Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman


6 Critic Reviews

In the hands of Robert Graves or Mary Renault, the material might have yielded a classic. As it is, a sturdy historical fiction.


“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.

About Sharon Kay Penman

See more books from this Author
Sharon Kay Penman has lived in England and Wales and currently resides in New Jersey. She is the author of six other novels: Falls the Shadow, Here Be Dragons, The Reckoning, The Sunne in Splendour, When Christ and His Saints Slept, and the first Justin de Quincy adventure: The Queen's Man.
Published October 4, 2011 by Marian Wood Books/Putnam. 609 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, War. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Lionheart
All: 6 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 2


Above average
on Sep 15 2011

In the hands of Robert Graves or Mary Renault, the material might have yielded a classic. As it is, a sturdy historical fiction.

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Publishers Weekly

on Aug 15 2011

...he 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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Blog Critics

on Sep 30 2011

There are many char­ac­ters, each of them a world of their own, com­plex, multi-faceted with strange and fas­ci­nat­ing rela­tion­ships among them.

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Book Reporter

on Nov 03 2011

LIONHEART kept me reading, rapt in the descriptions of a rough-and-tumble army camp or the sultry elegance of a Sicilian palace.

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The Bookbag

Above average
on Dec 31 2012

The book is no lightweight read at 600 pages long, but it rewards the reader with a remarkable insight into the life of this misunderstood king.

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Historical Novel Society

Below average

Lionheart is not an easy book to read, as it is filled with an author’s nightmare of similarly named people and a good deal of information-building necessary to illuminate the story.

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