Here be Dragons (Welsh Princes #1)
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
Then a few years ago, I vowed to completely finish every book I start. The unintended consequence of this stricter policy is that my “currently-reading” shelf exploded. I am up to thirteen books – most of which I lost interest in a few months (or even a year) ago, but feel pressure to pick back up. Honestly, looking at that shelf fills me with dread.
Just when I was considering reverting to my fifty-pages...more
First, this is NOT an easy read. The edition I checked out contained more than 700 thin pages of small print. Second, it's historical fiction about a time in history I had no prior knowledge of - 13th c...more
Here are some good reasons to read Penman:
(1) EVOCATIVE IMAGERY: the words flow with apparent ease, opening the reader's mind to a new world; you can see this mentioned in some of the more popular reviews below;
(2) VIBRANT, I...more
The book tells the story of Llewelyn, the Prince of North Wales, and his rise to power and fame as Llewelyn the Great and his great love, Joanna, the illegitimate daughter of King John. In the quest for Wales Llewelyn and King...more
Sharon Kay Penman is absolutely amazing. The characters in Here be Dragons live and breath like I would never have thought possible for people that died almost 800 years ago. Almost all of the major characters are factually based, and Penman says that she also cast her secondary characters from real-life molds. Maintaining historical accuracy in how these people thought, spoke and lived makes their vivid reality even more amazing. There are dozens o...more
First all of I was excited when the book came in the mail and it was a version I had not seen. I loved the cover and the fact that it was the imported paperback. I know this has nothing to do with the writing, but I'm a sucker for a nice cover.
When you read this book, you need a quiet corner with no distractions. You need to be able to emerge yourself into Penman's saga to enjoy it to it's fullest. The main chara...more
I read a lot of English history books, whereas this is my first foray into Welsh history. Perhaps that's why I preferred the goings-on in King John’s court to that in Llewelyn the Great’s - I was more familiar with the people and events...more
A co-worker recommended this author. So far, I...more
Despite a time period anchored and defined by war, Penman does a good job of giving you a few snippets of exciting w...more
It is multi-layered. On the one hand it's about the power struggle between England and Wales in the 1200s. On the other hand it's about the relationship between Joanna (illegitimate daughter of King John) and Llewelyn (prince of Wales).
I have never read a book with better characterization. The people are real and complex. There isn't a bad guy, per se, and that adds to the reality. You can always see the situations through everyone's eyes, so you can s...more
At first, I had a real problem 28 year old men marrying 12/14 year olds, but after I got over it, I became completely engrossed in the book. I love being able to make English connections and this swashbuckling novel is no exception. It features King Richard the Lionheart and his "cowardly" brother King John. The more I read about John Plantagenet, the more I don't like him, des...more
To be honest, this book took me about a month to plod through. The difficult names and interweaving of families made the characters a bit difficult to keep straight, and the 700 paged tiny typed aspect didn't help. That being said, this is truly a beautiful book written about 1300 England and Wales. The book carefully balances historical fact with compelling plot points without tying the book to boring battles or bogging it down in overly graphic romance. The last 200 pages sped...more
I loved it. I lost a lot of much-needed sleep reading "just one more chapter" and was entertained and educated at the same time. I had a little trouble with the Welsh (can I please buy a vowel???) and am usually irritated with books where my reading is clumsy because of my inability to pronounce som...more
The copy listed in the swap is for the mass-market paperback edition....more
It's not a perfect book by any means but it did keep me captivated. I enjoyed seeing John as a father figure, he's not often portrayed the way he was here. There were lulls in the story but there was always something to hold my interest.
A wonderful story and a gifted storyteller.
The four male sons of H...more
One of the few co...more
The Sunne in Splendour, a novel about Richard III of England is one of the most popular books on the Historical Nov...more