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Lionheart [Hardcover]

Sharon Kay Penman
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, 4 Oct 2011 --  
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Book Description

4 Oct 2011
The epic story of heroic yet controversial Richard Lionheart from the bestselling author
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 594 pages
  • Publisher: Marian Wood Book (4 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399157859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399157851
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 16.5 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 854,275 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.

Product Description


"The great Crusader king Richard the Lionheart comes alive in all his complex splendor in this masterpiece of a medieval tapestry by Sharon Kay Penman. She brings him and his legendary enemy, Saladin, before us, both on the battlefield for Jerusalem and in the quiet of their private chambers. It's as if you were there, in this strange, beguiling, vanished time that haunts the Middle East even today. Penman has triumphed in capturing its elusive essence and the blazing glory of the English king called Lionheart." -Margaret George, author of "Elizabeth I: A Novel" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Richard I was crowned King in 1189 and set off almost immediately for the Third Crusade. This was a bloody campaign to regain the Holy Land, marked by internecine warfare among the Christians and extraordinary campaigns against the Saracens. Men and women found themselves facing new sorts of challenges and facing an uncertain future. John, the youngest son, was left behind – and with Richard gone, he was free to conspire with the French king to steal his brother's throne. Overshadowing the battlefields that stretched to Jerusalem and beyond were the personalities of two great adversaries: Richard and Saladin. They quickly took the measure of each other in both war and diplomacy. The result was mutual admiration: a profound acknowledgement of a worthy opponent. In this gripping narrative of passion, intrigue, battle and deceit, Penman reveals a true and complex Richard – a man remarkable for his power and intelligence, his keen grasp of warfare and his concern for the safety of his men, who followed him against all odds. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Richard the (slightly mangy) Lionheart 25 Feb 2013
By EleanorB TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have always enjoyed a Sharon Penman dip into the early Middle Ages in the company of the vibrant Plantagenet characters who populated the ruling classes in those days. Richard's story is another interesting part of that panoply, but to be honest I feel she would have been happier writing a factual chronicle of his life and not a fiction. The third crusade was clearly a disaster from start to finish, costing the lives of many on both sides for very little actual gain. Richard himself is one of those unreachable, unreadable characters. An enigma in his own time, a fearsome and fearless soldier, but less good on the diplomatic front and prone to either trusting the wrong people, or falling out with the wrong people. The strong woman in his life is his mother, the amazing Eleanor of Aquitaine (whom Penman has developed brilliantly in earlier work), not his naive and clingy wife and although Penman tries for a shedload of male bonding, Richard refuses to play ball. Do his men universally love him, or do they just tolerate him because they have to!? Does he care more for his own quest for Jerusalem, than for his remote English kingdom (which after all is funding these adventures to a large extent) and is he actually more at war with the French King, Philip, than with Saladin? Penman has woven a pleasing narrative around these questions, but not the most engaging one, although the tortuous factional politics and petty feuding between the supposed crusading allies, are well drawn. Penman also has a particular talent for writing fight scenes, capturing the claustrophobic and brutal horrors of the medieval battlefield.

This being the case, although the novel is well written as is all Penman's material, it is not up there with her best.
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79 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent - historical fiction at its best 28 Mar 2012
The works of Sharon Kay Penman are close to my heart - Here be Dragons is one of my favourite historical novels and I hold it responsible for my fascination with the 12th century (and I'm no medievalist). Penman's books are rich, long and full of flavour for the past. Their reading is not to be rushed, it should be dallied over, and so it's not surprising that their writing is equally painstaking and the publication of a new novel is an event. Lionheart is the latest, the first of two novels on Richard I (reigned 1189-1199), arguably the most fantastical of England's kings and certainly its most charismatic.

Sharon Kay Penman states that she had preconceived ideas about Richard - his unsuitability for kingship, his irresponsibility and arrogance, and his disregard for England - but that through her research for the other Plantagenet novels, she came to see another Richard: the Lionheart who inspired his men, thousands of miles from home, who shared their suffering and dreams, who fought bravely, with a realistic strategy, and who, after all, was never an Englishman. While Penman accedes that Richard was, or became, a bad husband and that his heart wasn't in England but in Aquitaine and on the battlefields of the Holy Land, she presents here the Lionheart that his men and family knew, not the one that history condemns. It's refreshing to find him both flawed and very likeable.

Lionheart covers the Third Crusade, which was far from glorious.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More of a Romance novel than Historical Fiction 25 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoy books about this period of history, but I couldn't help thinking that this one was having trouble making up its mind whether to be a historical fiction or a romance story. Just when historical developments seemed to me moving along, I suddenly found myself reading about intimate moments about the characters that I found unnecessary to the story.

Despite all that, I found Richard's character interesting in places and some of the ways in which he liked to get away with things politically were amusing. I just wish that aspect of the story had more prevalence over some of the female characters' sex lives or concern with impending sex as a result of marriage. Berenguela (Richard's wife) was a likeable character and the most individual of the female characters. The others, though there were four more primary female characters that might have been developed further, seemed very similar to each other. They talked the same, all had similar inner strength... you get the picture. The whole story was weak on characterisation, though the potential was there. More effort towards showing their personalities rather than how much blood was on the sheets would have made for a better story.

I felt the story became more focused as it progressed and the historical events rang true, though I haven't checked them. I found that my interest varied in this story. Sometimes it would be drawing me in for a couple of chapters, then it would wander off and break the flow of events.

Two things *really* bothered me about it. One was the frequent use of the phrase "for certs" (short for 'for certain') in the dialogue. It's a modernism that according to several sources (yes, I did look this one up) originated in the nineteenth century.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous historical fiction
One of my favourite historic novels and once started I find it hard to put it down. Well researched and written, the writer takes the reader into the heat and desert of Outremer,... Read more
Published 2 days ago by J. Tye
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! An insight into the Medieval world and of ...
Brilliant! An insight into the Medieval world and of a unique king. I just could not put this book down!
Published 5 days ago by Denise Young
5.0 out of 5 stars a new insight
At last Richard is made "human" not just a killing machine but a man with feelings and friends as well as relations. I'm looking forward to reading a kings ransom.
Published 6 days ago by debbie croad
5.0 out of 5 stars "Poisoned with petty rivalries, personal ambitions, and shameful...
Past readers of Penman will know that she writes detailed, meticulous history with a fine eye for the politics of the period. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Roman Clodia
5.0 out of 5 stars Have read some of Sharon Penman's historical novels, I ...
Have read some of Sharon Penman's historical novels, I think I actually fell for Richard the man. Thank you, Sharon, for a truly exceptional story.
Published 1 month ago by doreen Isabel Lynch
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 1 month ago by C. Wild
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Well researched.
Published 1 month ago by Ann Murkin
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed Lionheart, travelling with Richard on Crusade was an ...
Medieval history is my passion, Alienor de Aquitaine was my heroine when I was at school/college and now I live in the Aquitaine ! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. Patricia Barrington
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Found it a bit hard going to start with, but when I got into it, really enjoyed it an unusual historical book
Published 2 months ago by Jula B
5.0 out of 5 stars Crusades come to life
At first I worried that the size of the book might be too much but was so pleased to find that first thought was so wrong. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Historical Jude
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