Read the prologue and the
first chapter of Lionheart.
A Message from the Author
I am happy to report that Lionheart will be published in the U.S. on
October 4, 2011. It will also be published in Australia and New Zealand in
October. I have a new British publisher, Macmillan, and it is like coming home
since Macmillan published my first novel, The Sunne in Splendour;
Macmillan will be publishing Lionheart in the U.K. in March of 2012.
Lionheart will be available in the e-book format everywhere; it will also be
sold in the U.S. as an audio book.
Lionheart continues the saga I began in When Christ and
his Saints Slept, the first book of my trilogy about the
Angevins, which I expected to conclude with Devil’s Brood.
But my Angevins were not ready to go quietly into that good night,
and royalty usually get their own way. So Lionheart will take
readers from the royal English court to the blood-soaked
battlefields of the Holy Land. Lionheart is Eleanor’s story,
as she emerges from her sixteen years of confinement, like a
butterfly from a cocoon, to wield more power than she’d ever dreamed
of having. It is Joanna’s story, a young widow imprisoned by the man
who usurped her husband’s throne, and Berengaria of Narvarre’s
story, surely the only queen to spend her honeymoon in a war zone.
It is the story of Richard’s nephew, Henri of Champagne, whose vow
to take the cross would transform his life beyond his wildest
imaginings. Above all, it is Richard’s story. He is probably the
most famous of medieval monarchs, if only from those Robin Hood
films. But my research would reveal a Richard far more complex than
the Hollywood Richard--much like that Johnny Cash song, “a walking
contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction,” utterly fearless,
arrogant, intelligent, ruthless, generous, sardonic, reckless,
playful, unpredictable, and always larger than life, for he was that
rarity, a man who became a legend in his own lifetime.
About the Book
From the New York Times-bestselling novelist, a stunning
story of a great medieval warrior-king, the accomplished and
controversial son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine: Richard,
Coeur de Lion.
They were called "The Devil's Brood," though never to their faces.
They were the four surviving sons of Henry Plantagenet and Eleanor
of Aquitaine. With two such extraordinary parents, much was expected
But the eldest-charming yet mercurial-would turn on his father and,
like his brother Geoffrey, meet an early death. When Henry died,
Richard would take the throne and, almost immediately, set off for
the Holy Land. This was the Third Crusade, and it would be
characterized by internecine warfare among the Christians and
extraordinary campaigns against the Saracens. And, back in England,
by the conniving of Richard's youngest brother, John, to steal his
In Lionheart, Sharon Kay Penman displays her remarkable
mastery of historical detail and her acute understanding of human
foibles. The result is a powerful story of intrigue, war, and-
surprisingly-effective diplomacy, played out against the roiling
conflicts of love and loyalty, passion and treachery, all set
against the rich textures of the Holy Land.
"The great Crusader king Richard the Lionheart comes alive in all his complex splendor in this masterpiece of a medieval tapestry by Sharon Kay Penman. She brings him and his legendary enemy, Saladin, before us, both on the battlefield for Jerusalem and in the quiet of their private chambers. It's as if you were there, in this strange, beguiling, vanished time that haunts the Middle East even today. Penman has triumphed in capturing its elusive essence and the blazing glory of the English king called Lionheart."
—Margaret George, author of Elizabeth I: A Novel
"The prolific Penman continues to chronicle the
exploits of the wildly dysfunctional Plantagenet clan. Turning her attention to
Richard Coeur de Lion, the legendary son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine,
she paints a robust portrait of the often misunderstood Lionheart. While
distancing her Richard from the improbably pious crusader-king of the Robin Hood
fable, she also departs from more critical scholarly interpretations by
positively reflecting his imprint on history and his influence upon his own
time. Interestingly, Richard shares the fictional spotlight with his fiercest
and most respected rival, Saladin, sultan of Egypt and military leader of the
Saracens. Their complex relationship forms the core of the novel as they match
wits and might during the Third Crusade. Penman displays her usual grasp of
sweeping historical events, as well as an uncanny ability to get inside the
hearts and minds of her real-life characters. Her reputation for
character-driven, solidly detailed historicals is richly deserved. High Demand
Backstory: The popularity of her superbly rendered Angevin trilogy (When Christ
and His Saints Slept, 1995; Time and Chance, 2002; and The Devil's Brood, 2008)
guarantees a ready-made audience for this fictional biography of the always
intriguing Richard the Lionheart."
"The Saracens called him Malik Ric. The English called him Lionheart. In
Penman's latest historical, Richard I, determined to conquer the Holy Land and
capture Jerusalem, journeys first to Sicily and Cyprus to free his imprisoned
sister, Joanna; battle against self-proclaimed emperor Isaac Comnenus; and marry
his bride, Berengaria of Navarre. Despite the departure of the French from
Outremer (the Crusader states established after the First Crusade), Richard
seizes strategic cities in the Holy Land as he maintains diplomatic relations
with the Saracens. His legendary feats in battle and genius as a military
commander bring him closer to capturing the Holy City. When word reaches him
that England is in turmoil, Richard must decide whether to make a peace treaty
with the Saracens or continue to fight for Jerusalem. His surprising choice will
leave readers begging for more of Lionheart; Penman will continue his story in
2012 with A King's Ransom. VERDICT As in her previous historical novels (Time
and Chance) and mysteries, Penman expertly weaves well-researched historical
events into her fast-paced revisionist story. Certain to appeal to historical
fiction fans interested in the medieval era."
"In this gritty, unsentimental, and richly detailed epic, Penman (The Sunne in
Splendour) tackles the legendary King Richard the Lionheart (son of Henry II and
Eleanor of Aquitaine), and nearly succeeds in making him human. As Richard leads
the Crusades in Outremer (the land beyond the sea), Penman depicts many story
lines: the friction between the English and French allies; the complex political
tension between warring factions within Jerusalem; the mutual admiration between
Richard and Saladin (a Sunni Muslim who became leader of the Saracen forces and
sultan of Egypt); and Richard’s neglect of his young bride, Berengaria. The
story follows Richard as he journeys from England to Sicily to free his sister,
to Cyprus and Outremer, and finally to his departure from the Holy Land to
reclaim his own lands from his treacherous brother John. Though hinting about
events that don’t take place in the book may feel frustrating, and though Penman
never allows readers to meet the elusive Saladin, she ably captures the
political intricacies of the time. Readers will eagerly await the next
installment, which will focus on Richard’s capture and ransom on his way home."
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