With “The King’s Ransom”, Sharon Penman continues the fascinating story of Richard I, picking up with his travels home from the Crusades. After a long and bloody fight trying to regain Jerusalem, Richard is finally making his way home. But he soon finds out that the dangers he faced against the Saracens are minor compared to the treachery and danger facing him from fellow Christian rulers. Unable to land at formerly friendly ports, Richard and a select group of men must try to make their way home. Just miles from safety after weeks of dangerous travel, Richard is waylaid by a fever that allows for his capture. Held by Heinrich, the Holy Roman Emperor, Richard must not only defend himself against allegations of misconduct during the Crusade but must also find a way to prevent being handed over to the King of France who would love nothing more than to imprison Richard forever while invading his lands. For the first time, Richard is forced to face a loss of freedom that leaves him fearful. Meanwhile, his mother Eleanor of Aquitaine, promises to not only protect her son from the machinations of France but also his own brother, John.
Sharon Penman writes some of the most meticulously researched historical fiction. Her books bring history and characters alive like no others. Before reading Penman’s books on Richard, what I mostly knew about Richard the Lionhearted came from Robin Hood, now I realize just how overlooked this interesting historical figure has been. Fans of English history will want to make sure that Sharon Penman is on their must read list. Having finished "A King's Ransom", I plan on going back and reading Sharon Penman's other books.
Sharon Kay Penman follows up her acclaimed novel Lionheart with the vivid and heart-wrenching story of the last event-filled years in the life of Richard I of England, Coeur de Lion.
November 1192. After his bloody crusade in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Richard and his crew are overcome by a sudden storm, its fierce winds propelling the ship onto the Sicilian shore. But this misfortune is just the beginning. Forced to make a dangerous choice, Richard finds himself in enemy territory, where he is captured—in violation of the papal decree protecting all crusaders—and handed over to the Holy Roman Emperor. Imprisoned in the notorious fortress at Trifels, from which few ever leave alive, Richard, for the first time in his life, experiences pure, visceral fear—while his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, moves heaven and earth to secure his release. Amid betrayals, intrigues, infidelities, wars, and illness, Richard’s courage and intelligence will become legend.
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