Paperback, 6 Jul 1989
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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (6 July 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014011324X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140113242
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By laineyf TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 April 2003
Format: Paperback
I love Sharon Penman. She writes fantastic, well-researched, human history. This is just such a book. It tells the story of Simon de Montfort, and how he shaped the history of England. He was a strong, passionate man, who had total belief in his God, and his destiny, which was to change the way that England was ruled. It also tells the story of Llewelyn ap Gruffyd, the Welsh Prince, and his struggles to make Wales one kingdom. This book is exciting, never boring, happy, ultimately heart-crushingly sad, and most of all, thought-provoking. Simon was married to Nell, sister of Henry, King of England, who was a weak man, unfit for the role of King. They had a brood of sons, all of whom played their part in their fathers' fate. It is a tale of treachery, betrayal, love, passion, politics, and the ability of one man to rouse such emotions in the hearts of many, that they would follow him, to certain death, and defy their King for his sake. Simon's fate is appallingly cruel, making you realise just how callous medieval times were. I cried my eyes out at the end of this book, and can't help but draw comparisons between Simon de Montfort and Richard III. Their destinies were so very similar, and so very cruelly ended. I have read all of Sharon Penmans' books, and love them all. This is a fantastic book. Forget the stuff we learnt at school, these books should be part of a history lesson, and then more of us would be fascinated by history. It has everything you could wish for, and I found it impossible to put down until the very end. Read it, but keep the tissues handy.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By R. Hawker on 12 Aug 2002
Format: Paperback
In Comparison with many other historical authors, Sharon Penman, stands clearly in the upper echelon. An absolutely captivating book, that entwined itself far into my dreamscape, once I'd begrudgingly succumbed to droopy eyelids each night! You do not have to be to be a history buff to enjoy this novel, as with any good author you will find yourself learning at different levels as you go. Where there are insufficient historical records, the authors imagination fills the gaps with an intelligent and captivating approach.
May Simon be long remembered, he goes a long way in redeeming the De Montfort name from the evil his father wreaked during the Albigenisian crusades.
One parting thought ... All Polticians should be made to read this novel, and take a test, thus proving they have respect and love for the power they are due to be entrusted with!( rather like their immigration tests !) ...mind you with voter turn outs as they have been of recent, maybe it's just time for another revolution...........
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 April 2000
Format: Paperback
Having never been remotely interested in history, I was unimpressed when this book was recommended to me. However, having only read the Prologue I was immediately gripped. A superb storyteller, Penman pads out actual historical events with her own interpretation in a way that makes you care about people that have died centuries ago. Upon completing the book, I even visited Simon DeMontfort's grave in Evesham ! The 2nd of a fabulous trilogy (Here Be Dragons and The Reckoning either side) this is one of my favourite books of all time (and believe me, I've read a few) ! History should be taught like this in schools. So come on back to 13th Century England and join me as a lifelong member of the Simon DeMontfort Fan Club !
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ExecBum on 22 Oct 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been enjoying Penman's books since I first read Sunne in Splendour last year and I am no less impressed with this book. I started the series a few weeks ago with Here Be Dragons on the recommendation of several reviewers on here and I wasn't disappointed. Each book in the series has kept me glued. The characters are well-written and the plot takes so many twists and turns that I found it hard to put the book down even for a few minutes to cook dinner. I have just finished The Reckoning and I'm now scratching around to find more by Penman available on Kindle. In short, I would highly recommend this book for lovers of historical fiction.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 25 Nov 2005
Format: Paperback
1231-1267. I liked this one more even more than the two books which precede this one chronologically. Since my family have strong links with Kenilworth, Simon de Montford’s main castle, he has always been a name bandied around the house but until now I didn’t know anything about him. Ms Penman makes him out to be a man of our time believing in democracy for the people. I thought she might be romanticising her character for the sake of a good read but having surfed the net I find that she has just put her inimitable stamp on what turns out to be the accepted view of Simon de Montford as the “father of Parliament”. I am glad I know more about Simon de Montford and I’m glad it was Sharon Penman who introduced me to him. I too will now read more about him and since my family are still in the locality I shall be visiting Evesham and seeing Kenilworth castle in a new light. I wish I lived in the locality as the Simon de Montford Society based in Evesham seems to have a very interesting programme of monthly events this year!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jana L. Perskie on 28 Feb 2005
Format: Paperback
Sharon Kay Penman is a remarkably gifted writer. Her impeccable historical research, attention to detail and superb storytelling ability make her novels consistently excellent. "Falls The Shadow" is one of her best efforts. It is the third book in her Plantagenet series, which began with "The Sunne In Splendour," followed by "Here Be Dragons," and ending with "The Reckoning."
Simon de Montfort was a nobleman from France, whose family, (originally English-Norman), had been disinherited by King John. A young man in his mid-twenties, he returned to England in 1232 seeking restitution of his family lands from King Henry III, John's son. He wound up marrying Henry's sister, Eleanor Plantagenet and risking the King's and Church's wrath by doing so. De Montfort, who became Earl of Leicester, was a warrior, great leader and politician. He despised Henry III for his incompetence and the favoritism he displayed for the foreigners in his court. Henry was bankrupting England and estranging the peerage. Far ahead of his time, Simon de Montfort also espoused the idea that the common man deserved a voice in government. England was on the verge of civil war as factions split between Henry and his son and heir Edward. The collision of blood ties, politics and war, shifting allegiances, along with the pageantry and drama of life in the Middle Ages, make this novel hard to put down.
Intertwined with the story of Simon de Montfort is that of Welsh Prince Llewelyn Farr, who united the Welsh nobility against the English. Wales was also in a state of civil unrest at the time, as Llewelyn had just died and his sons were fighting for leadership and power, thereby losing everything their father had gained to the English.
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