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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 10 July 2014
I absolutely love Sharon Penman's books, and have them in paperback, but also, in Kindle, apart from Time and Chance, and am wondering why this is not available in Kindle. Does anyone know? I would be grateful if anyone can help. thank you.
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When I was studying for my Masters degree I studied in some detail the feud between Henry II and Thomas Becket. Therefore I was extremely interested to see how Sharon Penman dealt with it. I have to say that I wasn't disappointed. I have greatly enjoyed all of Ms Penman's novels, and am well aware of the great research she does - she always seems truly to understand the Medieval mind. "Time and Chance" is well-written, and she manages to colour her characters in such a way that we can feel sympathetic to them all - there are no black and white characters, just as there aren't in real life. You can love Henry and Eleanor equally (although I sense that Eleanor is Ms Penman's favourite); you can understand Becket's position while still seeing how he frustrates and angers Henry.
All in all, a superb historical novel. It's one that I'm more than happy to pick up time and again.
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on 20 June 2015
This is an amazing book written about a time which gets alot less notice than other period. Sharon Penman is a complete genius and I devour everything she has every written. I was supposed to be saving this for our holiday but I couldn't wait.
It is a compelling love story which goes wrong in the most spectacular fashion. Penman's characters are rounded, believable and you find yourself routing for them even if you know the outcome. Her fiction is always well researched and that makes it plausible for the reader.
Ensure you read the first in the series and then follow up with this one.
Give yourself a treat.
Wonderful if you enjoy Phillipa Gregory period books like the White Queen and Red Queen.
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I always look forward to a Sharon Penman novel that I have not read before. This one kept me interested throughout the book. She has the ability to make the reader feel they are there with the characters, no mean feat.

The story is about the turbulent relationship between Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Starting in 1156 the couple have been married for four years. The birth of their sons has ensured the succession to the throne, but civil war has seen the country torn apart.

Henry needs to defend the borders of England against France and Wales, but his most daunting task is his fight with the church to stop them from infringing on his power.

This conflict culminates with his one time friend Thomas Becket, whom Henry has made Archbishop of Canterbury, being murdered in Canterbury Cathedral. (Something that is probably burned on the mind of school children throughout England).

Sharon Penman is not a prolific writer, which is understandable considering the amount of research that must go into each of her books. This book stands out among historical novels.
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on 25 January 2014
I have waited for this book on Kindle for two years, so in the end I bought the paperback. After reading 'Saints' many years ago I couldn't wait the next instalment and the wait was worth it. Sharon Penman, for me, is one of the finest historical novelists. She breathes life into all her characters. Her notes at the beginning shows how much research she has actually carried out, who existed and who didn't. This took Eleanor's story from early wife and mother into her later life when she feels Henry has fallen out of love with her and will not use her superior mind, instead turning to Thomas Becket and eventually, Rosamund de Clifford. The final instalment, Devil's Brood, will be on my kindle very shortly and I can not wait for it. Excellent read, thoroughly enjoyed it. Sharon Penman is brilliant.
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on 6 March 2004
Again Sharon Penman had me gripped rom start to finish in this excellent sequel to very very good When Christ and His Saints Slept. History is brought back to life in this book with the vivid recollection of Henry II's and Eleanor of Aquitines lives juring the middle portion of one of our most colourful Kings reins. The previous reviewer called this book boring.. i have to disagree strongly. It may not have the colourful battle scenes depicted when Henry's mother was constantly at war with King Stephen Ist, but thats the way history goes. In the first book Emporess Maud and Henry took the Crown with force. This one is more about the King using his political might over the sword with the church and state. Wheres the next book!!!!!!
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on 16 March 2015
I bought this book years ago when it was published. Been a Penman fan for 25 years now, beautifully crafted books, so much detail and a joy to immerse yourself in another time and place for a few hours. Don't just buy this book, buy them all!!!!!
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on 23 August 2013
`Time and Chance' follows on from `When Chris and His Saints Slept' left off, with the kingship of Henry II from 1156 to 1171. The book chronicles the difficulties Henry encounters, often from mistakes he makes, from installing Rosamund at Woodstock to waging war on Wales. Undoubtedly the main tale of the book is the fractured friendship and feud between Henry and his chameleon-like Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, setting the scene for betrayal, drama and passions running very high.

The scope of research and detail gone into recreating the medieval world was breathtaking. The gradually widening rift between Henry and his queen was very interesting and sad to read, especially as I could pick up all the poisonous seeds Henry was sowing for his future relations with his sons. The meeting of Rosamund Clifford and the pregnant Queen Eleanor was completely riveting along with the reunion between Henry and Eleanor afterwards - I couldn't believe that he had read her so wrong! The scene of Thomas Becket's martyrdom totally gripped me because I was both in awe of Becket's resolution and irritated because he could have prevented his martyrdom. I loved the appearance of William Marshal as a young knight just starting of his long and interesting life journey. As always I loved the Welsh parts of `Time and Chance' with the wonderful and completely fictional Ranulf Fitz Roy, youngest illegitimate son of Henry I, who is torn between loyalty to Henry II and his love for his mother's homeland as war between England and Wales becomes a reality. I enjoyed the reemergence of Anora, in part so Rhiannon and Ranulf could lay her ghost to rest and to see what mischief she could cook up. I want to find out what happens to Ranulf and his family so I really hope they are in `Devil's Brood'.

Maud, widowed Countess of Chester remained one of my favourite characters, along with Ranulf. The character of Henry was wonderfully complex, I was mentally urging him not to do things whilst understanding why he was doing them. I loved the Welsh Prince Hywel, he was probably my favourite character, and detested his stepmother Cristin. His father Owain Gwynedd was a very intriguing character to read.

I really liked `Time and Chance' but I personally didn't enjoy it quite as much as `When Christ and His Saints Slept' mostly because I was anxious to read about clash between Henry and his proud Queen, upcoming in `Devil's Brood', rather then focus on Henry and Thomas Becket.

I would recommend `Time and Chance' and the rest of the series by Sharon Penman to anyone looking for a excellent historical fiction series.
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on 12 September 2013
"Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to men of skill but time and chance happen to them all."

The second book in Penman's Plantagenets series.
The bitter war of succession that has ravaged England for twenty years is over and Henry Fitz Empress, the second of that name since the Conquest is firmly established on the English throne, with vast holdings across the channel, including the Aquitane, by the rights of his beautiful queen Eleanor, who also gives him what she could not to the French king - many sons.
But trouble is stirring on the Welsh border, where Henrys half-Norman half-Welsh uncle Ranulfh, who has been living with his family peacefully for years, has to declare his loyalties.
Also, the kings chancellor and closest friend and confidant Thomas Becket is appointed to the highest religious office in england - the Archbishop of Canterbury - another one whose loyalty to the crown, once unquestionable, is bitterly tested.

A brilliant sequel, full of strife and combat and politics and religious struggle, "Time and Chance" picks up with the characters we learned to love in the end of "When Christ and His Saints Slept" - Henry and Eleanor and their ever expanding family and some oldtimers like Ranulf and his family and friends, Maud, Rainald, even the gracefully aging Empress.
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on 13 March 2014
This was a brilliant read and great to learn how the strength of women saw them through a time in history when women were not generally regarded in many ways. I wanted to know more about Eleanor of Acquitaine, and especially the relationship between Richard the Lionheart and John, as they were characters I knew mostly through stories of Robin Hood!

I couldn't put it down and am waiting for the next book to be released!!! Great read.
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