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Here There Be Dragons Paperback – 15 Apr 1998
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Things I liked-
I love that she chose an extremely interesting, but not commonly referenced period and place (12th & 13th century Wales and England). God save me from ANOTHER book on the Tudors... I thought my self well read, and well-versed in English history but quickly realized I am neither and appreciated the history lesson in the form of a truly entertaining novel.
Liked the use of period words. Thank goodness for the Kindle edition though, since Penman constantly uses obscure Medieval words (and obscure modern words my hsband did not even know). Although I actually appreciate expanding my vocabulary some people may find it distracting. I also was not bothered by the use of period language as some people were ("mayhap" this and "for certes" that). For me, it makes for a richer more believable novel. I was frankly more distracted with her occasional use of very modern words and analogies since I could not envision the characters speaking that way.
Her research was amazing. I love historical fiction and believe her trilogy to be some of the finest I've ever read. Every time I wondered whether an event really happened and went online to check it out- yep, sure enough it had! Unfortunately I also spoiled the ending of not one, but all three books with my online research since she so closely follows actual events. I came to love some of the characters so much I HAD to know what happened to them. Trust me- don't do that, just read her books.
Could the character development have been better? Possibly, but each book is over 700 pages. She chose to tackle a complex period, with many interesting people involved. I think she did an admirable job of portraying that world and the people in it. Rather than spending hundreds of pages developing a single character she gives us a glimpse into the main characters' background, and let's us infer from the information she provides possibly why they make the decisions they do later on. I think her books are more on the historical side of historical fiction, than the fiction side. By that I mean she seemed more interested in portraying the history, less so in character development, although I personally did not find fault with it.
Length of the books. Normally I'm disappointed in books I love because they are too short. Her are just right- long enough to be very satisfying, but don't drag on for an eternity. (George RR Martin, anyone?)
Things I didn't like-
Haha, can't really think of anything but if I do I'll update my review. I'm reading the trilogy over again so maybe I'll find something. I'm sure my husband would say he's sick of hearing about 12th and 13th century Wales, so I guess there's that. :-)
I don't often get so involved with a character in a book that I shed tears when that character dies on the pages. And I've cried several times reading this series. I love the way the author completes each character, showing the good side, as well as the bad, she has no favorites, but then neither does fate. From Llewelyn and Joanna, to Simon and Nell, I feel like I was there, in the cleaner world of the 12 century, the birds, the sky, the rivers, and mountains, all so crisp and clear.
Every time I finish a book, I am reluctant to start another, for fear that because favorite characters have passed from the story, I will have a hard time starting the next one, but the transitions are smooth and easy to slip into.
I have the book in hardbook, paperback, Kindle app and Nook app!!!
I've read Here Be Dragons at least once a year for the past 20 years - so often, that my book feel apart and I had to buy a new one.
It is one of the most beautiful love stories I've ever read and it's one of the most interesting historical fictions I've ever read. The combination is a rare find indeed.
I fall in love with Llywelyn every time I read this book. Ms Penman has created a real historical figure who is courageous, valorous, a wonderful leader of men who has the rare ability to laugh at himself.... and he's capable of great love. Oh my, be still my heart.
The book's historical underpinnings are Llywelln's rise to power to become the Prince of Wales and his war with John "Of Evil Fame" who just happens to be his wife's father. We see Eleanor of Aquataine in all her power and John's evolution as the King of England.
The book takes two great stories and makes England's history in the 13th century come alive. I think all of Sharon Kay Penman's books are wonderful (except for the last one "Lion Heart" which has no heart), but Here Be Dragons tops the list. (It could be that it is the only one of her books which has a happy ending.) I really think that George R R Martin took a cue from Penman's historically accurate middle ages and thus felt he had a justifiable historical basis for killing off all his heroes.