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Falls the Shadow (Welsh Princes #2)

4.37 of 5 stars 4.37  ·  rating details  ·  5,672 ratings  ·  243 reviews
This is Simon de Montfort's story—and the story of King Henry III, as weak and changeable as Montfort was brash and unbending. It is a saga of two opposing wills that would later clash in a storm of violence and betrayal, a story straight from the pages of history that brings the world of the thirteenth century completely, provocatively, and magnificently alive. Above all, ...more
Paperback, 14th, 580 pages
Published April 8th 1989 by Ballantine Books (first published 1988)
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Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Best Historical Fiction
131st out of 4,688 books — 18,522 voters
The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay PenmanHere be Dragons by Sharon Kay PenmanWhen Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay PenmanKatherine by Anya SetonFalls the Shadow by Sharon Kay Penman
Historical Fiction: The House of Plantagenet
5th out of 208 books — 357 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
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 24, 2010 Richard Wise rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: medieval
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
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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
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
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
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
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
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!
Another great book about the Welsh Princes! To my surprise, I found I liked this book as much as Here be Dragons. As usual, Sharon Kay Penman does a wonderful job bringing medieval England to life. I love her portrayals of the relationships between the characters. She brings a lot of depth to her characters without sacrificing historical authenticity.

One of the things I always like about her books is how well she portrays romantic relationships. Hers are among the few books I've found that have
I think Sharon K. Penman is the best historical fiction writer. I cannot imagine the amount of time she spends on research. She does not falter in historical facts, she does her homework well. Yet her books flow easily, are extremely well written and interesting. The characetrs are real, human and so is the medival world that she writes about.
Mary Munroe
I am a fan of Sharon Penman. This novel treats Richard I after his capture in Germany. A shipwreck deposits him in the midst of enemy territory, but he cannot hide his height, his entourage and his royal attitude. Richard says that he is not intended for "old bones", and that is certainly true. He fought to the end, however. One thing I like about Penman is that she does not gloss over the flaws in his character -- his temper, his callus treatment of his wife Berengaria, his adrenaline addiction ...more
Erin McDonnell-Jones
Loved this book! The plot continues from where "Here Be Dragons" ends, and then begins (and primarily focuses on) a new plot in England with King Henry (John's son) and Simon de Montfort. I'm very excited to read the third book to find out what continues to happen in Wales.
I didn't love this book as much as I loved Here Be Dragons or The Sunne in Splendour, but I still really enjoyed it.

I love the history side of Penman's novels and love that she is such a meticulous researcher. There's a realism to the books through that. And I love her characters; they all have their vices and virtues and she makes sure to never paint one character as a one-sided pantomime villain or hero.

As with her other novels I found that I would have to read good portions of the book at on
Ivor Armistead
An outstanding historical novel. In this second book of Penman's trilogy, the Welsh princes take a supporting role to the story of Simon de Monfort and his rather amazing wife, who is also sister to Henry III, one of England's least effective monarchs. The de Monfort story is of enormous importance to the constitutional history of England and America as he moves the country a step closer to democracy, individual rights, representative government and the rule of law. I read J. R. Maddicott's biog ...more
Betty Strohecker
Sharon Kay Penman's sweeping trilogy of England and Wales continues in book 2. Henry III is now king, and his sister, Nell, youngest daughter of King John is married to Simon de Montford. A weak king, Henry is challenged by de Montford and his other barons, leading to a fierce war. As always in a royal family, some are forced to take sides against family members.

At the same time Wales has its own struggles when Llewelyn the great dies.

Beautifully told with amazing description of places and event
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
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
Sarah Gustafson

Another enjoyable Penman tale. As others have noted, the Simon-Henry, Simon-Nell and the Llewelyn-Llelo-Davydd relationships crackle. FYI, though, here be some crazy burnishing of Simon de Montfort's legacy:

1) Take anti-Semitism. Penman does a fine job with most characters on this point. She probes into the reasons why medieval Christians would see fellow humans as, well, less-than-human. But Penman lets Simon off the hook here. Simon, though not as awful as his murderous father, was a fanatic w
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
If Sharon Kay Penman were a history teacher, there would be no grumbling about boring history lessons. She beautifully and vividly brings the people and times to life and creates suspense and interest in the politics of the thirteenth century.

This is a story of two different historical characters from the 13th century: Llywelyn ap Gryffydd , Prince of Wales and Simon de Montfort. Both of these men craved power and political connections; however they were very different people.

When Llywelyn the G
Mary Campbell
Aug 21, 2009 Mary Campbell rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anglophiles, readers of hist. fiction
Recommended to Mary by: My brother, John Campbell
I am so excited! I finished HERE BE DRAGONS months ago and was hungry for more Sharon Kay Penman but didn't have any $$$. Now working on fun Kansas / Mennonite hist.-fiction project and have a little $$ so found FALLS THE SHADOW on eBaY for cheap AND IT GOT HERE TODAY and now I won't get anything else done all afternoon....

LATER... One does not read a Penman book in one sitting... which just adds to the joy. One has both the anticipation and the actual pleasure of reading, and the
I was really looking forward to this book because I loved Here be Dragons. I must say I was not disappointed at all. This is, of course, part of the Welsh Princes Triology. I did hope for more of the Welsh princes. I did not expect them to be the entire story, because England and Wales go hand in hand, but I wanted more. In the Author’s Note at the end, Sharon Kay Penman says that there was too much story to focus on the Welsh Princes and what was going on in England. So in lieu of confusion she ...more
Karen Brooks
Falls the Shadow is the second book in The Welsh Princes series and mainly focuses on Simon de Montfort and Henry III (father of the future Edward Longshanks) – their relationship, families and the clash of wills and subsequent terrible conflict that arises between them and sweeps England and other countries in its wake. Parallel to their story is that of Leilo – Llewelyn ap Gruffyd, a young Welsh prince who suffers the alienation of his immediate family but is rewarded with the love and trust o ...more
May contain Spoilers. So don't read, until you have finished the book. What an interesting book about such a significant person in the mid 1200's about whom I had never known anything. Simon De Montfort, a saint in his time and memorialized as the father of the English Parliment system after his time. Worshippers attended his grave site for hundreds of years after his terrible death. His life was marked by courage and principle. He dared to oppose a weak and destructive English King, Henry II. E ...more
I've read two of Penman's other books: Here Be Dragons and The Sunne in Splendor, both of which I enjoyed greatly. In fact, it was the former that gave me my fascination with Wales and is probably the reason I went there for my honeymoon, since the book was as much the story of a marriage as anything else. Falls the Shadow continues more or less where Here Be Dragons left off, at least historically. However, Falls the Shadow is less involved with Wales, following instead Simon de Montfort and hi ...more
This is the story of Simon de Montfort, a French-born English hero who is known as 'the father of the English parliament'. Winston Churchill said of him that he "had lighted a fire never to be quenched in English history" and indeed his story lit a fire with me. Sharon Penman succeeded in so drawing me in to the life of this Simon de Montfort and his struggle to achieve rights in law for every Englishman, that at the description of his final demise, I found myself weeping! Montfort became so dis ...more
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Historical Fictio...: Group Series: Falls the Shadow- Book 2 20 180 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)
Here be Dragons (Welsh Princes, #1) The Sunne in Splendour When Christ and His Saints Slept  (Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine, #1) The Reckoning  (Welsh Princes, #3) Time and Chance (Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine, #2)

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“Men kill for many reasons, they steal but for one-greed.” 10 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.” 1 likes
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