This is the first book the Sharon Penman's Anglo-Welsh trilogy - and weighing in at around 800 pages for this volume alone, it's not a venture to be undertaken lightly! I have already read Penman's excellent The Sunne in Splendour and the first Justin de Quincy mystery, The Queen's Man, so I had a pretty good idea of the quality of writing I would be in for, and I was not disappointed! I am not so familiar with the historical period covered here and particularly with Welsh politics, but Penman is a skilled storyteller and really manages to bring the period to life. Her characters are well-drawn using historical sources and you really care about what happens. I thought the typically wicked King John was handled particularly well. I am always appreciative of the historical note at the end to explain her decisions and where Penman tells us which characters she has introduced with no historical basis, but to help the narrative. I had a pretty shrewd guess, but feel this decision needs no apologies! And yes, I did spot the Tudor connection and felt just a little smug about it! The only thing I thought that might have been helpful would have been a list of Dramatis Personae, if you will, as there are a lot of characters and unfamiliar names, and this could maybe have helped to sort them out as sometimes I got a little confused, even though I read this in about 4 days. Now I'm off to order the other two books in the trilogy - don't be afraid to do the same!