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A King's Ransom

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Lionheart comes the dramatic seuel telling of the last dangerous years of Richard Coeur de Lion’s life   This long anticipated seuel to the national bestseller Lionheart is a vivid and heart wrenching story of the last event filled years in the life of Richard Coeur de Lion Taken captive by I don't think it's any secret that I'm a huge Penman fan or Penmenian as Jerelyn has coined it and I was thrilled to spot this on the Vine newsletter and get an early shot at itThis 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 JohnThat 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 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 uote some of it It doesn't get better than thatWhile 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 There is a fairly large cast of characters my copy had a reference sheet at the front and I recommend using it My knowledge of the Holy Roman Empire is pretty poor and I did need some help trying to keep track of some of the minor players especially when the names were similar Once things moved back to Normandy and Richard's efforts to regain the lands he'd lost I was hooked until the very last pages These are strictly my opinions I'm expressing but I didn't see Richard as a glorified romantic hero I found this to be a very well rounded fair look at a very complicated man and kingAs for the ending Knowing Richard's history there were things I knew would happen and was prepared for and I can't say but I will say that I have not had to put a book down and have a good cry since I read The Reckoning the last in her Welsh trilogyIt may be only early February but I'm still willing to call this one of the best reads I'll have all year One final note if you are torn between purchasing the physical book over a digital version I'd recommend the latter The book is a huge doorstopper and my dodgy elbow took a beating trying to hold it up Plus the cat was a bit put out book and cat could not fit on the lap at the same time and the little darling does love her lap time

Summary ñ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB ✓ Sharon Kay Penman

Five years remaining to him betrayals intrigues wars and illness were ever present So were his infidelities perhaps a pattern set by his father’s faithlessness to Eleanor But the courage compassion and intelligence of this warrior king became the stuff of legend and A King’s Ransom brings the man and his world fully and powerfully ali I believe Sharon Key Penman could write an exhaustively detailed history of the making of brown paper bags and manage to make it a thrilling roller coaster ride of a story I have read every single one of her books at least twice and still find myself racing through each one to see what happens next That same feeling was with me throughout this entire book Like most of us I grew up with an idealized view of Richard the Lionheart that was fostered by Robin Hood and Evil King John legends The prior book Lionheart shattered those myths in no uncertain terms for me but with this book she introduced me to a Richard I had no idea ever existed For some reason my history lessons always ended with Richard making his miraculous return to England in time to thwart the evil brother John I had no idea that he went on for an incredible few years of fighting battles in France with such panache nor that he was so clever at manipulating diplomatically to get what he desired The section where he defended himself in front of the Holy Roman Emperor gave me goose bumps when I read it Her recounting of his death from such an unlucky aimed arrow in the shoulder was a complete shock to me as I read this even though I vaguely knew that was how he died Penman's historical research and attention to detail are impeccable but it is her ability to breath life and believable emotion into her characters that we all thought we knew that is the joy of reading her novels for me While I am sorry to see her wrapping up this Angevin thread of history I find myself eagerly looking forward to what she tackles next I was lucky enough to receive a free copy of this book but I would willingly have paid for my copy without thinking twice about it

Sharon Kay Penman ✓ 7 Free download

The Holy Roman Emperor while en route home in violation of the papal decree protecting all crusaders he was to spend fifteen months chained in a dungeon while Eleanor of Auitaine moved heaven and earth to raise the exorbitant ransom But a further humiliation awaited him he was forced to kneel and swear fealty to his bitter enemy For the Penman’s epic novels about the lives of English royalty are much beloved by many—and with good reason Penman’s most recent novel completes her cycle about Richard the Lionhearted including both Lionheart and A King’s Ransom Penman’s novels engage in a kind of alchemy that’s worth analyzing in a review because you won’t be aware of it while you’re in the midst of reading That’s the point—she’s so good at it you won’t notice what she’s doing—you’ll be caught in the story She does three things as a writer that ought to make the reader draw back or slow down and yet they don’t In the hands of a less skillful writer these stylistic choices would but the magic here works Hence my claim that Penman is a kind of literary alchemist turning the ordinary or even disastrous in most writers’ hands into something transformed and transforming So what are the three things One is the length of her books They are big Don’t try to hold on with one hand while balancing A King’s Ransom over your cup of tea You will drop the book I’ll grant there are other historical writers who draw their readers through 650 pages without slowing down but it is a relatively rare talentThe second aspect of Penman’s style that should set off warning bells but does not is the amount of historical information she includes You’ll get the complete story of Richard the Lionheart and you’ll enter into precise details of warfare daily life international political intrigue personalities of all relevant persons both famous and less so clothing armor—pretty much everything She even follows thru on historical tangents that are important but not central to the main tale Writing historical fiction well is usually all about balance—including enough period detail to persuade your reader they are there but not too much I’ve never felt while reading Penman’s books that there was too much But when I step back and break the spell she’s cast it looks suspiciously like a lot of history How does she get so much in without weighing down the tale I wish I knew It’s her special alchemyThe third bit of alchemy is the most impressive to me Her epic arcs of history reuire contributions from a wide range of narrators The ordinary writer with many shifting points of view will be told the novel suffers from confusing “head hopping” Somehow Penman can glide her reader from one character’s viewpoint to another without any hitches even within one scene When I read Penman’s first novel The Sunne in Splendour I remember being forced to put it down in order to cook dinner I was stirring something when it dawned on me as my thinking shifted from reader to writeranalytical mode that I couldn’t identify who was telling the novel I grabbed the book and scanned the scenes I’d read When I realized what she’d accomplished I was awestruck—seamless shifts without any awareness on the reader’s part with no sense of disorientation It’s a style perfectly suited to her grand subject matter We can delve into history through multiple minds and perspectives Each feels intimate Each persuades I never wonder whose head I’m in; I always know I honestly have no idea how she does it As the warning in ads says “Don’t try this at home” Unless you’re an alchemist

  • Hardcover
  • 685
  • A King's Ransom
  • Sharon Kay Penman
  • English
  • 21 August 2018
  • 9780399159220

About the Author: Sharon Kay Penman

Penman received her bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin she majored in history and also received a Juris Doctor JD degree from Rutgers University School of Law and later worked as a tax lawyer The Sunne in Splendour a novel about Richard III of England is one of the most popular books on the Historical Novel Society's list of best historical novels In 1996 following



10 thoughts on “A King's Ransom

  1. says:

    I don't think it's any secret that I'm a huge Penman fan or Penmenian as Jerelyn has coined it and I was thrilled to spot this on the Vine newsletter and get an early shot at itThis 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 JohnThat 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 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 uote some of it It doesn't get better than thatWhile 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 There is a fairly large cast of characters my copy had a reference sheet at the front and I recommend using it My knowledge of the Holy Roman Empire is pretty poor and I did need some help trying to keep track of some of the minor players especially when the names were similar Once things moved back to Normandy and Richard's efforts to regain the lands he'd lost I was hooked until the very last pages These are strictly my opinions I'm expressing but I didn't see Richard as a glorified romantic hero I found this to be a very well rounded fair look at a very complicated man and kingAs for the ending? Knowing Richard's history there were things I knew would happen and was prepared for and I can't say but I will say that I have not had to put a book down and have a good cry since I read The Reckoning the last in her Welsh trilogyIt may be only early February but I'm still willing to call this one of the best reads I'll have all year One final note if you are torn between purchasing the physical book over a digital version I'd recommend the latter The book is a huge doorstopper and my dodgy elbow took a beating trying to hold it up Plus the cat was a bit put out book and cat could not fit on the lap at the same time and the little darling does love her lap time

  2. says:

    Your Pride Will Be Your Undoing Lionheart A King's Ransom is the sweeping adventurous seuel to Lionheart a masterfully spun novel of the last seven years of Richard I's life 1192 1199 focusing on the period of his capture imprisonment and ransoming by Heinrich Hohenstaufen the Holy Roman Emperor It is a homeric epic that retells the life of this legendary hero in IMAX detail The author takes great care to keep historical veracity while weaving well thought out strategies and motives clearing a few myths and misconceptions along the way of transporting us on a grand medieval journeySharon Kay Penman is well known for her detailed insightful characterizations and in A King's Ransom that skill is shown at its peak Historical figures became flesh and blood living breathing 3 dimensional people I felt the searing pain of burnt flesh the fear and mania of being in solitary imprisonment; I smelled the musty moldy dankness of the chilled dungeon; the putrefying odor of the suppurating wound; felt the heartbreak of a neglected wife; tasted the sweetness of love's second chance Her characters' personalities are well conceived and fitting I saw Richard I as a restless and impulsive adventurer uick to flare up with that notorious Angevin temper suited to aggressive military life than to contemplating law governing a kingdom; or to committed marital life It couldn't be all swords and crossbows in Ms Penman's novels so it was a pleasure to see the women of court take active duty Eleanor of Auitaine Joanna Berengaria Their roles and perspectives brought deeply heartfelt emotional dimensions to that dangerous often tragic medieval lifeHistory is never so entertaining as in a fictionalized version and MsPenman pulled it off in imaginative scenes sieges battles betrayals political drama the dangerous 12th century game of Monopoly The amazing sea adventure Richard's capture and especially his incarceration will stay in my mind for a long time I particularly got a thrill by old King Henry's cameo appearance as Richard lay feverish in his dungeon There is something else you need to remember whenever this new reality of yours becomes than you think you can bear You cannot gain revenge from the grave Trust me on this; I know Ms Penman brings spirit and passion to the life of the Coeur de Lion whose legend will carry on in A King's Ransom the last of the Angevin Trilogy much like what Homer did for Odysseus and you know how successful that wasFrom wikipediaorgRichard I 8 September 1157 – 6 April 1199 He was known as Richard Cœur de Lion or mainly Richard the Lionheart even before his accession because of his reputation as a great military leader and warrior

  3. says:

    Wow What a ride Sharon Kay Penman has done it again She has made a 700 page book seem short She has transported me to the 12th century and made me feel like I belong there She has made me cry over the deaths of people I know to be long deadI will admit Lionheart was my least favorite of Penman's books though it was still amazing by most standards With the addition of A King's Ransom it's getting difficult to rank her books because I want to place them all on top I expected this book to be informative knowing the author's tendency to research the smallest details and make her novels as close to real life as possible I didn't expect to be so emotionally invested I didn't expect to cry through the last 100 pages Let me tell you knowing the time place and cause of a person's death does not prepare you for watching them die The reader is placed at the bedside along with the mourners except we have modern medicine in our back pocket and aren't allowed to administer itPenman masterfully takes the reader through Richard's highs and lows until you become as devoted to him as his men at arms He is arrogant witty reckless and magnetic unless of course you are the French king In that case Richard is the prime example of everything you will never be And you hate him for itThe animosity between Richard and Philippe that began in Lionheart is back in Ransom with a cruel vengeance Parts of Richard's story had me wishing that I could pick up a sword and go fight for him myself Remember I had to keep telling myself this happened over 800 years ago There is nothing you can do to stop it Still you may say no no no as you read it just as I didPenman once again creates scenes and characters that are varied rich in detail and completely believable Joanna Richard's sister is sort of a female version of Richard and is the source of most of the romance in this book Berengaria his unfortunate ueen could not be poorly suited to him and it is easy to feel pity for her while still adoring him John the infamous brother is always sneaking around the edges of the story and does his patience ever pay off Then there is Eleanor Has anyone had a remarkable life than Eleanor of Auitaine? And to think she spent 16 years doing nothing while in captivity In Ransom she is than a devoted mother but clearly also the one who taught Richard his skill in statecraft So many others the cast of characters is huge but Penman handles them all with such skill that they are easy to keep track of especially since some of them are friends from past booksRichard's story from leaving the Holy Land until his death is certainly action packed but it is also emotional The what ifs you will ask yourself while reading this can get daunting They certainly must have been so to Richard as he lay dying His story combined with Penman's prose and I could have uoted something noteworthy on almost every pageI laughed I cried ok then I cried some I highly recommend this book to well everyone

  4. says:

    What a wonderful brilliant bookI have just torn through Sharon Penman’s new release in three days flat the last of which I read the last full two thirds of the book – 393 pages out of 685 total I feel exhausted How much greater a mammoth task must it have been to have written a novel as detailed as thoroughly researched and nuanced as this? The term ‘page turner’ is often applied to a good book these days but there are rare occasions when the term is inadeuate insufficient This is one of those times I haven’t read like this since the day Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince was released and I spent a full ten hours reading the book cover to cover completely forgetting to take meals or bathroom breaks This goes beyond feeling eager to pick up the book and read ‘just a few pages’ to feeling downright compelled to keep reading to the very end to find out what happens to characters we love and a plot that has us on the edges of our seats in the face of actual physical discomfort That’s a rare thing to find in a bookI have to admit I only just held back the tears welling up towards the end of the book even though this time unlike with Devil’s Brood and Here Be Dragons where I only had a vague idea of historical events I knew exactly what was coming I have to marvel at Sharon’s capacity for writing tragic scenes for whether I’ve foreknowledge or not they never fail to move me It’s not just that those scenes are written in such a moving way of course but also that by the time we get to that point we already deeply care about what happens to these characters It’s because Sharon takes the time and care over her characters throughout the book that as readers we identify with these admirable fallible complex human beings I often find it instructive to look to Sharon’s work to discover how to write realistic authentic characters Thinking back over the characters of A King’s Ransom I can’t find fault with any of them From the main players through to the bit parts each seems nuanced and most importantly real Of course if I’m going to admit to having favourites I couldn’t help but back Richard all the way he of the shining Lionheart legend not to mention the shrewd Eleanor charismatic Joanna and sympathetic Berenguela; but Sharon also won me round to Raimond of Toulouse and I can’t help but think she’s right in her Author’s Note when she suggests that light needs to be shed on Raimond’s life Undoubtedly I have said this before in my reviews of Sharon’s previous novels but I truly cannot express enough what a relief it is to read historical fiction where characters are not all either whitewashed or blackened divided up into ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ There’s too much of it in historical fiction and I’m so tired of it Simply put history is far too complex for such simplistic renderings Human beings are far too complex for such simplistic renderings Creating subtle three dimensional characters is so critical as a writer’s skill It’s the difference between me as a reader being swept away into the world you create or refusing to buy into it because the characters just aren’t believable as real people I would actually go so far as to say it’s the most important skill for an author Stories hinge on the charactersOf course there was much to the plot of A King’s Ransom than the scenes I found moving There’s adventure peril tension intrigue nadirs and zeniths even romance How can a book cross so many genres? From a rollicking adventure to a thrilling intrigue to a touching romance? Honestly I’m not surprised History encompasses all human experience and Penman is a good enough author to realise that a good story has elements of many different ‘genres’ over a good enough author to weave them together seamlessly The battles are as tense and brutal as the romance is stirring and poignant When reading historical fiction I often look for the author’s weakness What do they avoid? Do they skim over battle scenes? Do they avoid heartfelt character exchanges? Such books can be good naturally but I notice the lack and for me the very best stories are well rounded strong in every area A King’s Ransom is one suchOne thing I have to draw attention to is the construction of the book It’s obvious that careful planning and forethought went into A King’s Ransom at every stage and this shows Not only does it show in the nuanced way the characters are built up but in the plot and pacing too Every single scene serves a purpose and advances the story Nothing is superfluous or extraneous This really contributes to the book’s ‘page turn ability’ for it keeps the pace and excitement going instead of letting the reader get bogged down in unnecessary fluff It even bleeds over into the descriptions I took note of some of the book’s particularly well crafted descriptions because I liked how vividly they set the scene and created an atmosphere and ambience but I also liked how sparse and to the point they were Penman doesn’t waffle on and on about the environment a character walks into before actually letting dialogue or action commence It’s short sweet and then we’re back in the action Judicious forethought helps make a great book It makes the plot and characters much focused in what they’re doing and where they’re going keeps the pacing tight and avoids meandering and boredom setting in for the readersPart of careful planning for a historical novel is of course research and accuracy What can I say here? Everyone knows that Sharon Penman is thorough and meticulous about such things I have to agree with a comment Sharon makes in her Author’s Note “ I feel cheated when I read a historical novel and then discover that the author has not included an Author’s Note” I like to know about the characters and events I’ve been reading about where the author has stuck to the facts and where and why an author has changed them Perhaps I’m in the minority but I love historical novels where the author sticks as close as possible to the known facts That might be the trained historian in me though; as a history lover I pick up historical fiction hoping for a fully realised vision of what actually happened as accurate as possible for it’s the closest we historians will ever come to the fantasy of time travel I’m glad too that Sharon has continued to provide a brief bibliography for those of us wanting to know Other than saying I can’t wait for the next book The Land Beyond the Sea I’m going to sign off with a few uotes and my highest possible recommendation for A King’s Ransom Thoroughly well written fantastically enjoyable “The stone walls of the chapel had been recently whitewashed and in the soft candlelight they glowed like polished ivory During the daylight hours the sun turned the stained glass windowpanes into resplendent jewels; now they gave off a muted shimmer an occasional flicker of emerald or ruby or royal purple The scent of incense hung in the air; Eleanor found it a comforting aroma reminding her of the rich spices of Sicily and Poitou” p121“By now the sky was darker than midnight stars glimmering like distant campfires in an alien world Eleanor gazed up at those pinpoint white lights hoping that her son was able to look upon them too on this tranuil spring evening When she thought of his time at Trifels shut away from the sun and sky and untainted air she felt a tightness in her chest a heaviness that would be with her until the day he regained his freedom And if he did not ?” p 234“the men were telling Will about the latest offer by the French king— that disputes be settled by a contest of champions five on each side But after Richard insisted that he and Philippe be two of the champions the French lost all interest in the idea” p 436 10 out of 10

  5. says:

    Penman’s epic novels about the lives of English royalty are much beloved by many—and with good reason Penman’s most recent novel completes her cycle about Richard the Lionhearted including both Lionheart and A King’s Ransom Penman’s novels engage in a kind of alchemy that’s worth analyzing in a review because you won’t be aware of it while you’re in the midst of reading That’s the point—she’s so good at it you won’t notice what she’s doing—you’ll be caught in the story She does three things as a writer that ought to make the reader draw back or slow down and yet they don’t In the hands of a less skillful writer these stylistic choices would but the magic here works Hence my claim that Penman is a kind of literary alchemist turning the ordinary or even disastrous in most writers’ hands into something transformed and transforming So what are the three things? One is the length of her books They are big Don’t try to hold on with one hand while balancing A King’s Ransom over your cup of tea You will drop the book I’ll grant there are other historical writers who draw their readers through 650 pages without slowing down but it is a relatively rare talentThe second aspect of Penman’s style that should set off warning bells but does not is the amount of historical information she includes You’ll get the complete story of Richard the Lionheart and you’ll enter into precise details of warfare daily life international political intrigue personalities of all relevant persons both famous and less so clothing armor—pretty much everything She even follows thru on historical tangents that are important but not central to the main tale Writing historical fiction well is usually all about balance—including enough period detail to persuade your reader they are there but not too much I’ve never felt while reading Penman’s books that there was too much But when I step back and break the spell she’s cast it looks suspiciously like a lot of history How does she get so much in without weighing down the tale? I wish I knew It’s her special alchemyThe third bit of alchemy is the most impressive to me Her epic arcs of history reuire contributions from a wide range of narrators The ordinary writer with many shifting points of view will be told the novel suffers from confusing “head hopping” Somehow Penman can glide her reader from one character’s viewpoint to another without any hitches even within one scene When I read Penman’s first novel The Sunne in Splendour I remember being forced to put it down in order to cook dinner I was stirring something when it dawned on me as my thinking shifted from reader to writeranalytical mode that I couldn’t identify who was telling the novel I grabbed the book and scanned the scenes I’d read When I realized what she’d accomplished I was awestruck—seamless shifts without any awareness on the reader’s part with no sense of disorientation It’s a style perfectly suited to her grand subject matter We can delve into history through multiple minds and perspectives Each feels intimate Each persuades I never wonder whose head I’m in; I always know I honestly have no idea how she does it As the warning in ads says “Don’t try this at home” Unless you’re an alchemist

  6. says:

    This is the first Sharon Kay Penman book I have read and I am simply astounded by it I have never read an author who packs so much history into a novel and it is so readable and easy to understand There is a large cast of characters as Kings often move in large groups of people and yet I was able to keep them straight I did not have to refer to a cast of characters chart if it had one my copy did not or make notes to keep track of the players That in itself was an amazing feat Still it was the story itself that was the star I now know about Richard the Lionhearted than I ever conceivably thought I would He was portrayed as a man with faults and warts and it made him come alive for me He was an impatient man who liked war than anything else He found love and ruling his Kingdom as obstacles to overcome so he could pursue his passion of making war The story starts with him leaving the Holy Land with Jerusalem unconuered and on his way back to England Along the way he is captured and ultimately made the prisoner of the Emperor of Germany Apparently troubles between England and Germany started way before WWI Imprisonment was a torture Accustomed to having his word obeyed instantly he is now subject to his jailers At one point he was even shackled an even unheard of for a King and a Knight on a Holy Crusade Eventually through ransom and interventions he is released and sets off to make war This time he is fighting the King of France to regain his lands he lost through his imprisonment He makes a lightening visit to England but is soon back to France to continue fighting Richard doesn't really waste time trying to rule England He views it as an ATM The women are very interesting Richard is surrounded by strong women including his mother Eleanor and his sister Joanna I have to confess that I saw Katherine Hepburn's face every time I read about Eleanor I guess I've seen Lion in the Winter too many times but it was really comforting The women though strong willed were just chess pieces in the matrimony field so it was great to see some happy marriages I really enjoyed Joanna and the Count of Toulouse's relationship It was uite a delight I found this a fascinating book It's long 657 pages but it is one that I don't think could have been edited for length There was no filler or padding just great historical information I plan to read of her books I highly recommend this one but I have one caveat If you have a Kindle buy it on that My arms just got tired holding that heavy book

  7. says:

    I believe Sharon Key Penman could write an exhaustively detailed history of the making of brown paper bags and manage to make it a thrilling roller coaster ride of a story I have read every single one of her books at least twice and still find myself racing through each one to see what happens next That same feeling was with me throughout this entire book Like most of us I grew up with an idealized view of Richard the Lionheart that was fostered by Robin Hood and Evil King John legends The prior book Lionheart shattered those myths in no uncertain terms for me but with this book she introduced me to a Richard I had no idea ever existed For some reason my history lessons always ended with Richard making his miraculous return to England in time to thwart the evil brother John I had no idea that he went on for an incredible few years of fighting battles in France with such panache nor that he was so clever at manipulating diplomatically to get what he desired The section where he defended himself in front of the Holy Roman Emperor gave me goose bumps when I read it Her recounting of his death from such an unlucky aimed arrow in the shoulder was a complete shock to me as I read this even though I vaguely knew that was how he died Penman's historical research and attention to detail are impeccable but it is her ability to breath life and believable emotion into her characters that we all thought we knew that is the joy of reading her novels for me While I am sorry to see her wrapping up this Angevin thread of history I find myself eagerly looking forward to what she tackles next I was lucky enough to receive a free copy of this book but I would willingly have paid for my copy without thinking twice about it

  8. says:

    It's a given that every time Sharon Kay Penman writes a new novel I'll preorder it and get my greedy mitts on it This one I was looking forward to in particular in that it was the follow up to her previous novel Lionheart which told the story of Richard the Lionheart's time in the Holy Land during the Third Crusade But many authors skip over what happened to the king afterwards But in this one we get to find out what did and it's a stunner of a tale Captured by an enemy Duke Leopold of Austria Richard faces imprisionment humiliation and a struggle that he might not win Along on the story we get to see his siblings Joanna and John his mother the formidable Eleanor of Auitaine and others I found it all fascinating and this book won a spot on my keeper shelves Five stars overall and well worth the time Just keep the hankies nearby for the last part of the book For the longer review please go here

  9. says:

    Sharon Kay Penman’s Plantagenet series concludes with A King’s Ransom giving us a meticulous recounting of the final seven years of Richard I of England's life It highlights his capture in Germany on his way home from the Holy Land crusade the wars he waged with his brother John and the French king to reclaim the Normandy lands he lost from their duplicity the castle he built that was not only formidable but was the most expensive fortress at that time and—for all of his heroism and larger than life existence—the tragedy that befell him and led to his rather anticlimactic death in 1199This book gives us a vista of Richard who is not impervious to vulnerability and torment After painting him as a glorious fighter and great military strategist in Lionheart we see him here coming to terms with his personal ghosts that are primarily brought about by his incarceration While Miss Penman could not claim credence that King Richard truly suffered from trauma she has explored the possibilities enough to let her imagination stream along the events leading to his capture and allows him to hark back to that harrowing prison experience from time to time And as we are shown a glimpse of his fragile side Miss Penman ensures that he lets his warrior’s instinct take over and confront his internal struggles every time which I think is a true and defining character of his I admire his bravado and wit and the way he had turned several checkmate moments into his advantage when everyone thought he was already on the losing side I specifically enjoyed the incident when he cleverly “lawyered” for himself against several unwarranted allegations thrown at him in Heinrich’s imperial court and won not only the Germans’ admiration but also the allegiance of some of themThe author has also incorporated a few snippets of some of the relevant events already discussed in her previous books probably to give a recap of those past events to her zealous readers or serve as a helpful guide to those who haven’t read the series yet At any rate the history pep up gives this particular book an independentstandalone feel that can make the readers follow through with the story easily should they decide to skip the first books in the series although it is still highly recommended to start with book #1 When Christ and His Saints SleptJust like with her other books Miss Penman deserves all the accolades for the exhaustive research she has made in A King’s Ransom She has clearly put a lot of time effort and heart in this book to have it translated into a seamless narration of this particular spot in England’s history She has also utilized this novel to discredit unfounded facts that have long permeated several bygone and contemporary chronicles such as King Richard’s gender preference and the intrigues surrounding the life of Count Raymond of Toulouse For someone who has relied too much on Wikipedia and Google for historical points to ever think them false ie Lady Joanna fleeing from her unhappy marriage with Count Raymond per Wikipedia it was a relief to know that Miss Penman's comprehensive research has allowed her readers to have another version of these dubious information and weigh in the merits of her reasoning through her Author’s Note I always look forward to the author’s postscript whenever I read historical fiction because it is where the author can be candid and personal with hisher opinion as a spectator of history and where she can discuss anything significant in a long winded approach On the whole A King’s Ransom is a masterful representation of how colorful and extraordinarily impressive Richard the Lionheart’s life had been I enjoyed the remarkable journey back to his time; Miss Penman had me actually fangirling over Henry II Richard I and the rest of the Plantagenet folks that I’m not uite sure I’m ready to let go of them just yet In the meantime I comfort myself listening to this ballad “Ja Nus Hons Pris” which King Richard had composed during his time in prison and which one lovely interpretation Miss Penman has included in her Author’s Note It is sung in French and as I'm not familiar with the language I can only hope that Google has provided me with a reliable English translation of the song

  10. says:

    Ms Penman has done an admirable job of telling the story of the last years of Richard I’s life In this volume the author tells Richard’s story starting with his shipwreck off the Balkan coast as he is returning from the 3rd Crusade and follows Richard and his family thru to his death and ends with the death of his mother Eleanor of Auitaine In between is a masterful telling of the events of the last seven years of his lifeRalph Peters once wrote that history can tell you that an army marched 22 miles in 95 degree heat and 95 percent humidity and many soldiers fell out well done historical fiction can make you feel what it was like to make that march Ms Penman has succeeded in making the reader feel what it was like to be in Richards orbit From his languishing in first an Austrian and later a German dungeon and later putting his Kingdom back together the author brings Richard to life and brings the reader into Richard’s world Her telling of his captivity and the efforts to free him is the story of the the first half of this novel and is told masterfully The scene where he defends himself in front of the HRE Heinrich and the German Diet is definately my favorite in this book Richard is presented in turn as witty charming determined and very intelligentAs with many of her other novels Ms Penman has drawn us some exceptional female characters In this novel they are Richard’s sister Joanna his mother Eleanor of Auitaine and finally his ueen Berengaria They are all well written and really come to life There concerns are real as well as their feelings for Richard Eleanor is worried about Richard and John and the fate of the Kingdom Joanna while also worried about her brother finds love in the person of the Count of Toulouse the main source of romance in the novel and Berengaria who wonders why Richard is avoiding herRichard’s enemies also come to life His main enemy the French King Philippe is a great villain His scheming with Prince John is a joy to read The Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich is presented as an amoral opportunist When Richard is captured near Vienna Heinrich sees this as a way to fund his attempt to seize the throne of Sicily safe conduct for crusaders be damned John is also written as an opportunist who desperately wants to be king He is actively conspiring with Philippe to keep Richard in Germany The scenes of him trying to get back into Richard’s good graces are also a delightful readAs an aside I enjoyed the main character of Ms Penman’s mystery series Justin de uincy making a cameo appearance As a reader of medieval mysteries I would like to see that series continuedIn short this novel is extremely well researched the characters are well drawn and the story is compelling My rating is 425 stars rounded down to 4 for Good reads

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