A King’s Ransom by Sharon Penman

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No Blondel! Yes, all right, I accept that the Blondel story is just a legend, but it’s such a nice legend, LOL! However, the wonderful Sharon Penman prefers to be as historically accurate as possible, so Blondel doesn’t feature in this excellent book about Richard I’s return from the Third Crusade and the remainder of his reign!

The book continues for a while after Richard’s death, and also covers the death of his sister Joanna. She’s a major character in the book, as is Richard’s wife Berengaria of Navarre, who often gets sadly little attention from either historians or writers of historical fiction. So too is Richard’s mother, the glorious Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of my favourite historical personalities of all time.

The book is superbly written, as are all Sharon Penman’s books, and includes excellent author’s note explaining what’s known fact, what’s generally accepted if not known for definite and what is her own interpretation of people and events. I don’t particularly like Richard “the Lionheart” and never have done, but he’s a fascinating figure and this is a very, very good book.

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