Shield of Three Lions: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

The return of a classic, by bestselling author Pamela Kaufman.

“Richly rewarding, superbly written. . . . The richness of the characters, the historical details, and the story as a whole make this novel a memorable reading experience.”—Chicago Sun-Times

Eleven-year-old Alix is the daughter of the baron of Wanthwaite, whose lands along the Scottish border are among the best ...
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Shield of Three Lions: A Novel

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Overview

The return of a classic, by bestselling author Pamela Kaufman.

“Richly rewarding, superbly written. . . . The richness of the characters, the historical details, and the story as a whole make this novel a memorable reading experience.”—Chicago Sun-Times

Eleven-year-old Alix is the daughter of the baron of Wanthwaite, whose lands along the Scottish border are among the best in England. But when her family is killed and her lands seized, Alix is forced to flee from the only home she’s ever known. Her one hope of restoring her inheritance is to plead her case to King Richard the Lion Heart, who is far away in France, preparing to go on his Crusade. Alix resolves to follow him. She cuts her hair, dresses as a boy, and takes the road south to London.

Disguised as a beautiful young boy, Alix is more than befriended by the handsome and mysterious King Richard, even becoming his favorite page. Their relationship sets tongues wagging and places Alix in considerable danger as the battle for Jerusalem unfolds.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A lively romance . . . a rich picture of a romantic time . . . [Kaufman’s] detailed descriptions of a bawdy land and its people are matched well by her touching and humorous portrait of an adolescent coming to terms with her own womanhood.”—USA Today

“A romantic, sensual, ribald, rowdy—and often hilarious—tale.” —Los Angeles Herald

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307545794
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/8/2010
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 281,817
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Pamela Kaufman, Ph.D., is the author of The Book of Eleanor, a novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Banners
of Gold
, the sequel to Shield of Three Lions—all available from Crown Publishers and Three Rivers Press. She lives in Los Angeles.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Table of Contents

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Introduction

Shield of Three Lions unfurls amidst the plagues, poxes, sackings, banquets, leeches, jousts, and processions of Medieval England–and tells the fresh, at times hilarious tale of an unflappable heroine caught in a web of politics, sex, and psychology. Alix of Wanthwaite, a breathtaking beauty disguised as a boy; Enoch Angus Boggs, a wiley Scot with nothing to lose; and King Richard the Lionheart, a lusty monarch in the throes of a bloody crusade, form an unlikely triangle of desire and manipulation in this sexy, inventive, coming-of-age story. Nearly twenty years after its original publication, Pamela Kaufman’s first novel remains crisp, pitch-perfect, and tender in its shrewd understanding of love and the endless quest for an irrefutable identity. This guide is designed to help direct your reading group’s discussion of Shield of Three Lions.

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Foreword

1. Enoch strikes Alix as an outlandish savage when he first enters the story. “Mounted on a monstrous plodding white mule, he looked to be a bull more than a man—a huge menacing form emitting deafening shrieks... ” What do you think of Enoch? How does Kaufman use Enoch’s sense of humor as a device to develop his character? Why does he immediately commit to protecting Alix as they begin their journey? Is it his kind heart or his keen opportunism at work?

2. Young Alix’s initiation into the world of sex is the brutal rape and murder of her friend and milk-sister, Maisry. She then goes on to witness bawdy whorehouses, desperately unhappy but necessary royal couplings, Enoch’s casual sexual dalliances, the licentious attentions of her pedophile king, and Queen Eleanor’s “Rules” governing ecstatic, adulterous love. Combined with memories of her own parents’ happy marriage, these contradictory messages about sex leave Alix totally confused. Does she ever sort it all out?

3. In the first seventy pages of the novel, Alix lies to Dame Margery about why Maisry died, lies to her father about how her mother died, and lies to Enoch about splitting Wanthwaite with him. Are these lies justified, or does Alix have a problem dealing with the truth? Do her lies ever cause real trouble? Her adventure comes full circle when she lies about being raped by Lord Roland, thereby causing his death and avenging her mother and Maisry. Could she have cornered him any other way? Do you think she does the right thing?

4. What guidance does Alix’s mother provide her from beyond the grave? Is it useful?

5. In Paris, Enochand Alix study law with the famous Master Malcolm. What does Alix learn during his lectures that she uses later? Why does Enoch insist that they take the time to study despite their rush toward the king?

6. What does Zizka want with Alix? Why is she perfect for the job at hand? What advice does Zizka give Alix before her private audience with the king? Does she heed it? Is she correct in her hunch that Zizka feels guilty about something?

7. What does Alix learn about love, politics, and women’s rights from Princess Alais of France? What is the significance of Alais’s comment, “’Tis a glorious occasion,” as she watches Richard’s entry into Paris? Why does Alix repeat the same comment as she attends Richard’s wedding to Berengaria more than a year later?

8. Despite her naivet? and lack of experience, Alix is a solid judge of character. She can see Richard’s duplicities, his cruelties as a ruler, and his weaknesses as a man. Why does she still fall for him?

9. What grave mistake does Alix make when she begs Richard for a writ naming her the sole heir to Wanthwaite? What advantage would she have gained had she presented Enoch to Richard as her older brother? Is it greed or ignorance that guides her? Does Richard have any intention of bestowing Wanthwaite on her when her tenure as a page is over?

10. When Wanthwaite is sacked by Osbert, Lord of Northumberland, why does Alix’s father insist that she go to King Henry for help, rather than to the local Assize court for intervention? What makes him think Henry will care? What law has Osbert broken?

11. From the very opening of the story, when Alix convinces Maisry that they “deserve” a forbidden outing despite the danger, we see Alix’s sense of self-importance and entitlement. Does she grow out of her self-absorption?

12. A very fine line separates Alix’s hatred for Enoch, and her adoration of him. She manages to blame him for nearly every misadventure in the novel, yet she can’t function without him. Do you think she is too hard on him? Does he love her all along, or does his love blossom after he realizes she’s a girl?

13. Richard is a master of transformation, shifting from ruthless warrior to gracious host to lovesick boy, and back again, in the blink of an eye. Who is the real Richard–arrogant, power-mad despot? Or tragic, guilt-ridden monarch with bad luck? Do you find his feelings for Alix distasteful? In what ways can you identify with him?

14. Alix’s convoluted journey is one long attempt to regain her own home, and could be read as a metaphor for her search to know and understand herself. Because she leaves all semblance of a normal life while still a child and grows up in disguise, she has no chance to grow into her own identity. Discuss her revelation before her wedding day: “Poor Enoch, mourning the loss of Alex. Poor Alix, competing with the Alex who’d never been, first with Richard, now with the Scot.”

15. When Enoch rescues Richard and Alix during a skirmish with peasants, the king is enraged to discover that Enoch has been keeping guard over Alix even while she’s in the king’s company. The two men nearly come to blows. What is this fight really about? Is Richard’s pride wounded because he’s unable to defend himself in battle, or is he angry at Enoch’s disobedience, or is this an expression of jealousy over Alix?

16. Where does Kaufman use humor about Medieval medicine and religion to embellish her story?

PRAISE FOR SHIELD OF THREE LIONS

“Magically captivating...both hilarious and touching...absolutely splendid.”
Washington Post

“A rollicking, bawdy, glorious work.”–Publishers Weekly

“Richly rewarding...superbly written...stunning...astute...the richness of the characters, the historical details, and the story as a whole make this novel a memorable reading experience.”–Chicago Sun-Times


Fast-paced, energetic and amusing...Shield of Three Lions is sheer delight.”
Detroit Free Press

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Reading Group Guide

Shield of Three Lions unfurls amidst the plagues, poxes, sackings, banquets, leeches, jousts, and processions of Medieval England–and tells the fresh, at times hilarious tale of an unflappable heroine caught in a web of politics, sex, and psychology. Alix of Wanthwaite, a breathtaking beauty disguised as a boy; Enoch Angus Boggs, a wiley Scot with nothing to lose; and King Richard the Lionheart, a lusty monarch in the throes of a bloody crusade, form an unlikely triangle of desire and manipulation in this sexy, inventive, coming-of-age story. Nearly twenty years after its original publication, Pamela Kaufman’s first novel remains crisp, pitch-perfect, and tender in its shrewd understanding of love and the endless quest for an irrefutable identity. This guide is designed to help direct your reading group’s discussion of Shield of Three Lions.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 26, 2010

    Tired retelling of an old tale

    Pamela Kaufman has attempted to write an alternate version of Joan of Arc. But I found this story far less than inspiring. Packed with corruption, greed, rape and other ever so savory concepts of human morality, an otherwise innocent teenage girl pretends to be a boy to join the crusades.

    I found it overall a fairly unpleasant book. I would not recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 28, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    This is where it all started for me and my love of historical fiction.

    Great book. Lots of fun, I learned quite a bit about the middle ages, Richard the Lion King, the Crusades and royal politics and land ownership. I came to appreciate the role of women at the time and how one had to use all their strength and intelligence to survive.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 21, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Great story, captures the imagination

    Loved the characters and the plot. Sometimes felt that I needed to suspend belief in the plausibility of some plot elements. Liked the conclusion, but the ending seemed a little drawn out and overly dramatic.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2007

    A reviewer

    As a lover of history, this book immediately caught my attention, but it was the details and characters who kept my interest. I read the book in ONE day - it was too good to put down. Anyone who loves adventure, romance, unforgettable characters, and history MUST read this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2006

    An addictive read

    Everything about this book was great until the end....that's where it got confusing. For me anyway. You may enjoy the suspense though. If your looking for more try the next book, but as for the third if your looking for romance you won't find it. Purely polotics

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2003

    Laugh out loud funny

    I read this book and its sequel Banners of Gold when they were originally released in the 1980s. I enjoy Medieval fiction especially if it combines suspense along with humor--these books were no exception. I found myself laughing out loud at times. Pamela Kaufman's gift of description has the ability of putting the reader there in the story. The reader will not be disappointed.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2003

    Wonderful Read

    I loved this book, my nextdoorneighbor was the one that said I should read it and I did and loved it. All throught the book there were twists and turns and many surprises. The only thing I didn't get (don't read if u haven't read the book) was the relationship between Alix and Richard. I don't understand if he is homeosexual or not...If someone has read the book and understands please e mail me and explain it to me. All in all a great book, really loved it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2002

    Great escapist reading

    I just bought these books (this one and the Banners of Gold sequel) recently and was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable they were to read. I love historical fiction that isn't just your normal, run-of-the-mill romance novel, and these books are perfect. I can't believe no one else has picked up on this and written a review! The author manages to inject humor and reality into a farfetched plot with great skill. Some of her descriptions regarding sanitary issues are at once disgusting and hilarious. I may have laughed out loud a couple of times.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

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