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The Sunne in Splendour

4.4  ·  Rating Details ·  16,657 Ratings  ·  1,045 Reviews
A glorious novel of the controversial Richard III - a monarch betrayed in life by his allies and betrayed in death by history.

In this beautifully rendered modern classic, Sharon Kay Penman redeems Richard III - vilified as the bitter, twisted, scheming hunchback who murdered his nephews, the princes in the Tower - from his maligned place in history with a dazzling combinat
Paperback, 936 pages
Published January 14th 1990 by Ballantine Books (first published 1982)
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Nora Not that I know of. I think this book is it. It follows the characters for a long journey .Richard from childhood to adulthood, marriage and so on.…moreNot that I know of. I think this book is it. It follows the characters for a long journey .Richard from childhood to adulthood, marriage and so on. But the author's other books cover other royal family sotries. "Here Be Dragons" is the first of three books that follows Welsh royalty lives (brothers) and bloodline. I'm currently reading it myslef. ^_^(less)

Community Reviews

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Nov 17, 2011 StoryTellerShannon rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: elaine avlakeotes
This was Penman's first novel and still one of my favorites. A little trivia: she actually hand wrote a good deal of this novel, lost it and then started all over again. That's commitment! SUNNE traces the life of Richard III, breaking it into three sections of this 800+ page novel:

PART ONE sheds light on that confusing Historical time known as the Wars of the Roses (back in the day I never "got it" until I read this piece). For those who never truly understood it, you will get a better grasp
I've become hooked on Richard III. We all know what he's accused of, but until recently, I've never given much thought to his defence. After reading various accounts of him and his contemporaries, I've realised that history, based on Tudor propaganda, could have very badly betrayed him.

The Sunne In Splendour covers his entire life from the age of about 7. In a 900 page book, the first third read like an increasingly interesting history lesson, but then the more personal story-telling side kicke
Bookdragon Sean
"Richard was utterly surrounded by Stanley soldiers, hemmed in on all sides. He’d lost his axe, was lashing out with his sword, gripping it with both hands and swinging in like a scythe as more and more men fought with each other to get close enough to strike him, beating against his armour, with mace and halberd In a frenzy of fear and rage, White Surrey was going up again and Francis saw a pike thrust go into the animal’s unprotected belly. The stallion screamed in agony and crashed heavily to ...more
Ana T.
Dec 02, 2007 Ana T. rated it it was amazing
Sharon Kay Penman's biography of Richard III is one of my favorite books of all time. I have hesitated in writing this review for quite a while because I'm not sure I can do it justice.

Born into an England ripped apart by the bloody War of the Roses, Richard was in awe of his older brother Edward. He stayed loyal to his brother and loyal to Anne Neville, the daughter of the enemy. It was this loyalty that was his strength, and finally his undoing.

There are many things to enjoy. Her construction
Apr 20, 2007 Mansoor rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who hate Richard III
When my friend described The Sunne in Splendour as "a historical fiction about two English kings," I thought, "Sounds like a real page turner." But, it is a real page turner. I've never found English history so fascinating.

This was my first experience with the genre of historical fiction. Naively, I always assumed the writers chose between history and fiction. But, this book was written by a well-known English historian, and the fiction only supplements the history. That's what makes it exciting
Apr 19, 2010 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A GR friend just started reading this. I read it many, many years ago and added it in 'bulk' when I first joined GR's without an adequate review. It deserves so much more than that. When I'm asked the question 'what is your favorite book', without a moments hesitation, this is the novel that springs off my lips. The Sunne in Slpendour began my love affair with historical fiction and it is as close to a perfect novel as can be written. It has action, adventure, and characters that I will never fo ...more
B the BookAddict
May 28, 2014 B the BookAddict rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Historical fiction, Tudor history lovers
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Elaine
Shelves: best-of-the-best

The story evolves around Edward IV and Richard III (and lots of other characters) with a plot so rich, you could be forgiven in thinking that it is pure fiction. Simply too involved to summarize here; my reactions/comment follow.

With a novel this lengthy, you really need a hearty liking of Tudor based stories. I didn't realize that I had so enjoyed Richard III's story until the last 50 pages or so, when I found I had deliberately slowed my reading because I simply did not want to come to the en
This was a wonderful story. Although I was prepared to keep an open mind as to my previous opinions on Richard III (from reading Alison Weir's Princes in the Tower), I was sure I would still come out believing that Richard did the kids. Now I am not so convinced, I am prepared to believe he was a good man. This book also covers much about Edward the IV, Richard's brother. All in all a very good history lesson.

The book was well written, the story line kept me interested through all 900 + pages a
Jan 07, 2016 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my top five favourite historical fiction novels of all time!
What makes Sharon Penman's historical novels set in medieval Britain so amazing is how they combine sticking quite close to historical facts, with making a thrilling read enjoyable to modern readers, together with an engaging cast of characters.
This novel documents English Civil War and the life of Richard of Gloucester from the age of seven in 1459 until his death through treachery at The Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
We ge
Asghar Abbas
Dec 01, 2014 Asghar Abbas rated it really liked it

Belated wordskirtlejoys; so I finally got around to reading this one. Breakneck speed took on another meaning as I plowed through this book and I enjoyed it - for the most part. I did take a lot from this tome on bitter struggle that would eventually lead to the rise of the Tudors, a subject that fascinates me and further fuels my obsession with the 15th century England. This book covers a lot and it is still the best book on War of the Roses, well comparatively. Something has to be said about t
Maria Grazia
Mar 07, 2010 Maria Grazia rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most difficult reviews I’ve ever decided to write. Difficult is … to find the right words when something touches you so deeply. THE SUNNE IN SPLENDOUR is honestly one of the most compelling and gripping novels I’ve ever read and a book to add to my “ the unforgettable”shelf . Actually it is still on my bedside table and it’ll stay there for long. Difficult is also to part from what and whom you love. And I have loved Ms Penman’s Dickon and his heartwarming story so much that i ...more
This is Sharon Penman's first novel, and over the course of 900 pages she deals with the life and times of Richard of Gloucester, the man who was to become Richard III of England. History has not dealt kindly with Richard - Tudor propaganda has dealt him a cruel blow by making him out to be a deformed and evil man who was able to put his nephews to death and contemplate bedding his niece while his beloved wife lay close to death.

In this story, we follow the fortunes of the Yorkists from Richard'
First, a little story - by the books I recently read, it may be obvious that I'm all over medieval England and War of the Roses especially. Funnily enough, I was hardly aware of the subject until March the 3rd, 2012, when I've read a childhood favorite The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson. It takes place during the war and mentions the completely awesome, if a bit of a prick, Duke of Gloucester and the House of York. Obviously, I wanted to know more and this place:
was very he
Gisela Kretzschmar
Mar 30, 2009 Gisela Kretzschmar rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: just any lover of historical fiction.
From the very first pages into this book, I found myself liking the young Richard, and I wondered, "How in the heck can this be the same boy who will grow up to murder his own nephews?" A fiercely loyal and earnest lad, he is the youngest of his family, small, dark and intense and very different from his three tall and fair brothers. He is Richard Plantagenet, who, as King Richard III, will go down in history as the epitome of evil, a murderous usurper.

Murderer he wasn't, claims Sharon Penman.
Krista Baetiong Tungol
The Wars of the Roses is a new territory for me, and having invested in 12th-13th century Plantagenet and Anglo-Saxon histories for so long, I admit I’d been a little hesitant of breaking into an unfamiliar historical era. Before this read, I absolutely knew nothing about the York and Lancaster wars; I actually wondered at first why the Wars of the Roses was named as such (yeah, silly me!), and later recognized Cersei’s infamous walk of shame in Game of Thrones in Jane Shore’s public penance. An ...more
Feb 10, 2017 Carmen rated it it was amazing
"Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried".

Richard III has been linked to that monologue for as long as I can remember. I was just a kid when I heard those words for the first time spoken by no other than Al Pacino. It was on a documentary called "Looking for Richard" where he tried to explain how difficult it was to portray him. I wasn't paying attention but those words lingered
Steven Peterson
Jan 16, 2010 Steven Peterson rated it it was amazing
Historical fiction can be done well--or badly. This novel is in the former category. Sharon Kay Penman's book traces the story of Edward IV and Richard III and those surrounding them. Treachery is a continuing undercurrent in this work (and in the actual history of the times; this is not a literary device).

As with most historical novels of this era, it's hard to keep track of the cast of characters. It would have been helpful to have had genealogical tables to help in reading the book and making
Jun 22, 2014 Jennifer rated it liked it
This is a difficult one for me to review. I think Sharon Kay Penman is a very talented author, and her novel "Here Be Dragons" is my favourite novel of all time, but I have very mixed feelings about this one. Perhaps it's because I already have my own opinions upon this period of English history after so many years of reading about the Cousins War, but there are just some things about this novel that seriously grate on me. First and foremost, the portrayal of the Woodville family. If Richard III ...more
Nov 30, 2008 Ikonopeiston rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ricardians, history buffs
Shelves: ricardian, kindle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 03, 2012 Lill rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Roman Clodia
Feb 09, 2017 Roman Clodia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a superb historical novel set during the War of the Roses and the aftermath, ending with the reign and death of Richard III.

Both the golden Edward IV and Richard himself come alive in all their human frailties and excellencies, and Penman never fights shy of dealing with the complexities of political power: getting it, maintaining it, and the impact it has on the human life and soul.

A perfect lesson in how to write a historical novel that doesn't skim over the history and yet makes it al
Aug 15, 2012 James rated it liked it
Recommends it for: historical fiction readers
Recommended to James by: a fan of Hillary Mantel
Hillary Mantel fans Will Enjoy This Rehabilitation of Richard III .

History enthusiasts and those who enjoy Hillary Mantel’s best selling historical fiction novels Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies will almost certainly enjoy Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour. Whereas, Mantel presents a more plausible rehabilitation of the often vilified Thomas Cromwell in her two novels of the early Tudor court, Penman attempts to go much farther with Richard III. This novel is interesting and extremel
This is an excellent historical novel. It is pretty much the Wars of the Roses in a nutshell, and is a very plausible account of how it all may have happened. The novel is meticulously researched and crafted with care. Whilst familiar with the history, the novel made me aware of how tragic Richard III's life was.
Moonlight Reader
Aug 31, 2016 Moonlight Reader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: w-o-b-b-l-e
No one writes historical fiction like Sharon Kay Penman.
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
I'd read one of Penman's books before, and was impressed, but this one really blew me away.

For starters, I like historical fiction but don't usually read the sort that stars real historical figures. The characters in such books often lack personality and the plots are frequently dull. Happily, The Sunne in Splendour bears no resemblance to such books.

This is the story of the War of the Roses, spanning 33 years, from 1459 to 1492. It's also the story of Richard III, one of the most vilified kin
This is the first book by Sharon Kay Penman that I've read and I have to say that I'm very impressed. Penman does an amazing job of laying before the reader the tangled web of deceit that surrounded the reigns of Edward IV and Richard III in way that makes it easy to understand.

This is the story of The War of the Roses and the life of Richard III. We follow Richard Plantagenet, Duke of Gloucester, 'Dickon', as his family calls him, through the deaths of his father and brother, the rise of his b
Nov 07, 2013 Jane rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-reading
I have had it in mind for a long time that I would re-read ‘The Sunne in Splendour’ one day. It wasn’t quite the first historical novel I read, but it was one of the first; it was the book that made me realise that made me realise that research and writing could be brought together to make history live and breathe, it was the book that made me understand the consequences of history being written by the victors, and it was the book that was the first step on a particular reading journey.

I hadn’t
Marty :}
Jun 02, 2016 Marty :} rated it it was amazing
“I think the day might come, Bess, when all men will know of Dickon is what they were told by Tudor historians like Rous.”

Sadly, the day had come and I'm more than heartbroken by all this. For the man that had as his motto 'Loyalty binds me' to be betrayed so many times by his allies and then be betrayed by history is something so bad, I can't even put my feelings into words. I feel like The War of Roses was a period full of tragedy, a period that wasn't merciful to anyone. But Richard III had
Feb 02, 2011 Suzanne rated it really liked it
It’s no secret that Sharon Kay Penman is one of my favorite authors of historical fiction. She is well-researched and Penman makes history come alive in a way that the textbooks could never do. I have read this book before and like my earlier reading, I loved it.

This is the story of England’s King Richard III. The battle that begins the book sets the stage for this family’s (the Yorkists) takeover of the crown from the House of Lancaster. Ultimately, Richard’s father and brother, Edmund are kill
Anita Elder
This is my all-time favorite historical fiction book! It's long, but I found myself hanging on to every word.

The book is about the War of the Roses - that is, the Yorks (Plantagenet) against the Lancasters (Tudors) and starts when King Richard III is a little boy. It follows his brother, King Edward IV's battles to win and hold the crown. It also tells the story of how Warwick, nicknamed the king maker, helped Edward gain the throne and later betrayed him (even though he was a clos
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  • The Scarlet Lion (William Marshal, #3)
  • Treason
  • The Seventh Son
  • A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury
  • Richard the Third
  • The Sun in Splendour (Plantagenet Saga, #14)
  • The Rose of York: Crown of Destiny (The Rose of York Trilogy, #2)
  • Within the Fetterlock
  • We Speak No Treason
  • Legacy
  • Daughter of York
  • I Am the Chosen King (Saxon #1)
  • The Broken Sword
Penman received her bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin, she majored in history, and also received a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Rutgers University School of Law, and later worked as a tax lawyer. Penman suffered from an eighteen month bout with mononucleosis.

The Sunne in Splendour, a novel about Richard III of England is one of the most popular books on the Historical Nov
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“We tend to forget at times that it is the little ones, the children, who do suffer the greatest hurt. If we cannot comprehend why certain sorrows are visited upon us, how on earth can they?” 67 likes
“Men are born to sin…What does matter most, is not that we err, it is that we do benefit from our mistakes, that we are capable of sincere repentance, of genuine contrition.” 34 likes
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