Ruth's Reviews > When Christ and His Saints Slept

When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman
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's review
Oct 16, 2011

liked it

c1994. Some of my favourite books have the bitter conflict between Maude and Stephen as a back drop - (eg Cadfael) so it was interesting to have Maude and Stephen as the main protagonists again. This book does sprawl over 806 pages but split into chapters representing certain periods of time which does break it down somewhat. No fault of Ms Penman, and in her introduction she does try to explain and entitle characters with their less formal names, but there are still way too many Maudes, Roberts et al. Perhaps a family tree of some sorts would have helped. I actually hauled out one of the history books to have the Angevin one so I could try and track everyone in my mind. This also slowed down the pace for me. Why I could not just enjoy the story, I have no idea because it is a great story with great characters. The battle scenes are not terribly convincing usually coming more as a message than anything else. I think that there are 2 stories entwined - Maude and Stephen's being one and Ranulfs being the other. If all the bits were extracted, there still would be 2 substantial books on hand. The author readily admits that Ranulf, being fictional, gave her some freedom - but perhaps too much and hence the number of pages-but I did like his story! "Why is it honesty when a man speaks his mind and madness when a woman does?"
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