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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
91
4.6 out of 5 stars
When Christ and His Saints Slept (Eleanor of Aquitaine Trilogy 1)
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on 6 September 2017
I bought the paper back of this book when it was first published and have enjoyed reading it many times. Unfortunately my eye sight is not as good now and have not been able to read it for many years. What a joy it has been to be able to read it again on Kindle. Miss Penman's beautiful writing covers this dreadful period of our history known as The Anarchy with such obvious research and has made it so interesting. I still feel so sorry for The Empress. She was a very much misunderstood person and her one fault seems that she was born a woman. Everyone took a risk with Stephen who was a lovely man, a brilliant battle commander but a terrible king. Surely Maude could not have done worse, but she was never given the chance. So many dead, so much blood which lasted for almost 19 years. Everything fell apart for Maude after the death of her beloved Robert. She returned to Rouen and continued to fight for Henry. This book finishes with Henry and Eleanor still very much in love and with a young family and the majority of their long, turbulent lives in front of them. Although Eleanor had times when she didn't like Henry very much, I don't think she ever stopped loving him. Can not wait to reread the next book. A great book, beautifully written.
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on 12 October 2017
Again Sharon Penman brings to life the story and clash of wiles of Stephen and Matilda as they vie for control of Norman England. Both struggle to hold onto power and unleash misery and heartache on the people as they fight each other through the years. Matilda was the legitimate successor to her father Henry 1st but at the time a woman was not considered strong enough to rule so her cousin Stephen sized power before she could return to England and got his hands on the treasury giving him the resources to bribe and pay for support. However Matilda was not to be put off and fought him every inch of the way. The author conveys the rich tapestry of life in Norman England and brings the characters to life as they weave in and out of the story. It lives up to its title.
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on 27 May 2014
What a fantastic read! Medieval life in all of its glory (if that is the correct word). How can one review, as an ordinary reader, such a magnificent and erudite tome? The detail is outstanding and all-encompassing. I would not presume to say nothing but you MUST READ THIS BOOK. You will not regret the time.
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on 2 July 2017
The book came well wrapped and very clean, I must add I dont like dirty paper.of any kind, I suppose by now the huge amount of books that
I've ordered you will realise it's going to take me some time to get through them all Thankyou Roger Alden.
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on 31 August 2017
Great read
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on 25 June 2017
Gripping read, is well written and filled in lots of gaps in my knowledge of King Stephen's rise and fall.
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on 26 July 2017
Well written. Sharon brings the historical to life and has me absorbed and eager to see what happens next.
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on 17 April 2017
Wonderful. Am on my third time of reading it !
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on 14 March 2017
While I much enjoyed The Sunne in Splendour, I found this book difficult to read and believe in. The characters seemed like pastiches - modern masks on medieval faces don't work at all for me. The introduction of new historical personages was somewhat chaotic and confusing. The author's language at times was sloppy and incredible ... as a previous reviewer mentioned, the inclusion of 'certes' at the end of sentences was inaccurate and annoying.
I did not feel the author's interest in the main characters, as I did in 'The Sunne ..' therefore the book seemed somewhat stagnant and undynamic. I have the other books in the Eleanor trilogy and can only hope that they read better than this one.
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on 30 January 2007
truly a time when Christ and his Saints slept. A fascinating, complicated tale with a huge cast of characters, many with similar names. It was hard to keep track of at times, a list of who's who at the front of the book would have been helpful, as SKP did in the next book, Time and Chance.

The characters were well written, and I appreciated that neither Stephen (who did steal the crown) nor Maude were written as black and white/evil vs. saint -- all had flaws in their characters. Adding the fictional Ranulf gave a nice perspective to the tale. I also appreciated the way the author brought us the viewpoints of the common folk, who didn't care who ruled, as long as there was peace.

The first 2/3 of the book are mostly about the civil conflict between the two parties and can drag on a bit, but the last part when Henry started coming into power and married Eleanor of Aquitaine the sparks were fairly flying off the pages. I am now starting on Time and Chance and eagerly awaiting more on this dynamic pair.

As I said, a great book to read. It isn't quite Here be Dragons, et al but enjoyable all the same.
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