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The Sunne in Splendour

4.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  15,345 Ratings  ·  937 Reviews

The classic, magnificent bestselling novel about Richard III, now in a special thirtieth anniversary edition with a new preface by the author

In this triumphant combination of scholarship and storytelling, Sharon Kay Penman redeems Richard III—vilified as the bitter, twisted, scheming hunchback who murdered his nephews, the princes in the Tower—from his maligned place in hi
ebook, 1110 pages
Published January 22nd 2008 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1982)
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Apr 01, 2014 StoryTellerShannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: elaine avlakeotes
This was Penman's first novel and still one of my favorites. A little trivia: she actually hand wrote a good deal of this novel, lost it and then started all over again. That's commitment! SUNNE traces the life of Richard III, breaking it into three sections of this 800+ page novel:

PART ONE sheds light on that confusing Historical time known as the Wars of the Roses (back in the day I never "got it" until I read this piece). For those who never truly understood it, you will get a better grasp
I've become hooked on Richard III. We all know what he's accused of, but until recently, I've never given much thought to his defence. After reading various accounts of him and his contemporaries, I've realised that history, based on Tudor propaganda, could have very badly betrayed him.

The Sunne In Splendour covers his entire life from the age of about 7. In a 900 page book, the first third read like an increasingly interesting history lesson, but then the more personal story-telling side kicke
Bookworm Sean
Mar 29, 2015 Bookworm Sean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Writing historical fiction about a dynastic struggle, the Wars of the Roses, that’s outcome is well known is a risky business. I’m sure that any reader who would pick up this mighty tome, that chronicles the life of Richard III, would know the ending that history dictates. Indeed, the author had more work to do because of this; she had to take a well know ending and make it interesting, and effectively breathe new life into it. A twelve hundred page novel is a rather large reading investment, no ...more
Apr 20, 2007 Mansoor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who hate Richard III
When my friend described The Sunne in Splendour as "a historical fiction about two English kings," I thought, "Sounds like a real page turner." But, it is a real page turner. I've never found English history so fascinating.

This was my first experience with the genre of historical fiction. Naively, I always assumed the writers chose between history and fiction. But, this book was written by a well-known English historian, and the fiction only supplements the history. That's what makes it exciting
Ana T.
Oct 19, 2015 Ana T. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sharon Kay Penman's biography of Richard III is one of my favorite books of all time. I have hesitated in writing this review for quite a while because I'm not sure I can do it justice.

Born into an England ripped apart by the bloody War of the Roses, Richard was in awe of his older brother Edward. He stayed loyal to his brother and loyal to Anne Neville, the daughter of the enemy. It was this loyalty that was his strength, and finally his undoing.

There are many things to enjoy. Her construction
B the BookAddict
Sep 20, 2015 B the BookAddict rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fiction, Tudor history lovers
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Elaine
Shelves: best-of-the-best

The story evolves around Edward IV and Richard III (and lots of other characters) with a plot so rich, you could be forgiven in thinking that it is pure fiction. Simply too involved to summarize here; my reactions/comment follow.

With a novel this lengthy, you really need a hearty liking of Tudor based stories. I didn't realize that I had so enjoyed Richard III's story until the last 50 pages or so, when I found I had deliberately slowed my reading because I simply did not want to come to the en
This was a wonderful story. Although I was prepared to keep an open mind as to my previous opinions on Richard III (from reading Alison Weir's Princes in the Tower), I was sure I would still come out believing that Richard did the kids. Now I am not so convinced, I am prepared to believe he was a good man. This book also covers much about Edward the IV, Richard's brother. All in all a very good history lesson.

The book was well written, the story line kept me interested through all 900 + pages a
This is Sharon Penman's first novel, and over the course of 900 pages she deals with the life and times of Richard of Gloucester, the man who was to become Richard III of England. History has not dealt kindly with Richard - Tudor propaganda has dealt him a cruel blow by making him out to be a deformed and evil man who was able to put his nephews to death and contemplate bedding his niece while his beloved wife lay close to death.

In this story, we follow the fortunes of the Yorkists from Richard'
Maria Grazia
This is one of the most difficult reviews I’ve ever decided to write. Difficult is … to find the right words when something touches you so deeply. THE SUNNE IN SPLENDOUR is honestly one of the most compelling and gripping novels I’ve ever read and a book to add to my “ the unforgettable”shelf . Actually it is still on my bedside table and it’ll stay there for long. Difficult is also to part from what and whom you love. And I have loved Ms Penman’s Dickon and his heartwarming story so much that i ...more
Gisela Kretzschmar
Apr 08, 2009 Gisela Kretzschmar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: just any lover of historical fiction.
From the very first pages into this book, I found myself liking the young Richard, and I wondered, "How in the heck can this be the same boy who will grow up to murder his own nephews?" A fiercely loyal and earnest lad, he is the youngest of his family, small, dark and intense and very different from his three tall and fair brothers. He is Richard Plantagenet, who, as King Richard III, will go down in history as the epitome of evil, a murderous usurper.

Murderer he wasn't, claims Sharon Penman.
Asghar Abbas
Feb 03, 2016 Asghar Abbas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Belated wordskirtlejoys; so I finally got around to reading this one. Breakneck speed took on another meaning as I plowed through this book and I enjoyed it - for the most part. I did take a lot from this tome on bitter struggle that would eventually lead to the rise of the Tudors, a subject that fascinates me and further fuels my obsession with the 15th century England. This book covers a lot and it is still the best book on War of the Roses, well comparatively. Something has to be said about t
First, a little story - by the books I recently read, it may be obvious that I'm all over medieval England and War of the Roses especially. Funnily enough, I was hardly aware of the subject until March the 3rd, 2012, when I've read a childhood favorite The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson. It takes place during the war and mentions the completely awesome, if a bit of a prick, Duke of Gloucester and the House of York. Obviously, I wanted to know more and this place:
was very he
Jan 16, 2009 Ikonopeiston rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ricardians, history buffs
Shelves: ricardian, kindle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steven Peterson
Jan 16, 2010 Steven Peterson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Historical fiction can be done well--or badly. This novel is in the former category. Sharon Kay Penman's book traces the story of Edward IV and Richard III and those surrounding them. Treachery is a continuing undercurrent in this work (and in the actual history of the times; this is not a literary device).

As with most historical novels of this era, it's hard to keep track of the cast of characters. It would have been helpful to have had genealogical tables to help in reading the book and making
Aug 15, 2012 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction readers
Recommended to James by: a fan of Hillary Mantel
Hillary Mantel fans Will Enjoy This Rehabilitation of Richard III .

History enthusiasts and those who enjoy Hillary Mantel’s best selling historical fiction novels Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies will almost certainly enjoy Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour. Whereas, Mantel presents a more plausible rehabilitation of the often vilified Thomas Cromwell in her two novels of the early Tudor court, Penman attempts to go much farther with Richard III. This novel is interesting and extremel
This is a difficult one for me to review. I think Sharon Kay Penman is a very talented author, and her novel "Here Be Dragons" is my favourite novel of all time, but I have very mixed feelings about this one. Perhaps it's because I already have my own opinions upon this period of English history after so many years of reading about the Cousins War, but there are just some things about this novel that seriously grate on me. First and foremost, the portrayal of the Woodville family. If Richard III ...more
This is the first book by Sharon Kay Penman that I've read and I have to say that I'm very impressed. Penman does an amazing job of laying before the reader the tangled web of deceit that surrounded the reigns of Edward IV and Richard III in way that makes it easy to understand.

This is the story of The War of the Roses and the life of Richard III. We follow Richard Plantagenet, Duke of Gloucester, 'Dickon', as his family calls him, through the deaths of his father and brother, the rise of his b
Oct 03, 2012 Lill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
I'd read one of Penman's books before, and was impressed, but this one really blew me away.

For starters, I like historical fiction but don't usually read the sort that stars real historical figures. The characters in such books often lack personality and the plots are frequently dull. Happily, The Sunne in Splendour bears no resemblance to such books.

This is the story of the War of the Roses, spanning 33 years, from 1459 to 1492. It's also the story of Richard III, one of the most vilified kin
Sep 12, 2014 Deborah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: general ricardians
Shelves: own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 08, 2009 Eric_W rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The "Sunne in Splendour" refers to the coat-of-arms of Edward IV, brother of Richard III. It's also the title of a delightful historical novel by Sharon Kay Penman that I discovered while browsing in a bookstore in Pennsylvania. (One should never, ever, enter a bookstore while on vacation and in possession of a credit card, unless one has worked out on weight-lifting machines for several weeks beforehand.)

Ms. Penman has gone to great lengths to make her novel as historically accurate as possibl
Anita Elder
This is my all-time favorite historical fiction book! It's long, but I found myself hanging on to every word.

The book is about the War of the Roses - that is, the Yorks (Plantagenet) against the Lancasters (Tudors) and starts when King Richard III is a little boy. It follows his brother, King Edward IV's battles to win and hold the crown. It also tells the story of how Warwick, nicknamed the king maker, helped Edward gain the throne and later betrayed him (even though he was a close cousin). Whe
Nov 11, 2013 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading
I have had it in mind for a long time that I would re-read ‘The Sunne in Splendour’ one day. It wasn’t quite the first historical novel I read, but it was one of the first; it was the book that made me realise that made me realise that research and writing could be brought together to make history live and breathe, it was the book that made me understand the consequences of history being written by the victors, and it was the book that was the first step on a particular reading journey.

I hadn’t
Jul 07, 2014 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s no secret that Sharon Kay Penman is one of my favorite authors of historical fiction. She is well-researched and Penman makes history come alive in a way that the textbooks could never do. I have read this book before and like my earlier reading, I loved it.

This is the story of England’s King Richard III. The battle that begins the book sets the stage for this family’s (the Yorkists) takeover of the crown from the House of Lancaster. Ultimately, Richard’s father and brother, Edmund are kill
Karen Brooks
Aug 05, 2012 Karen Brooks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The old adage “history is always written by the victors” holds true – and when it comes to recounting the infamous War of the Roses – the ongoing fight between the houses of York and Lancaster and their bloody battle for the English throne in the fifteenth century - we have the saying enacted. For in the years after Henry VII took the throne, the Tudors (backed by Lancastrians) made a huge effort to both erase and alter the way the two York monarchs: Edward IV and his brother, Richard the III, w ...more
Oct 29, 2013 Nate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-ages, owned
This was an overwhelmingly intense book--it's so full of beauty, sadness, humanity and almost unrelenting violence and turmoil. I know that sounds pretty hyperbolic but it really is, I haven't been affected by a book like this in a while. Penman's writing is powerful and feels of the time (minus a few anachronisms) but in an accessible way, without pomp or pretense. The story concerns a wide cast of characters centering around Richard III, all dealing with their own goals and problems during a v ...more
Sep 13, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I have to confess, I read The Daughter of Time when I was about ten and since then have been convinced that Richard III was a good man framed. I was kind of rabid about it for awhile, but then life moved on. Anyway, this book brought it all back, along with a lot more information about the circumstances leading up to Richard's reign, about which I didn't know much. In fact, most of the novel is about Richard's older brother Edward IV, who was quite the macho man. Penman makes ...more
If I could rate this higher then 5 stars I would! This is definitely going on my favorite list. Even though this is over 900 pages, I didn't want the novel to end. I've read a few books about the War of the Roses in 15th century England but this is the first time that I actually feel that I understand not only the events but also the reasons why these historical persons acted and reacted to each other. Also, I wasn't expecting such an emotional read. Ms. Penman is able to take you inside the min ...more
Sep 29, 2011 Oshun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best, if not the best, historical novel I have read to date. I started it because it was about the War of the Roses, something which we do not study in an detail in the US in school. Was also reading the George R.R. Martin books which he claims to have modeled upon or been influenced by that period of history. Penman completely hooked me on his characters--the ones I loved and ones I loved to hate. She gave GRRM a run for his money and won. She made a world and a period of history liv ...more
As I have to focus on my edits of LWL for the foreseeable future, rather than start reading something new I thought I'd treat myself to a re-read of an old favourite I
haven't picked up for a few years! <3

NB: I'd forgotten just how much Richard and Anne Neville sexytime there is in this book!!

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Did anyone else like this book? 2 24 May 08, 2015 11:03AM  
You'll love this ...: The Sunne In Splendour 85 83 Mar 05, 2014 08:52AM  
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more 9 122 Dec 04, 2013 08:50AM  
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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
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“We tend to forget at times that it is the little ones, the children, who do suffer the greatest hurt. If we cannot comprehend why certain sorrows are visited upon us, how on earth can they?” 65 likes
“Men are born to sin…What does matter most, is not that we err, it is that we do benefit from our mistakes, that we are capable of sincere repentance, of genuine contrition.” 32 likes
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