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Shadow on the Crown (The Emma of Normandy, Book 1) (The Emma of Normandy Series) [Kindle Edition]

Patricia Bracewell
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Set in England when Vikings are on the brink of invasion, this is an epic tale of seduction, war, and unrequited love from an outstanding new voice in historical fiction

The year is 1001 and England is under threat. The air off the southern coast hangs heavy, thick with the fear of Viking sea raids.

For England’s King Æthelred the night sky is heavy with a dark portent. England’s future hangs in the balance, its path determined by a struggle for the King’s own heart. Two women – Emma, his Norman bride and Elgiva, his Anglo Saxon mistress – will stop at nothing in their battle for the King’s favour and the Queen’s Coronet. But the sky speaks of a royal death and ahead of all three is a journey fraught with danger and deception.

Product Description


‘A magnificent work of historical fiction, evoking time and place in a remarkable way’ DAILY MAIL

‘This is one of the most enthralling and captivating novels I've ever read. It truly is an epic novel. I can't wait to read the next book by this author’ KAREN MAITLAND

‘A meticulously researched, lyrically written tale which shines a sensuous light into the murkier depths of the Dark Ages’ ROBERT LOW

‘A highly entertaining addition to the historical fiction genre’ PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

‘Readers of historical sagas and romances will embrace this rich narrative’ LIBRARY JOURNAL

‘What a great book! Fascinating… a tense, exciting story’ DIANA GABALDON, author of the bestselling Outlander series

‘A well-wrought journey back to those little known times, this novel entertains while it educates’ Margaret George, bestselling author of ELIZABETH I and HELEN OF TROY

About the Author

Patricia Bracewell grew up in California where she taught literature and composition before embarking upon her writing career. She holds an MA in English Literature, but has always been fascinated by English history – an interest that led her to a brief course in Anglo-Saxon history at Downing College, Cambridge University. She has two grown-up sons, and she lives with her Canadian husband in Oakland, California.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1767 KB
  • Print Length: 529 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007481764
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (7 Feb. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008WXI0WM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #30,745 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Patricia Bracewell is a native of California where she taught literature and composition before embarking upon her writing career. A lifelong fascination with British history and a chance, on-line reference to an unfamiliar English queen led to years of research, a summer history course at Downing College, Cambridge, and the penning of her debut novel SHADOW ON THE CROWN. Set in 11th century England, SHADOW is the first book of a trilogy about Emma of Normandy who was a queen in England and a power behind the throne for nearly four decades. Patricia is working on the two follow-up novels in the series, but takes time out for tennis, gardening and travel. She is the mother of two grown sons and lives with her husband in Northern California. Visit her website at

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By M. K. Burton VINE VOICE
Emma of Normandy never suspects that she'll be married before her sister - or that she'll be sent north to England to wed King Ethelred, an aging monarch who disdains her immediately on her arrival. Emma's life on arrival in England is far from what she thinks a marriage should be like. Her husband doesn't respect her and she misses her family and all that is familiar from home. Worse, her husband's seven children stand between her offspring and the throne of England. But Emma soon realizes that the only power she or her children will ever have is that she can seize herself, and the sooner the better.

Queen Emma is a fascinating historical figure. I've spent a small amount of time studying her life, though not in any great detail, enough to know what generally happened to her. It wasn't long before I realized that Shadow on the Crown was covering only a tiny fraction of her life, because it went into much greater detail and imagined things I'd never considered before about the start of her life. While this part is often skimmed over in favor of her later life, I was riveted by Bracewell's narrative and re-imagining of Emma's young married life. I want to emphasize that a lot of this is imagining, and Bracewell includes the very useful author's note so we can see where she's changed history to better suit her narrative.

As I would have imagined, really, life in a foreign land as depicted here isn't easy, especially when Emma is descended from England's enemies, the Vikings. The Vikings were a scourge on England's coast throughout Ethelred's reign, so it's no surprise that her relations to them cause distrust and unhappiness - even more so when a young, foreign queen marries an older king and ruins the chances for English women.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strong and courageous Queen... 8 Feb. 2013
By jaffareadstoo TOP 500 REVIEWER
Medieval England in 1001 is disrupted not just by the power and might of the marauding Danes who seek to invade this prosperous country, but also by the volatile and unpredictable nature of its ruling King. When the Danish leader, Swein Forkbeard attempts to negotiate a truce with the ruling powers across the narrow sea in Normandy, the English king, Æthelred, in desperation, agrees to marry Richard of Normandy's fifteen year old sister Emma, in return for Richard's sporadic protection against the Danes. However, Æthelred is a King with a notorious reputation, and Emma's marriage to this volatile and troubled king is unhappy and fraught with danger, but Emma is a strong and courageous Queen who is determined to fight for what is rightfully hers as an anointed Queen of England.

Shadow on the Crown is the first book in a proposed trilogy about Emma of Normandy, and is a well written and easily readable account of this troubled period in England's history. The author has used accurate historical evidence to support her story from the Anglo-Saxon chronicles, and it is this authenticity which adds a blend of realism to a story of political intrigue and sexual skulduggery. There is immense sympathy throughout the novel for the plight of this young and inexperienced Queen and with great insight the author has combined this largely forgotten period of England's history with a fascinating account of the vagaries of life in a medieval court.

Quite rightly, the conclusion of the book lends itself perfectly to the continuation of the story and I am sure that this series will go from strength to strength as the story progresses.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding historical fiction 12 Sept. 2013
One of the key events of the decades leading up to William of Normandy's transformation from Bastard to Conqueror was the slaughter of Danish settlers by the citizens of English towns, incited by King Aethelred, on St Brice's Day in 1002. This massacre, or rather the crisis that provoked it, lies at the heart of Shadow on the Crown. But, refreshingly and completely effectively, the tale is told not from the point of view of soldiers or kings, although we watch their actions, but from that of Aethelred's second wife and only queen, Emma of Normandy.

England at the turn of the 11th century was no easy to place to be, what with the constant threat of invading armies from the north and south, the drain of paying off Danes to stay away, and rivalry closer to home, especially between Wessex and Mercia, but also even within families, between brothers. If you were a woman then it would have been especially hard. A discarded wife or an unwanted daughter or niece could simply disappear from the historical record, consigned to a convent at best but quite possibly to a far worse fate. Emma, a child, is sent far from home, married to Aethelred, an aggressive, harried man, a king, many years her senior, and becomes stepmother to a host of strong sons, all of whom would be displaced if she were to bear a son. Unusually for a queen, Emma prays for a daughter.

The hostility between Wessex and Mercia is manifested in the novel by the rivalry between Emma and the young beauty Elgiva, daughter of the house of Mercia, whose sole mission is to enchant Aethelred or one of his sons into her bed. Her father might label her a whore for it but he has no hesitation in pushing her on. Emma, and any son she might bear, stands in the way of Elgiva's ambitions.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars but i have read many books by Sharon Penman and i guess have been...
I was very dissappointed with this book: although i have read widely with regards to the Tudor era, i had little knowledge of this period of English history. Read more
Published 1 day ago by M. Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent read
Published 14 days ago by JENNIFER MARY INKSTER
5.0 out of 5 stars Shadow on the Crown (The Emma of Normand Trilogy).
I have read both the Shadow on the Crown and The Price of Blood and would recommend them to anybody who enjoys Sharon Penman and Elizabeth Chadwick. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Benmaric
5.0 out of 5 stars loved gthis book it was interesting as well as having ...
loved gthis book it was interesting as well as having a good story line . look forward to the next one
Published 1 month ago by R. Wilkes
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and gripping!
Really well written and holds your attention for a very dark period of our history. Was not very keen on Queen Emma, but much more sympathetic now!
Published 1 month ago by catlover1
3.0 out of 5 stars ... novel did not have the excitement that I usually enjoy as with the...
The novel did not have the excitement that I usually enjoy as with the Elizabeth Chadwick. I surpose this is because there are no written accounts of the period .. Read more
Published 1 month ago by John. Maloney
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a bodice ripper therefore not my thing ...
A bit of a bodice ripper therefore not my thing. Too many anachronisms and the period was not evoked sufficiently to hold my interest
Published 2 months ago by Mrs J Beattie
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best historical novels I have ever read!
This is an enthralling and captivating story of the early years of Emma of Normandy who was the mother of Edward the Confessor. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Tina Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent novel!
Published 5 months ago by M. J. Brookbank
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellently written novel about the less well-known Emma of ...
An excellently written novel about the less well-known Emma of Normandy and the hardships of her life. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.
Published 7 months ago by ANDREA SHAW
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