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The Sixth Surrender

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  128 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Read Hana Samek Norton's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.



A transporting debut novel set in thirteenth century France-a time when chivalry reigned and treachery ruled

In the last years of her eventful life, queen-duchess Aliénor of Aquitaine launches a deadly dynastic chess game to safeguard the crowns of Normandy and England for John Plantagenet, her las
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Paperback, 468 pages
Published July 27th 2010 by Plume (first published July 22nd 2010)
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Molly
Nov 15, 2010 Molly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Molly by: PUYB
As a book reviewer, I read LOTS of genres by many, many different authors, so when I signed up to read The Sixth Surrender, to me it was excitement because I don't review books like this one, much. I am pleased to say that this novel met my tastes and it did not disappoint!

I was instantly taken with this novel, both with the beautifully created characters and with the writing style of Hana Samek Norton. I was confused a bit during the first few chapters because of the terminology used from that
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Marie Z. Johansen
This book kept me up reading later than I should have for several nights. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and, as a first effort, I think there must be more good reads to come from this author. There were some aspects of the romances that made me think "maybe not!". I think that the author stretched to hold some of the plot and romance together but that did not stop my enjoyment. I am a fanatic about historical fiction - but I always remember that it is, in fact, fiction - not non-fiction - and s ...more
Terra
This is not so much a book of romance as it is a story of Historical Fiction. Not a bad story but this one is on the much darker side of what might have gone on during the reign of King John and his mother Alienor of Aquitaine.

The storyline is set pretty close to the end of Alienor's life and portrays her as a schemer in all aspects of the lives of those whom her son rules and those that she loves. Granted I doubt that living during those times would have been easy on anyone but not all could be
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Page (One Book At A Time)
I enjoy historical fiction, but admit that I'm not well rounded in it. I have a tendency to stick to British historical fiction because of my heritage. This one sounded interesting because it contains some familiar English figures, but it's set in France.

I do admit I had to constantly remind myself this was more to do with the French, especially since it has King John, and some of the book is set in England. I was very unfamiliar with many of the names of the characters and locations. I also was
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Lauren
The Sixth Surrender had some well-written moments. Unfortunately, it was also very confusing with a convoluted plot. It tells the story of Juliana, heiress to the small border viscounty of Tillieres. She intially was to become a nun. During her time as a novice at Fontrevaud, Juliana becomes a scribe for the aging Alienor (Eleanor of Aquitaine). Juliana wishes to marry instead of taking her vows. While Samek doesn't exactly make clear what Juliana expects from marriage, she certainly got somethi ...more
faeriemyst
After much struggle, I made it to the halfway point (page 257 of 468) and just cannot go on. There seems to be too much going on and I'm still uncertain what the main plot is. Political intrigue? Possibly a romance between Juliana and Guérin? Although how that would ever happen is beyond me, seeing as their animosity towards each other isn't the hate-to-love you see in other books. This is real hatred. The book has moments where the passages are well-written and engaging, though they're few and ...more
Bdalton
This book was a gift from the author. I met Hana at the National Archives where she was researching a new book. Hana is delightful, engaged, and thoughtful. She would be a wonderful author guest for an event.

I have looked at some of the reviews and saw a mix of opinion. I found the book to be packed with historical detail, a sympathetic heroine, and a bevy of plot twists. I have read a lot of non-fiction and connected to the real historical figures (Eleanor of Aquitaine and The Pearl of Brittan
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Misfit
Linda
The Sixth Surrender Tells Of A Sister Not Yet Taking The Veil In A Nunnery As She Was Inquisitive About The Outside World And She Constantly Got In Trouble With The Abbess. Juliana Was Sent To Become A Nun When Her Father Wanted Her To Marry An Old Man, After Living Like A Nun For Five Years She Was Not Sure If She Wanted To Take The Veil And Was Given The Opportunity To See If She Could Make A Life For Herself But The Year 1200 Was Not The Time For Woman To Be Alone And Unprotected! Juliana Wan ...more
Louise Leetch
As a lifelong admirer of Eleanor of Aquitaine, I’m always excited to see a book about her and her remarkable family. The Sixth Surrender focuses on her son, King John, who acceded to the throne of England after his brother Richard I and father, Henry II. Author Norton chooses a minor player, Juliana de Charnais, as a link to the machinations of Alienor (the French spelling used by the author), her son and the nasty old Lusignans. Armand de Lusignan and his family suffered enough degradation unde ...more
Free Fall
What a rush! Once I started reading, I really couldn't stop. Juliana is a novice nun who chooses marriage and her home of Tillieres in place of becoming cloistered. The queen-duchess, Alienor, gives her hand in marriage to Guerin de Lasalle, a mercenary with a lot of secrets.

Really, a ridiculous amount of secrets. His origin seems to be made up of a bunch of lies and misdirection, much of which is revealed only in the latter half of the book.

All right. So the newly wedded couple is extremely unh
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Amanda
Hana Samek Norton joins the popular historical fiction scene with The Sixth Surrender, a spellbinding, lovely debut for historical fiction/historical romance readers.

Set in the thirteen century, young Juliana (also known as Sister Eustace) lives a content life as a humble nun, but as the only heir to Tillieres, she desires to protect and keep her home which, of course, requires that she marry. Not only must she marry, but Juliana must pledge herself to the powerful French queen, Alienor (also kn
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Tyreauna
I read this book again for the second time, and I was able to enjoy it so much more considering that the plot diet fly over my head! The main female character Juliana left a lasting impression on me, not necessarily because of her character, but because of her actions. I felt like the entire book she put up a great face against Lasalle's constant offenses. To be completely honest, I picked up on the books romantic trail more than the historic one. I didn't quite follow the whole book and was con ...more
Kacee
I wanted to like this book, but it was rather difficult to enjoy. The plot is generally devoid of action for dozens of pages at a time and when something does happen it is often so obscure that I was left having to re-read several pages trying to figure out if I missed something. The characters and their motivations are uneven--especially the male lead and often it seemed like the author was more interested in showing off an extensive knowledge of English/French history and culture than actually ...more
Amanda
This IS NOT historically accurate at all. The author even says she only used secondary sources in her research for this book. There are people with these names in existence, but they're not always around at the same time.

That said, this was a highly complicated and confounding book. Set at the end of Eleanor of Aquitaine's life, during John Softsword's reign, the young Juliana de Charnais has a choice of becoming a nun or marrying some douche that Eleanor found for her. Course all of this would
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Stephi K.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda
The Sixth Surrender is a romance dressed up as an historical novel, with a beautiful, fainthearted heroine and a devastatingly handsome, bad boy of a hero whose behavior is simply cruel. The plot centers on the dynastic wars between the French and English during the reign of King John (of Magna Carta fame, early 13th century), but there's just too much inane sexual sparring, which constantly interrupts the action. Even without that problem, the plot is choppy and confusing, even for readers fami ...more
Al
An excellent portrayal of the intrigue which existed in the medieval courts of England, France and Aquitaine as western Europe entered the 13th century. The author provides an interesting series of ongoing plot twists as the story winds to its conclusion.
Indiaskye
It too me three tries just to get past the first 30 pages. Still, I really wanted to read this book so I kept going. 100 pages later I decided to quit after all. I'm not sure what the worst thing about this book was --- the flat and unlikable characters? The bad writing? Or maybe it was the fact that the story is just so confusing ... The author keeps throwing names and events at the reader without any explanations whatsoever. Perhaps she thought that only people who are very familiar with the s ...more
Laura
After reading about 100 pages I decided not to finish this novel. I didn’t care for the characters, especially the male protagonist (crude, selfish, lacking morals, promiscuous…) I also had a hard time following the political intrigue—unless you know early 13th century Medieval well (I am only familiar with it) you can become lost when the author throws in too many plots. In addition, in so far as I got, there are explicit sex scenes and profanity (taking God’s name in vain and vulgar words). To ...more
Amanda Day
There were things I liked about the book and things I hated.
At times it was very confusing. So many names of people, places, titles, groups of people, etc that were thrown in without any explanation. I felt like the author assumed I knew a lot about the early 13th Century, when really I don't. She also would interchange first names, last names, nicknames, titles for the same person and I was often confused.
I also really didn't like the violence (especially against women).
BUT, it held my attent
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Mireille Prusak
Usually I'm pretty hit or miss with books like this, but this one was fantastic! Incredibly rich in historical detail, with a hell of a good story and a surprising number of believable twists and turns. The author isn't just a writer, she's also a fantastic storyteller--the two don't go together as often as you might think (or hope). The only downside to it is that I had a couple of nights of shortened sleep due to staying up too late reading. I can't recommend it enough!
Judy
I thought there was a 50-50 chance that this was going to be good; either that or schlocky romantic badly written overwrought historical fiction. It turned out to be well written, good historical detail, and well paced. I think it owes a lot to Dorothy Dunnett. I couldn't put it down. I did, however, space out a lot of the geeopolitics of England and France in the first four years of the 13th century, which is when this was written.
Nora
Even for the time the book is set in, Lasalle is sadistic and Juliana is a doormat. I think the author was trying to write an old-school romance, but it didn't work because the characters genuinely hate each other. The abrupt change to love in the last third is unrealistic. The entire first half of the book is from Juliana's perspective, so the reader never understands why Lasalle does the things he does.
Jennifer
My rating is 4.5

From my book review blog Rundpinne...."Norton grabs the reader’s attention and does not let go in her fast-paced, detail-oriented and compelling storylines."...the full review may be read here.
Terry
I would give the first half of this book a 4 and the last half a 2. I was very engaged with the story and the characters for the first 200 pages or so but then the author threw in way too many plot twists and way too many secret sons and daughters. The storyline got extremely complicated and improbable in the second half.
Tiffany
If you put this book down the first time I would recommend that you pick it back up and give it another try. It might be a little slow at the beginning and Guerin might seem heartless but you're truly missing out on a good read. I couldn't read it fast enough. Looking forward to more books by Hana Samek Norton.
Kathy
I was quite pleased with the author's research. I also appreciated the author's efforts at creating characters that fit into the story's time period, and not giving us 21st century mindsets awkwardly transplanted into the wrong era.
Petrea Burchard
I really wanted to like it because I love the setting, and there are a couple of interesting characters.

Info-dumping, head-hopping, clumsy, clumsy, clumsy.

I gave it 20 chapters then gave up.


Petrea Burchard
Camelot & Vine
Susan Gardner
The author engages us in the thirteenth century politics and culture in this well-written, interesting first novel. A nice, long, enjoyable romance.
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