Here Be Dragons: A Novel

Here Be Dragons: A Novel

by Sharon Kay Penman
4.7 109

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Overview

Here Be Dragons: A Novel by Sharon Kay Penman

Thirteenth-century Wales is a divided country, ever at the mercy of England's ruthless, power-hungry King John. Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, secures an uneasy truce by marrying the English king's beloved illegitimate daughter, Joanna, who slowly grows to love her charismatic and courageous husband. But as John's attentions turn again and again to subduing Wales---and Llewelyn---Joanna must decide where her love and loyalties truly lie.

The turbulent clashes of two disparate worlds and the destinies of the individuals caught between them spring to life in this magnificent novel of power and passion, loyalty and lies. The book that began the trilogy that includes Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning, Here Be Dragons brings thirteenth-century England, France, and Wales to tangled, tempestuous life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429922999
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 05/27/2008
Series: Welsh Princes Trilogy , #1
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 720
Sales rank: 64,976
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Sharon Kay Penman is the author of six critically acclaimed historical novels and four medieval mysteries, one of which was a finalist for an Edgar Award for Best First Mystery from the Mystery Writers of America.


For many years while she was a student and then a lawyer, Sharon Kay Penman slowly but steadily worked on a novel about the life of Richard III. However, after finishing the manuscript, her only copy was stolen from her car in a busy parking lot. Devastated but resolved, Penman rewrote the entire novel, which became The Sunne in Splendour. Originally published in 1982, it became a favorite of readers and critics alike, and she soon quit her job to write full-time. Penman is the author of several critically acclaimed historical novels and medieval mysteries, one of which, The Queen's Man, was a finalist for an Edgar Award for Best First Mystery from the Mystery Writers of America.

Customer Reviews

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Here Be Dragons (Welsh Princes Series #1) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 102 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This fascinating novel is a must for any lover of court intrigue. It's based on the life of Joanna, the illegitimate daughter of King John. She is married off at an early age to help cement the peace between her father and Llewelyn the Great, king of Wales. Once in Wales, she must establish herself as a wife and a queen in a culture whose rules are quite different from those of England. What follows is as captivating as any romance novel. Even better is knowing that the story, though fictionalized, is based on real people and events. "Here Be Dragons" is highly recommended for readers of Philippa Gregory and anyone who likes their historic fiction to be firmly grounded in historic fact.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Read this book at least 3 times. I am from Wales and just loved how the author described the Welsh people and Landscapes, all so true. A really good read into life of the 12th century.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful read...simply sorrowful to put it down. (Deep and satisfied sigh)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first Penman novel I read and it's a whopper. I had serious doubts about it in the first chapter...I wasn't certain I'd be able to keep all of the historical figures straight and my unfamiliarity with anything Welsh made it difficult to follow at first. But as it turns out, after that first chapter, I simply could not put this book down. This is not a cheap romance book, folks. Rather, it is an extremely compelling historical novel in which Penman takes real-life people and fills in the historical blanks (personal details which we have no way of knowing for certain). Her research is absolutely meticulous and where historical mistakes are made, she acknowledges them on her website. Whether you are a medieval historian or just curious about this period of history, Penman will deliver a first-rate history lesson and a great tale at the same time.
jtchun3 More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books. It was great to reread this book. She is a really good and writes historical fiction with the best of them.
acjmom More than 1 year ago
I have been reading historic fiction since I was about 12. Penman has ruined me for any author. She is that great. That fact she uses so very few fictional characters makes her books all the better. I always say she does not romanticize the story, but instead humanizes these people from the past and makes them so alive. I believe they said and did these things she has written. Her woman are so contemporary and vital. The men so human, flaws and all. I hate whenever I finish a book, but love to start the next. Unfortunately, I've read them all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I stumbled upon Sharon Kay Penman's books when looking for historical fiction about Eleanor of Aquitaine. What a find! I am only sorry that I have now read most of her books, so don't have too much to look forward to. She brings the characters and medieval times to life and I have a real problem putting her books down. If you enjoy historical fiction, you will love this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Only read this if you can dedicate the hours it takes to complete the book. It is an amazing time suck. Sadly I learned more about history (minus the authors character liberties) than sitting for an entire semester through Western Civilization pt. 1
MKMar More than 1 year ago
Loved this book, it was so interesting and informative. Never had I realized what Wales went through at the hands of the British--I thought it was just Ireland. It was a book I found hard to put down. I love historically accurate novels and this is one of my favorites.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw all those reviews of people who had read this book only three times and well I have read it so much that the book is falling apart. I absolutely think that this is the best book for someone needing a good get away read. The characters are enchanting and their lessons still hold true today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading the 3 books in the trilogy I confess that I can't forget Llewlyn and Joanna.... What an amazing story...I keep saying to myself "he took her back". I wish that every queen could be so loved. I am ready to read the books again. I did not want it to end. The series is informative and interesting with enough romance to be engaging. What a view of history. You will laugh and cry and talk to yourself and you will love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Penman never disappoints -- another page-turner.
jmn246 More than 1 year ago
Sharon Kay Penman writes a wonderfully rich story. She makes the scenery come alive. In this story she has made history an easy read. I definately recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed it. You can tell she researched her material thoroughly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sadly I never knew much about Wales and now I am fascinated. This story and the entire saga was addicting from start to end. I couldn't get enough. Sharon Kay Penman has out done herself again.
drsped More than 1 year ago
I will admit that it took about 75 pages before I started to 'get into' the book but once I did, I could not put it down. I am now wanting to read the other books in this series. Penman does a great job of bringing a history with spare written accounts to life. I enjoy reading historical novels and overall was impressed with her ability to write an intriguing story.
janalee1951 More than 1 year ago
Excellent and I just did not want the book to end. I realize this is historical fiction, but I loved the way Penman developed the characters and I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy. I find myself googling a lot of the events in the book just to get more background and Penman is always right on target with the historical events. I knew nothing about Welsh history until I started this book, which has caused me to look up more information on the time period and events. I will say I'm glad I read the Penman's Henry and Eleanor of Aquataine trilogy first because it helped a great deal to lay the ground work for the Welsh trilogy and a glimpse of the Welsh history prior to Joan going to Wales. My goal is once I finish this trilogy is to read the rest of Penman's books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up our library which sells donated books. It looked interesting, so I gave it a try. I was hooked and read it in 3 days. Then I went out and got all of Sharon Kay Penman's books. I can't wait to read the newest one. Her books arefilled with mystery, intrigue and yes, accurate historical facts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mary Kay Penman, in my view, has a golden touch with her research, study, and historical fiction about a period that still captures many around the world. I couldn't put it down, and upon finishing it, I had to scarf up all the others. Mary, Great Job, Thanks, Please consider other periods as well. Although the misteries are great, your historical fictional ones capture many hearts, it has mine....
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my third reading of this book, and 'wow', it still ranks on top of my list. What a maginficent story! Why did it end? If not for the little time and the many books I want to read, I would have started to read it again the very moment I finished it. Never have I missed characters of a book so much as I missed Llewellyn Fawr! The reading of this book made me visit Wales, and since that first time, I have been there so often that a part of me belongs in Gwynedd. Truly! I fell so much in love with Llewelyn that after this book I have read everything that I find on this subject. I have read all of Ms. Penman's books and loved them all, but HERE BE DRAGONS has a special place in my heart! Thank you, Ms. Penman, for giving us such a magnificent book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked this up to help grasp the time period for a project and I couldn't put it down! I've read every book of hers and I keep waiting for her to release another trilogy
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had happened to pick up this book several years ago after reading the Sunne in Splendour...and I was blown away. I had no idea that Wales was at one time a separate country until I read it!! The descriptions of the landscape are vivid and colorful, while the characters seem like they are almost real. For those interested in this particular time period or this history of Wales in general, this book is a must read. Simply my favorite book ever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JaneReads More than 1 year ago
Very good historical fiction about 13th century Wales. Lots of historical and political detail and some well-drawn characters.
avidreader5001 More than 1 year ago
Do not be put off by the "Welsh Princess" subtitle. The book is actually about the constant confrontations between the Welsh and Normans (England) during the time of King John (1300s). It is amazing how the history is inter-woven with a compelling story. Of course, in addition to conflict there are relationships that are comparable to modern day conflicts. Finally, it is a love story. First bought the book in 08 and have read it many times. It is a stand alone, but you will want to continue to read the other two because of wondering , What happens next? Please read this book, you will not regret it!