Lionheart: A Novel

( 30 )

Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
“The great Crusader king Richard the Lionheart comes alive in all his complex splendor in this masterpiece of medieval tapestry.”—Margaret George
 
A.D. 1189. After the death of his father, Henry II, and the early demise of two of his brothers, Richard is crowned King of England and immediately sets off for the Holy Land. This is the ...
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Lionheart

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
“The great Crusader king Richard the Lionheart comes alive in all his complex splendor in this masterpiece of medieval tapestry.”—Margaret George
 
A.D. 1189. After the death of his father, Henry II, and the early demise of two of his brothers, Richard is crowned King of England and immediately sets off for the Holy Land. This is the Third Crusade, marked by internecine warfare among the Christians and extraordinary campaigns against the Saracens. Richard’s surviving brother, the younger John, is left behind—and conspires with the French king to steal his brother’s throne. Only their mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, now freed from decades of captivity, remains to protect Richard’s interests and secure his destiny.
 
In this engrossing saga, Sharon Kay Penman delivers a novel of passion, intrigue, battle, and deceit. Lionheart is a sweeping tale of a heroic figure—feared by his enemies and beloved by those he commanded—who became a legend in his own lifetime.
 
“[Sharon Kay] 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.”—Booklist
 
“The beautifully described settings and the characters’ interactions are simply outstanding.”—The Historical Novels Review
 
“Penman takes historical writing to a whole new level.”—The Sacramento Bee
 
“[A] gritty, unsentimental, and richly detailed epic.”—Publishers Weekly

Don’t miss the exclusive conversation between Sharon Kay Penman and Margaret George at the back of the book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345517562
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/1/2013
  • Pages: 624
  • Sales rank: 134,576
  • Product dimensions: 5.66 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 1.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Sharon Kay Penman is the author of seven previous historical novels: When Christ and His Saints Slept, Time and Chance, Devil’s Brood, and four medieval mysteries set during the reign of Eleanor of Aquitaine. She lives in Mays Landing, New Jersey, and is working on A King’s Ransom, which will complete the story of Richard I.
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Reading Group Guide

1. What do you think about Richard and Eleanor’s relationship? Does Richard ask too much of his family? What did you think of him asking Eleanor to travel to get his wife?

2. How do you think Joanna maintains her strength? What keeps her going? She has lost so much by the age of twenty-five.

3. Berengaria seems to have a very naïve approach to marriage. She feels that it would be a lie to tell Richard that she likes his troubadour poetry when she clearly doesn’t. Hawisa tells her that “marriages are made of lies.” How do you think Berengaria’s thoughts on marriage change from the beginning of the book to the end?

4. When Richard calls Berengaria, “Berenguela” when they are alone it seems to be an uncharacteristically tender moment. Were you surprised that Richard did seem to truly care for Berengaria? In what other ways did he show that softer side when he was with her?

5. Eleanor felt “an unexpected pang of regret, for she was in her twilight while Berengaria’s sun was just rising.” Yet, she goes on to say that she would not have traded her past for her daughter-in-law’s youth. She seems satisfied with the life that she has lived, however turbulent. Do you think that Berengaria will feel the same sense of satisfaction with her life and her marriage with Richard? How are Eleanor and Berengaria alike? Different?

6. Joanna is a mother figure to Alice and then to Berengaria. How do you think that these two young girls would fare without her? How do they help her and how does she help them?

7. Do you think that Joanna is too involved in Richard and Berengaria’s marriage? Is it her place to step in on certain things?

8. “I know I’m the best because I’ve earned it,” Richards states. How is Richard unlike some other kings that you have read about who may have felt that they were entitled to things rather than feeling that they needed to earn them?

9. Where do you think Richard gets his sense of invincibility in battle?

10. Were you surprised when Richard offered Joanna’s hand in marriage as a peace offering to al‑’A-dil? He seems to have the strongest relationship with her out of all the people in his life, aside from his mother. Is victory more important to him than family?

11. Do you think that Richard had anything to do with Conrad’s death as the rumors swirling around suggested?

12. It was refreshing to see an arranged marriage that worked out as well as Henri and Isabella’s. Did you find it that much more gratifying to see that Isabella gave birth to a daughter rather than a son?

13. What did you know about the Third Crusade before you began reading Lionheart? What new things did you learn?

14. In her Author’s Note, Sharon Kay Penman confessed that she’d been surprised by the Richard her research revealed, and what had surprised her the most was that he’d enjoyed such cordial relations with his Saracen foes. She expressed astonishment that he’d actually knighted some of them in the course of the war. Were you as surprised to learn that Richard and Saladin had such mutual respect for each other? Why do you think Richard differed from most of his medieval contemporaries in this regard?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 30 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(8)

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2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful Historical Fiction

    "Lion­heart" by Sharon Kay Pen­man is a his­tor­i­cal fic­tion book about Richard I and the Third cru­sade. This is a well researched book which is fas­ci­nat­ing and exciting.

    Richard I, bet­ter known in his nom de guerre "Lion­heart" takes his vows seri­ously includ­ing the one to free Jerusalem from Salah-a-Din. He leaves his king­dom and together with King Philip of France they make their way, with their armies, to the holy land.

    "Lion­heart" by Sharon Kay Pen­man is his­tor­i­cal fic­tion at its best. The research is impres­sive and Ms. Pen­man doesn't try to fit the his­tory to her story, but writes the story around history.

    I have always been fas­ci­nated by Richard I or as he is bet­ter known Richard the Lion­heart. It was prob­a­bly the nick­name and "guest appear­ance" in Robin Hood which spurred up the imag­i­na­tion of an eight year old boy more than his deeds.

    The author brings King Richard to life, not only his bat­tle glory, but also the man in all his splen­dor, his sar­donic wit, bat­tle com­man­der genius and mis­un­der­stand­ing of women. Some­thing most men share. Richard, which thinks of noth­ing of sac­ri­fic­ing his own life, ago­nized to no end about his bat­tle plans and min­i­miz­ing casu­al­ties. The bat­tle scarred solider who under­stands and respects his ene­mies, but still under­stands the impor­tance of mak­ing an entrance, whether by land or by sea.

    "Richard began to curse, "Bleed­ing Christ! I wsa so sure that raven swine would hit us from the rear! Take over, Jaufre!"

    I enjoyed the descrip­tions of bat­tles, large and small, the tac­tics involved, the ago­niz­ing deci­sions com­man­ders must endure as well as the impos­si­ble logis­tics of tak­ing an army across the ocean with no means of sup­port. The author's goes into great length describ­ing Richard's suc­cess, some of it was luck, but most of it was metic­u­lous plan­ning and audac­ity both in the field of diplo­macy and war.

    While Richard I is cer­tainly the main fig­ure in the book, there are many oth­ers his­tor­i­cal fig­ures. Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, his mother, Richard's sis­ter Joana and his wife Beren­garia all have a major role in the novel, and are depicted in an inter­est­ing and involved manner.

    I enjoyed this book tremen­dously, but be aware that this is not an easy novel to read. There are many char­ac­ters, each of them a world of their own, com­plex, multi-faceted with strange and fas­ci­nat­ing rela­tion­ships among them. The book also includes polit­i­cal strug­gles and intense back-stories, together with the fight­ing (they always go together, don't they?).

    The book ended at the end of the Third Cru­sade, Ms. Pen­man stated that Richard I's life was so full that it would take more books to cover. I, for one, am look­ing for­ward to the rest.

    One of the ben­e­fits of hav­ing this blog is that I get intro­duce

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This is an exciting opening biographical fiction

    Though he was born a spare to King Henry Plantagenet and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, his older brother's failed revolt and subsequent death made Richard the heir. When he became king with the death of his sire, Richard began the Third Crusade to take back Outremer, the Holy Land after a brief stop in Sicily to rescue his sister. He has as much trouble with his alleged French allies as he has with the Saracen forces led by capable Saladin. In fact he and his adversary form a mutual admiration society of two as they respect each other's skills. Finally Richard knows it is time to go home as he hears rumors that his youngest brother John betrays him while he fights in the Holy Land.

    This is an exciting opening biographical fiction that humanizes the legendary Lionheart with little tidbits like his side trip to Sicily and his ignoring his wife Berengaria. Especially emphasized is the political intrigue within the Plantagenet family as his late oldest brother tried to take the throne form his father and his youngest brother has seemingly taken the throne from warring Richard. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this insightful well written medieval tale but will impatiently away the King's return.

    Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2012

    Great historical fiction!

    Penman tells this story beautifully, crafting a setting that is drenched in historical accuracy and enough intrigue to keep you turning pages.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Wonderful Book! Sharon Kay Penman has done it again and I can't

    Wonderful Book! Sharon Kay Penman has done it again and I can't wait for more! Make sure you check out her other books as well. This is Historical Fiction at its best!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    $20 for the ebook, when the paperback is $16? Forget it. 

    $20 for the ebook, when the paperback is $16? Forget it. 

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2012

    Enjoyable read

    Good pacing and storytelling. Helped by the central character (Richard's) overall story, makes a good endpoint at the end of the 3rd Crusade. An upbeat tale. I suspect the follow-on, which deals with post-Crusader Richard, will be less fawning over this great commander, but flawed individual, and absentee king.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Penman' s best yet!

    I have been reading Sharon Kay Pennman 's books for over ten years and I always am left wanting more. I can't wait until the next installment!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2011

    Wonderful!

    It never ceases to amaze me the amount of resesearch Penman does and the way she can capture the readers attention and hold it for 600-plus pages!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2013

    This was an excellent book that brought out the true story of on

    This was an excellent book that brought out the true story of one of England's greatest Kings, Richard I, The Lionheart. I always hated that they made Richard I out to be a bad king and this book shows how great a King he truly was and how he lived up to the warrior spirit of the time.

    This book was a great read and I recommend it to anyone interested in the crusades, England, and history in general.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2011

    Who is who?

    Got through just 100 pages and could not keep up with who was who! Too many titles, names, too busy! Bored and tired after reading what little I read. Put this on the shelf as never to read again! Waste of money!

    1 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2014

    I love this author and have read all her books. BUT... $20 for

    I love this author and have read all her books. BUT... $20 for a Nook book... REALLY? No thanks.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Eleanor of Aquitaine, a "barren queen" for Louis of Fr

    Eleanor of Aquitaine, a "barren queen" for Louis of France bore 4 sons for Henry II.  The most notable and her favorite was Richard known as the Lionheart.  After his older brother Hal's and his father's deaths, Richard became the King of the England and ruled Normandy, Aquitaine, and all the other little duchies that Henry had amassed  as well but Richard was a warrior and had pledged to take the Cross and liberate Jerusalem.  

    Shortly after he was crowned, Richard, along with Phillipe of France, headed toward the Holy Land.  He stopped in Sicily, liberated his widowed sister, married his bride from Navarre, captured Cyprus, and freed Acre once in the Holy Land.  Single-minded in his quest, this skilled battle commander recklessly endangered himself to protect his own forces throughout numerous battles. 

    However, Richard was no diplomat and quickly alienated not only his ally, Phillipe of France, but also Conrad of Montferrat (new King of Jerusalem) and  Hugh Duke of Burgundy.

    Unfortunately, without the complete support of the other Christian commanders, Richard was unable to fully liberate Jerusalem from he Muslim control and was forced to a peace where the Holy Land was open  to Christians but still occupied by Muslims.

    This was a fascinating story filing in the portion of Richard's life that was engrossed by his quest to free the Holy Land.  Very few books that I have read deal with this time in his life and I  was completely engrossed. 

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    ((disguisted))

    Totally got the name from warriors series. I dont even want to try a free sample.



    ((disguisted))

    0 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 24, 2011

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