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The Reckoning (Welsh Princes #3)

4.43 of 5 stars 4.43  ·  rating details  ·  5,355 ratings  ·  202 reviews
“Penman’s characters are so shrewdly imagined, so full of resonant human feeling that they seem to breathe on the page.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Never forget, Llewelyn, that the world’s greatest fool is a Welshman who trusts an English king.”

His father’s words haunt Llewelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales, whohas been ruling uneasily over his fractious countrymen. Above all
Paperback, 608 pages
Published April 14th 2009 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published January 1st 1991)
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Fall of Giants by Ken FollettThe First Man in Rome by Colleen McCulloughThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret GeorgeThe Reckoning by Sharon Kay Penman
Most historically accurate historical fiction
5th out of 120 books — 43 voters
I Capture the Castle by Dodie SmithHowl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne JonesThe Goose Girl by Shannon HaleStar Crossed by Elizabeth C. BunceThe Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander
Castles on the Cover
148th out of 183 books — 48 voters

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Community Reviews

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My gosh. All I can say is I'm so sad it's over. This was by far the best trilogy I have ever read. Some day I will go back and read them all over again.
Penman can introduce a ton of characters and somehow she writes where you can keep them all straight in your head. She makes you FEEL for these characters until you think you actually know them. I caught myself slowing down and wanting to stop reading because I didn't want it to end! Wonderful. Everyone should read this trilogy!
This book concludes the trilogy to a wonderful Historical novel, centering around the vying powers of Wales and England. It is written in a manner where most readers can relate to the powers on both sides . .. difficult to do especially in the second and third book, when Longshanks or Edward I, comes into the spotlight.
Wales is losing ground and, for the first time, England has a powerful ruler who can take advantage of it. And, he does.

And, as the rulers of Wales plot against each other, Edward
Rating: 4.5 stars

The final book in Penman's Welsh Princes series is even better than the first two; less political, more emotional, and in the last 100 pages, totally heartbreaking.

Adorable little Llelo from Falls the Shadow has grown up into Llewelyn, Prince of Wales, as courageous as his namesake grandfather from Here be Dragons, and facing the same adversaries in the form of treacherous kin and arrogant kings. And talking of kings, I hated Edward I in this, hated him. What a dirty, double-de
Rio (Lynne)
This was the third book in this engrossing and fulfilling trilogy. In book 1 Here be Dragons we are introduced to Llywelyn the Great. He was The Prince of Wales for over 40 years. In Book 2 Falls the Shadow we see the rising of Simon de Montfort who fought for the people of England's civil rights and the continuation of the English and Welsh wars. Falls the Shadow continues the family drama of Llywelyn's children and his grandchild and namesake Llywelyn aka Llelo. In this final trilogy, without ...more
What a great book. Along with an engrossing story I learned much about English history that I had never heard of before. I have to admit, some of the things that came up during the courtship/marriage of Llewellen and Ellen seemed absolutely bizarre, and then I searched the internet on these characters and they did actually happen. Edward I was and is an absolute two timing double faced snake in the grass!!

I won't give it away, but a scene at the end of the book was so heartbreaking I literally
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
The Reckoning is a solid read and a better book than Falls the Shadow, so I give it four stars despite some reservations.

This last installment of Penman's Welsh trilogy covers the years 1271-1283, as Edward I wages war on Wales in his determination to bring the entire island under English rule. Llewelyn ap Gruffyth, grandson of Llewelyn Fawr, is Prince of Wales and, in the same vein as his grandfather, is determined that Wales remain independent and united. Other Welsh lords, most notably Llewe
This one was definitely the most emotional book out of the trilogy - actually, it’s the most emotional SKP book I’ve read yet. Though I always enjoy Penman’s characterizations, I got so attached to the characters in this one (view spoiler) ...more
Two things spurred me to read this trilogy after I first became aware of it - the fact that although I had read a fair amount both fiction and non-fiction on the Tudors& Plantaganets, I had not ventured to the Welsh 'side of the story' so to speak - the other was because our Mum was Welsh. A blanket statement would be that I liked the books, which in a way was almost a given because of the subject matter; more succinctly put, I like her writing style. So, putting the two together and adding ...more
This trilogy was a fantastic adventure! from king John and Llywelyn Fawr to king Edward longshanks and Llywelyn the last, it's been a heart wrenching experience. The magistral writing of SKP in this books achieves greatness. She takes the reader inside the story as an spectator, one can be witness of great moments in history and at the same time of the very personal lives of its characters. I came to love so many characters in this books, that almost dreaded to read the author's note were she wo ...more
Mary Campbell
Aug 21, 2009 Mary Campbell rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anglophiles, readers of hist. fiction
Recommended to Mary by: my brother John originally recommended Penman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen Brooks
Sometimes, it’s really difficult reading the novels of a writer whom you know takes great pains to be historically accurate while still telling a sweeping, dramatic and emotionally fraught tale. So it is with Penman who, in this last book of The Welsh Prince series, brings the story of the struggles of the Welsh prince, Llewelwyn, and the machinations of Edward Longshanks, King of England, to a close.
For those who know the history, you understand the ending is not a happy one and it’s this that
Feb 09, 2009 Lauren rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of historical fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lori Anderson
Mar 24, 2009 Lori Anderson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans, Diana Gabaldon fans
This book was heartbreakingly good. I've read three other books by Penman and each one is such a pleasure to read -- I look forward to my bedtime so much more (and go to bed even earlier!) because I have one of her thick books to read.

You probably already know how marvelous Penman is with her research, but she has a way of building the story that makes it seem so real -- well, real-er than a history book. I was so upset when certain characters died, so sure that they WOULDN'T die because it just
This final instalment of Sharon Penman's 'Welsh Princes' trilogy charts the fortunes of Llewelyn (grandson of the Llewelyn of 'Here Be Dragons') and his wife, Ellen (daughter of Simon de Montfort of 'Falls the Shadow') and their struggles against the ruthless Edward I who is determined to crush Welsh independence. It's no spoiler to say that there is no happy ending as obviously we know Wales is not a separate state and that the title 'Prince of Wales' is held by the heir to the British throne. ...more
Lisa Jensen
Sharon Kay Penman writes about the medieval world and its people with vigor, compassion, and clarity. This concluding chapter in the trilogy that began with Here Be Dragons and Falls the Shadow picks up the drama of stubborn Welsh independence and English conquest in the 13th Century and makes it as immediate as the 6 o'clock news.

The novel begins in 1271, when the struggle for Wales has been passed down like a holy relic to the third generation of players from the three royal houses most concer
Richard Wise
Sharon Kay Penman has done it again.

Very compelling and oh so educational. Everything I know about the 13th Century I learned from Sharon and it didn't hurt a bit. Is this series a bit more romance and a bit less history? Not sure, I have not followed her books chronologically so it is difficult to say if that is her current direction. Well, I am a guy and love that ole blood & guts.

My only regret, I have almost run out of her novels.
Pauline Toohey
The last of the Welsh trilogy.
I can't do better than Penman when looking through the local librray. She adheres strictly to chronicled facts - meticulously researched, and the past is portrayed in beautiful prose.

I picked up one of her books ten years ago - recommended to me - and became an avid fan from then on in.

I'm sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for Penman's next novel.

Erin McDonnell-Jones
LOVED everything about this series (except for the ending, but there's not much that I can do about that). This is definitely ranked as one of my favorite series.
My favorite part of this book was the Afterword and Author's Note at the end.

I read the first two books of the series about 15 years ago. The facts are fascinating! And reading about the facts in fiction form makes them much more palatable and memorable. However! I do not care for Sharon Kay Penman's character 'voices'. I tire of the forced dialogue. What I love is the research she puts behind her characters. Who knew that King Edward had a softer side! And her research backs it up.

I'm glad I'
Beautifully written... for certes. ... This is one of my few adventures into this type of historical fact-fiction. (I couldn't finish a different one where some other author wrote a prose fictional-historical chronicle of Macbeth... just had to put that one down... ) This one: Immensely sad at the end. Backtracking: Whoever wrote the blurb on my edition had it correct, in that the characters were all so humanly felt (and written) that they leapt off the page in their vividness as individual huma ...more
Betty Strohecker
The Reckoning completes Penman's panoramic depiction of medieval English and Welsh history. Henry III is followed by his son Edward, who became England's greatest warrior king. Intent on owning all of the land from sea to sea, Edward sets out to conquer Wales, now ruled by Llewelyn ap Gruffyd. Edward pursues his goal with a brutality that is sometimes hard to read. As always, it is the intermingled family members who suffer as well.

This trilogy is among my all-time favorite historical fiction bo
Ivor Armistead
As KV would say, "so it goes." Good historic fiction, and Penman writes very good historic fiction, must end as it ended, whether we like it or not. Penman makes love and admire the Llewelyns and the de Monforts and despise their Plantagenet tormentors. We are taught to cherish the fiercely independent, proud and noble Welsh and honor the de Montforts for their stalwart defense of civil rights and the rule of law. However, it is those Plantagenet rascals who prevail, at least at the time, and we ...more
This is the story of Llewelyn 'The Last', still following in his grandfather's footsteps, aiming for the dream of an independent Wales from England. However things become tricky for Lleweyln as his wife to be; Eleanor de Montfort is captured and imprisoned by Edward I. They are kept seperated for nearly 3 years until Lleweyln signs a treaty and takes her home to Wales.

Wales is once again at war with England after Edward imposes English law upon the welsh. There are many ups and downs for Llewel
A beautifully crafted series, I am sorry to be finished and even more sorry that Wales' independence played out in this matter. The beauty of historical fiction for me is that I am first always amazed by the story and yet can continually remind myself that these things/events/characters really occurred and existed. Sharon Kay Penman is truly a master of historical fiction and from the first book in the series (Here Be Dragons) assures her readers of a faithfulness to truth and the ability to mak ...more
Words can't even begin to describe how much I loved this book, how much I loved the entire trilogy (Here Be Dragons and Falls the Shadow being the other volumes)! After Here Be Dragons, I had my doubts that I could love the other two books nearly as much, but I was so wrong. I think The Reckoning may actually be my favorite of the three. I was simply unable to put it down. As an empty-nester who has returned to college full-time, I have very little leisure time and usually read only sporadically ...more
I knew this would be a bittersweet book. Being the final book in the series and knowing current political boundaries, I knew it would have to come to an end, but I really didn’t want it to. I had fallen in love with the characters. Some of them I have known since Here be Dragons and I knew they would have their downfall at some point. Some other reviews mentioned it was a brutal ending so I was prepared to have the story end in the middle of a battle, but I was glad that it didn’t. With such a s ...more
Joyce Lagow
One of the problems with historical fiction is that the author is more or less stuck with history. If that history is tragic, it doesn't matter how likable the characters or how well written the book is, the outcome of reading is likely to be depressing. This is the case with The Reckoning. Penman has produced her usual professional, well-researched, well-written book, continuing the story of what is ultimately the loss of Welsh independence with the death of its last real prince, Llewelyn ap Gr ...more
"Poor Wales, so far from Heaven, so close to England". This line speaks to the anguish of an entire people who were struggling to maintain their independence from English rule and have a united Wales. In this last book of the Welsh Princes trilogy, Llewelyn ap Gruffydd tries to follow in his grandfather's footsteps and unite the Welsh people. But fending off Edward I, who proves to be a shrewd military commander with all the manpower he needs, as well as being driven by a God-given duty to bring ...more
"The Reckoning" is the third book in the trilogy concentrating on the final days of Wales as a truly independent country from England. It links most closely to "Falls the Shadow", continuing the tale of the de Montfort family and the princes of Wales.

In this tale - once again sweeping through years of historical events - we see Edward tightening his hold on Wales. Most of his predecessors had looked to the continent - to take control of Anjou and Poitou and Aquitaine, and the many other principa
I didn't realise when I started how hard this book would be to read. I started out blithe and innocent in 1271, followed along optimistically, only to find that when the last war began I wasn't sure if I was going to finish it. When I reached the chapter labelled 'December, 1282' I had to put it down.

Penman is a good writer, she really is. The collapse of a country and all its hopes and dreams and standing is not undertaken lightly, and the sweeping scope of it is well-handled. And she's done he
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Historical Fictio...: Group Series: The Reckoning- Book 3 25 179 Jan 28, 2013 01:33PM  
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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)
  • Falls the Shadow  (Welsh Princes, #2)
Here be Dragons (Welsh Princes, #1) The Sunne in Splendour When Christ and His Saints Slept  (Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine, #1) Falls the Shadow  (Welsh Princes, #2) Time and Chance (Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine, #2)

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“I’ll admit that my garden now grows hope in lavish profusion, leaving little room for anything else. I suppose it has squeezed out more practical plants like caution and common sense. Still, though, hope does not flourish in every garden, and I feel thankful it has taken root in mine.” 26 likes
“Tonight," he said, "we shall get quietly and thoroughly memory of all that was lost. And on the morrow, I begin the struggle to win it back.” 2 likes
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