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Falls the Shadow (Welsh Princes #2)

4.38  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,937 Ratings  ·  300 Reviews
Simon de Montfort was a man ahead of his time in the thirteenth century, a disinherited Frenchman who talked his way into an English earldom and marriage with a sister of the English king, Henry III. A charismatic, obstinate leader, Simon soon lost patience with the king's incompetence and inability to keep his word, and found himself the champion of the common people.

Paperback, 592 pages
Published August 19th 2008 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published April 1st 1988)
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Krista Baetiong Tungol
Words fail me. Just leaving you with this image to let you know what I thought of this book.


This is a book of two halves. The first starts just after Here be Dragons finished, so we are reacquainted with Llewelyn the Great, his warring sons, his daughter and his awful daughter-in-law, as well as meeting his adorable little grandson Llelo. This first half tells the tale of the bitter ongoing struggle for control of Wales between Lleweyln’s sons (and later his grandsons), and the marriages of his daughter. We also meet his late wife’s siblings, Henry III of England and Eleanor (Nell), wh ...more
With the exception of a few authors, I've found most Historical fiction to be too factual and not dramatic enough. In cases where the drama was heavy, the facts are off (i.e. look at BRAVEHEART; great film but missing some Historical points, like the fact that the princess was about 7 or 8 at the time). Anyway, I know my standards are high but that's the way it is and that's why I'm very glad I've found Penman.
This tale centers around the power struggle between Earl Simon de Montfort, a true His
Feb 02, 2009 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK... I am loving this author and this Welsh Trilogy. Book Two starts up where the Here Be Dragons ends and completes the story of Llewelyn, the Prince of Wales, and his wife Joanna. The story then picks up with Llewelyn's sons and grandsons and their conflicts and turmoil as rulers of Wales. That story line runs parallel with the story of Simon de Montfort's rise to power. Simon is a French Nobleman who marries Eleanor (Nell) sister of King Henry III of England. Nell is also the Lady Joanna's h ...more
Richard Wise
Apr 17, 2015 Richard Wise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Falls The Shadow is the story of Simon de Montfort. Though I have read fairly widely in English history, it has been undisciplined and spotty. In fact, most of what I have learned about the 13th Century has come from Sharon Kay Penman---so I cannot say much about the accuracy of her characterization.

Still, a novel is not a history book and I must say that her characterization of de Montfort, his wife and Edward Long Shanks, the Prince about to be king was vivid, compelling and no one writing a
Mar 17, 2016 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Seldom have I read a historic novel that stays so close to the documented facts, while at the same time being thrilling and engaging on every page.
There was no point where I lost concentration or interest.
Penman really makes the characters and events come alive.
Falls the Shadow is the sequel to Here Be Dragons and is the story of two great men- Simon de Montfort, the principal leader of the Baronial opposition to Henry III, and the progenitor of representative democracy in England. It also featu
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
I'll admit from the start that I read Falls the Shadow soon after The Sunne in Splendour; this book, while not bad, suffered by comparison. Besides, I can't read too much of one author too quickly without becoming annoyed by her quirks. That said, Falls the Shadow was something of a disappointment.

First the good. As always with Penman's books, I learned a lot. I knew little about the time period and this book brought it to life. The major players are excellently drawn: Henry III, Simon de Montf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 28, 2016 LemonLinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the story of Simon de Montford, his family and their connection to the Welshmen in this book. I felt as though I learned much about British history through reading this book and was continually amazed and somewhat appalled at the constant threat of violence with which they lived and how family members were so often willing to sell one another out to their sworn enemies.

Penman did breathe life into these historical figures with her writing such that the stories as she wrote them are be
Mar 14, 2016 Fergie rated it really liked it
** 3 1/2 - 4 stars**

At the start of this second book in Sharon Kay Penman classic Welsh prince series, the author explains the title via T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men":

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

A poetically apt title, Falls the Shadow follows the lives of thirteenth century French born Simon de Montfort. Penman hooks the romantic by telling of de Montfort's famous love for infamous Plantagenet King John's youngest daughter, Eleanor "Nell" of Lei
I am a little ashamed that I had never heard of Simon de Montfort prior to reading this book. No, more than a little ashamed - truly aghast. If you have never heard of him either, or of the Second Baron's Rebellion, this book is a must read. As I read in someone else's review, I like my history "in story form", and this is about as good as it gets - both for the writing itself and for the gripping nature of the history at its core. Simon was the ultimate rebel - what all true rebels should hope ...more
Christie Stratos
This is a good historical fiction piece that's generally well written and has a lot of interesting parts, but does spend too long on some very dry pieces of history that I supposed even the author had trouble making interesting. Parts of it were excellent, parts were good, and parts were boring. It was a little longer than it needed to be, but still a good read.
Apr 25, 2014 Shawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sharon Penman is a fantastic novelist and a first rate historian. After you read her books you feel as if you have had an entire upper level university course in English history. I knew little about the Second Baron's Revolt and the Kingdom of Wales but now I do! Terrific reading for anyone interested in medieval historical fiction!
Lisa (Harmonybites)
"Here Be Dragons" is probably my favorite Penman novel, with "Sunne in Splendour" it's only rival. "Falls the Shadow" and "The Reckoning" are the two other parts of Penman's "Welsh Princes" Trilogy and I avoided them for years based on the titles and knowledge of its contents alone. "Here Be Dragons" is a rarity among Penman's fiction--essentially a love story, one with a happy, if somewhat bittersweet ending. She makes you fall in love with medieval Wales in that book and knowing history--and s ...more
May 22, 2016 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Welsh Prince series is well written and riveting. The brutality of the time is interesting while gritty to read. The author does a wonderful job breathing life into these historical characters and give unique insight of what might driven the people to do what is now recorded (somewhat) in time.
Jan 26, 2015 Zoe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second of Sharon Kay Penman’s excellent Welsh Princes trilogy. This concerns the later lives of Llewelyn the Great, his beloved wife Joanna (daughter of the decidedly evil King John), and introduces us to their descendants and extended family. In particular Joanna’s feckless half-brother Henry III, their spirited half-sister Eleanor (Nell) and her heroic husband Simon de Montfort.

It also continues the sad litany of Welsh brothers fighting each other when they should have united agai
At first, I was puzzled by the description of this book. The second in the “Welsh Princes” series, the description made no mention of Wales or Welsh characters, it sounded to be entirely about Simon de Montfort and Henry III. But I should have known that an SKP book would never be that one dimensional. The first half of the book strongly features Llelo, the grandson of Llywelyn the Great, a central character in the preceding Here Be Dragons. It pretty much picks up right where Here Be Dragons fi ...more
I really couldn't go wrong with this book - Plantagenets, Simon de Montfort, Welsh princes, romance, war, tragedy . . . and, of course, Penman. I feel like I don't even need to point out that Penman creates believable, well-developed characters while staying as historically accurate as possible. Everyone who has read any of her novels already knows that, right? In this particular novel Simon de Montfort is the main character expertly brought to life with a huge cast of supporting characters (Hen ...more
Sep 22, 2011 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't praise Sharon Kay Penman highly enough! As regards her work, it almost doesn't feel like reading a novel but rather a transportation into another long ago world - I feel like I'm there in the background of every scene watching characters interact and events unfold. This world she creates is so real, solid and deep; it's three dimensional. Her novels are 'meaty'!! 'Falls the Shadow', the story of rebellious Earl, Simon de Montfort, is no different. It is rich in detail, beautifully writte ...more
May 06, 2014 Yarrow rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
not anything like as good as The Sunne in Splendour (which is magnificent), or the unfortunately-titled but excellent Here Be Dragons. This story is more or less the story of Simon de Montfort's efforts to reform England to a constitutional monarchy in the thirteenth century. Unfortunately, it's highly expository, and spends far too much time on details and not enough on character development. Penman creates and then abandons minor characters all over the place, leaving the reader with the sense ...more
I started this book immediately after finishing the first in the trilogy, Here Be Dragons. It took me longer to read this one due to a schedule that didn't allow much time for pleasure reading, but that didn't diminish the power of Ms. Penman's narrative. As in Here Be Dragons, Ms. Penman delivers all one could ask for in a work of historical fiction -- an accurate accounting of historical events, amazing insight into the hearts and minds of her characters, and scenes that draw you in so complet ...more
Kelly Grossmann
I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as all the others, but I did enjoy it. I was a little upset because it wasn't so much about the Welsh Princes as I had hoped. I have to admit that I new nothing about any of the characters in the book. I think the character of Simon de Montfort is extroadinary. He really was the first person to try to limit the powers of the Kings of England, and he almost succeeded. I think the only thing he misjudged was the common people of England. Yes, the Provisions w ...more
Sep 25, 2015 Kathrine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Falls the Shadow by Sharon Kay Penman,was amazing. Simon de Montfoet was a remarkable man, Very clever and formidable. The way he stood up for people's rights and fought the King and the establishment to set them in place was commendable. I was not aware that England persecuted the Jews to such an extent: Quote, " We are barred from the craft and trade guilds. We are not permitted to sell our goods in your market places. Your church forbids us to work for Christians, or to employ them. Because w ...more
Sharon Kay Penman is an excellent writer, and I love how she brings history to life. Although I didn't find this book to be as absorbing as Here Be Dragons, I loved learning about Simon de Montfort, the Frenchman who made such a lasting impression on English history--especially as a hero to the commoners. The last third of the book was too battle oriented for my taste--I felt like I was studying for a test on thirteenth century England; nevertheless, I am curious to follow the history of the de ...more
Geoff Boxell
Feb 18, 2016 Geoff Boxell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Up to Sharon Penman's usual high standard. What always gets me is that de Montford was Norman, but what he tried to establish was in fact a system similar to what teh Englsh had before teh Norman Conquest.
Jul 21, 2012 Kristy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved the first book in this series, "Here Be Dragons". This 2nd book is good, and worth the read, but definitely not as good as the first. The first I couldn't put down - this one is much easier to pick up and put down. It reads a bit more like historical blurbs at times. And though I did like the characters, I never came close to feeling as attached to them as I did to Llewelyn & Joanna, and King John for that matter, in the first book. I'd never heard of Simon de Montfort before ...more
Stephen McQuiggan
Feb 25, 2016 Stephen McQuiggan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simon de Montfort takes on England's incompetent king in a battle of reforms that escalates into a battle for the Country's heart. A sweeping epic with characters painted with the finest brushstrokes; constrained by fact it may be, but it is elevated way beyond dry reportage. Tense, exciting, magnificent.
Penman admits in the authors note that the original undertaking was to tell the story of both simon and Llewelyn - and that she realized that wasn't possible in one book. I agree. The early part of this book was just too too much - too many characters, plot lines. Once she narrowed the focus in on simon, the book become one I could barely put down. I thoroughly enjoyed the last two thirds of the book.

So if you are feeling like a burdened reader near the beginning, have faith that it's worth whil
Donie Nelson
Jul 14, 2016 Donie Nelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are curious about the history of Wales: the why & how it became the first of the kingdoms of the British Isles to be annexed by England, then start with the author's "Here be Dragons." Next read "Falls the Shadow". I had heard of Simon de Montfort and his "war" and other achievements, but never really understood who he was & what he was doing--until I read this book. He is another bridge between the Magna Carta and the U.S. Constitution. Ahead of his time, de Montfort believed tha ...more
It is probably inevitable that when you fall in love with a book, any similar book you read afterwards will not quite measure up. My first exposure to thirteenth century Welsh history was Edith Pargeters Gwyneth Quartet. I loved it (except some places about two thirds of the way through where she lost the characters in political detail.) But for whatever reason, I find myself comparing Penman to Pargeter and preferring the latter.

Pargeters characterization of Davydd ap Gruffydd is much more sym
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Historical Fictio...: Group Series: Falls the Shadow- Book 2 20 186 Nov 01, 2013 05:46AM  
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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
More about Sharon Kay Penman...

Other Books in the Series

Welsh Princes (3 books)
  • Here be Dragons (Welsh Princes, #1)
  • The Reckoning  (Welsh Princes, #3)

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“Men kill for many reasons, they steal but for one-greed.” 12 likes
“He looked upon this verdant, blossoming spring, a spring Joanna would never see, he looked upon a field of brilliant blue flowers- the bluebells Joanna had so loved- and at that moment he'd willingly have bartered all his tomorrows for but one yesterday.” 3 likes
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