Rob's Reviews > Here be Dragons

Here be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
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's review
Oct 28, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: epic, medieval, historical-fiction
Read from December 24, 2011 to January 14, 2012

Extreme character development, but a bit of a rambling story.

This 13th century epic essentially follows the life of Princess Joanna - wife of the Prince of Wales and illegitimate daughter of the King of England. The author does an excellent job building relationships around the central figures - Joanna, her husband Llewelyn, father King John, and what seems like hundreds of secondary characters - sons, daughters, brothers, step-sons, sister-in-laws, estranged royalty, key council members and lords, etc. It is often difficult to keep up with some of these relationships and alliances.

Here Be Dragons is really the long romantic tale of Joanna and Llewelyn. Less on historical description and heavier on romance. 700 pages, but with the fine print this is more like a 1000 page book. The first 150 pages and the closing 150 or so were very good. King Henry and his estranged wife Eleanor, and young King Richard were good characters at the start - then prince-in-waiting Davydd and step-brother Gruffydd are interesting characters at the end. The middle section was never-ending... each chapter just another step in Joanna's life, a different city but same story. It seemed like the author could have easily cut out 250-300 pages and the book would have read much better.

Book did not meet my expectations, but it is obvious that Penman has great skills at character development... going to try one more of her stories but do some more research when selecting.

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12/25/2011 page 94
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