This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise, This fortress built by Nature for herself Against infection and the hand of war, This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands,-- This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England. ~~William Shakespeare, Richard III

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Alphabet in Historical Fiction Challenge: D

Whew! Just barely getting mine in on time!!

Each fortnight the ladies at Historical Tapestry will post a new letter of the alphabet and you do a blog post about a work of historical fiction that has that letter:
  • as the first letter in the title
  • as the first letter of the author's first or last name
  • the first letter of a character's first or last name
  • the first letter of a place where an historical event took place
So here is my post for the fourth letter of this challenge: D

Here Be Dragons, Sharon Kay Penman

From the back cover:

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.

I absolutely, positively loved this book. Sharon Kay Penman is really a top notch storyteller. I could not put this one down! Llewelyn and Joanna's story is simply amazing and so full of life and love. You can't help but fall in love with Llewelyn - he is so courageous and honorable and passionate. I want to travel to Wales just in the hopes of seeing him appear somewhere! Joanna is such a complex and changing character throughout - from a young, scared girl married into a strange land to a woman desperately in love with her husband but torn with loyalty to her father to a mature woman who knows she has to live with the consequences of her actions. There are many other intriguing and well developed characters running around, including Joanna's father, King John, and Llewelyn's arrogant son, Gruffydd. As usual, Penman's descriptions, this time of Wales and its people and their traditions and customs, really help to bring to life a time very distant from our own and one that most are not familiar with. I think a true sign of a good author is when you can close your eyes and really see what they are talking about; you feel like you can almost reach out and touch it. That is achieved magnificently in this novel. I can not wait to read the next two books in the trilogy, Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning.

*I will be posting a more detailed review in a few days.


  1. Sharon Penman is definitely one of the best HF writers - my book for D was her Devil's Brood and it was fantastic too.

  2. This sounds great...looking forward to your detailed review!

  3. This is such a fantastic read, and I am so glad you chose to spotlight this book!

    Thanks for your continued participation in the challenge!

  4. I'm reading When Christ and His Saints Slept right now - choosing the chronological order method so I will get to HBD in either 3 or 4 books' time, depending on whether Lionheart is out. Looking forward to it!

  5. Moppet, I don't think you'll be disappointed!