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A King's Ransom Hardcover – 13 Mar 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Main Market Ed. edition (13 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230768059
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230768055
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 5.4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 219,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Praise for "A King's Ransom" ""A King's Ransom "[is] historical fiction of the first order, a narrative synthesis of the royal marriages and petty rivalries, the personal slights and gestures of loyalty, the grand deeds and simple twists of fate that shape events . . . Instead of history that reads like a novel, Penman achieves something greater: a novel that reads like history."--"Willamette Week" "Penman's long-awaited sequel to her book "Lionheart" covers the last seven years of Richard's life. There's betrayal, war, illness and intrigue....She includes everyday details that get you right into the story . . . once you start reading you won't want to stop."--"British Weekly" "A panoramic retelling of the tumultuous last years of Richard the Lionheart's life . . . Penman has absorbed herself so fully into the heart and mind of her protagonist that an undeniably flawed but refreshingly human Richard virtually walks off the pages. This atmospheric fictional biography showcases the author's mastery of all things medieval while providing some refreshingly new twists on the life and times of a hallowed hero."--"Booklist" "Detailed down to the last flagon of wine, Penman's work will please serious fans of historical fiction. . . Characters rise from the pages--Richard, brave warrior, skilled diplomat; Heinrich, "If he were cut, he'd bleed ice"; the mercenary Mercadier; and multitudes more. Seven years of sieges and battles, confrontations in castles and on horseback are lovingly detailed. . . Penman's latest is a massively entertaining work of historical fiction for dedicated fans." --"Kirkus Reviews" Praise for Sharon Kay Penman "Sharon Kay Penman transcends beloved-author status: among lovers of historical fiction, she is cherished." --"BookPage" "Always happy to read a new Sharon Kay Penman novel: "Lionheart," set during the Crusades, brings both Richard and Saladin to vivid life."--Nancy Pearl "The gr

Book Description

The sequel to Lionheart, completing the story of Richard I

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I don't think it's any secret that I'm a huge Penman fan (or Penmenian as my good friend J calls it), and I was thrilled to spot this on the Vine newsletter and get an early shot at it.

This is a difficult book to review, since those who are familiar with Richard's history don't need another rehash, and those fresh to the story don't need me spilling the beans. And trust me, there are plenty of surprises to be had, even for those who think they know about Richard being held hostage and his troubles with the French king and his younger brother John.

That pretty much leaves me to discussing MY reading experience, and all I can say is WOW. I was gripped on the first pages with the cat and mouse came of getting home from crusade and trying to avoid the snares set to capture him. While I was aware that Richard had spent time in Germany as a hostage, there was much more to the story, and I was fascinated watching how that experience changed him and how he interacted with others in his life, especially his marriage to Berengeria. I loved his sarcastic nature (he gets some of the best dialogue!) when it was directed towards younger brother John and Philippe Capet (the French king). And speaking of Richard's younger brother John, some of my favorite moments were the family Christmas celebrations and watching him trolling the room for gossip and mischief. I so wish I could quote some of it. It doesn't get better than that.

While this book is a follow up to Lionheart, IMHO it can be read as a stand-alone, and another thumbs up to the author for getting the reader up to speed on previous events without the use of tedious info dumps. I also appreciated how Raimond was used to get the reader up to speed with the Cathar religion, and why the Catholic church was so set against it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Every reviewer so far has given this latest instalment in Sharon Penman's mighty Plantagenet saga five stars, and I can understand why. This is an author in a league of her own.
She's been my favourite historical novelist from the moment I came across Here be Dragons in the library and raced through it over a lost weekend. But ever since the follow-up to the magnificent When Christ and His Saints Slept (Eleanor of Aquitaine Trilogy 1), she's been writing a different sort of book. In previous reviews I've called them fictional chronicles, and I have to admit that I find them a bit of a slog.
Her novels were always weighty but never dull. She managed to re-create and interpret historical events intelligently and in meticulous detail, while telling a hugely entertaining tale: the backgrounds may have been sweeping, but the individual stories were personal and touching. The icing on the cake was her creation of some of the most vivid characters in historical fiction - a romantic view of their emotions and relationships, perhaps, but always believable, and totally compelling.
Nowadays, her determination to give us an exhaustive account of every event is admirable, but it's at the expense of things like structure, drama and empathy. Although she still rises to the occasion when necessary - Richard's trial at Speyer is a dramatic highlight, and her deathbed scenes rarely leave me dry-eyed - there's far too much clunky and repetitive exposition.
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Format: Hardcover
A book by Sharon Penman is always eagerly looked forward to, at least by me and a myriad of other readers. The author's books are up there with the best historical fiction writers of today. If however, you are expecting a couple of hundred pages and a lightweight or easy reading storyline then Sharon Penman is probably not the author for you. Most of her books are heavyweight (in volume, not in content), as in this book, that runs to several hundred pages and is the sequel to the excellent Lionheart

Sharon Penman's attention, not only to detail, but also to historical accuracy is as good as anyone writing today. She has the ability to bring the period of history she is writing about to life for the reader. At the same time she writes in a style that is never boring. No long passages, or chapters that could safely be left out of the book without the story suffering. Everything in the book is there for a reason, to add to the enjoyment of the reader. A style that some lesser author's could learn from.

This book concentrates on the protracted return of the Lionheart from the Holy Land, becoming shipwrecked in the Mediterranean and his subsequent capture by the Duke of Austria. Further to his incarceration his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine begins to raise the ransom needed for Richard's release, with little or no help from her younger son, the infamous John. The English people in general are loathe to part with the taxes being raised to free a King who has barely set foot on English soil during his reign. Eleanor will not be denied and moves heaven and earth to free her favourite son.

The story is a well documented one, and has been told many times, but rarely with the aplomb shown by the author. A terrific read, and one that should not be missed by all those who love historical fiction.
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