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Devil's Brood

(Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine #3)

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  6,644 ratings  ·  372 reviews
The long-awaited and highly anticipated final volume in Penman’s trilogy of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine—a tumultuous conclusion to this timeless story of love, power, ambition, and betrayal.

Where the second novel in the trilogy, Time And Chance, dealt with the extraordinary politics of the twelfth century, climaxing with the murder of Thomas Becket and Henry’s
Hardcover, First US Edition, 736 pages
Published October 7th 2008 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Average rating 4.37  · 
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 ·  6,644 ratings  ·  372 reviews

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Dec 27, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history geeks who wouldn't be caught dead reading about elves & goblins
There's probably a connection between why I read 3 Sharon Kay Penman books with such ease back in the early to mid 2000s and yet couldn't finish one in 2012. At the same time (ye olde 2000s) I was going through a high fantasy phase and huge doorstoppers with a cast of thousands riding around to villages and other countries talking about quests and prophecies, surrounded by a zillion details, fit in quite well with Penman's style of having a cast of thousands riding around to taverns and castles ...more
Mar 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Absolutely everyone
Devil’s Brood is an absolute rollercoaster of a novel. Now in my mind, there are two types of "rollercoaster novels". One kind swings wildly from one extreme of emotion to another, melodramatically creating mountains out of molehills, its plot twists coming out of nowhere, the kind of rollercoaster that leaves you feeling queasy and desperately wanting to get off. The other kind of rollercoaster novel sweeps you up and off you go, the highs and lows built up ahead of time, creating anticipation, ...more
Rating 3.5 stars

I read historical fiction for two reasons: to learn and to be entertained.

There’s no doubt that Penman’s research is impeccable. As a new reader to this era, I now feel I know the story of Henry II, his sons, their rebellions and their contemporaries very well. The information given is interesting and thorough - I couldn’t have asked for a fuller, more complete picture.

The entertainment side was less successful for me. In her quest to tell the whole story, Penman felt she had to
If Eleanor of Aquitaine’s marriage to King Henry II wasn’t passionate and tumultuous enough; it gets even more spiced up when their sons rebel against their father with Eleanor’s aid resulting in her captivity/house arrest. Sharon Kay Penman leaves the drama of the murder of Thomas Becket behind in “Time and Chance” and follows the family breakdown with the third book revolving around Henry and Eleanor in, “Devil’s Brood”.

“Devil’s Brood” follows familiar ground with the subject of Eleanor and

There is one thing you can't fault Penman for and that's her research. It's thorough, copious and usually factual, almost OCD in places. But what I do fault her for is her need to include every single word of it in her novels. This one was so bloated by research that it floated belly up--slowing the narrative, distancing characters from the reader and was downright tedious & distracting in places. And as fascinating as most of the information was (although I could well have lived without
Krista Baetiong Tungol
This story is several hundred pages of epic dissension between brothers, sons and father, and husband and wife—cheered on by those wanting to shatter the empire said to rival that of Charlemagne’s, and supported by their expedient sycophants. I would jump off to their time if I only could and give each of Henry’s four sons a smack in the head for being so self-serving and power-hungry, for still wanting more of the pie when they were already given their share, for brewing deception and discord ...more
Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine thought they had it all - the greatest empire since Charlemagne, healthy children including the heir and several to spare - so how did it all go so wrong? The Devil's Brood takes up the story where Time and Chance left off with the murder of Thomas Becket, as Henry returns from his self imposed exile to Ireland. Henry's three eldest sons are chafing at the bit to have lands and power of their own and egged on by Louis of France they join with their ...more
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have enjoyed Ms. Penman's writing for many years. She seems to be able to accurately craft characters and scenes that are true to life within the context of their age. She is one of the few medieval writers that can describe strong female characters, and yet does not pander to an audience, or seem to cross the line in modernizing them. At least that is how it seems to me. Her Eleanor of Aquitaine is amazing in this book. She is the most three dimensional and conflicted of all of the major ...more
Deborah Pickstone
There is much less in the way of historical error in this book. Ms Penman's research has tightened up and become outstanding, by fiction standards and actually by historical standards - I have read less convincing historians.

This very comprehensively tells the story of the dysfunctional family dynamics that tore the family of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine apart, the tragedy of the death of two sons and the heartrending end of Henry himself. Along the way, we also get the story of William
Ellen Ekstrom
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm seeing Richard I of England in whole new light and it's as dim as a gutting candle . . . but I digress. Richard is a product of his time and that time was dark and disturbing.

Ms. Penman once again makes medieval life and history as palpable as what we see on the news today, the persons as real, whole and flawed as ourselves - separated by a thousand years. "Devil's Brood" concludes the story of Henry II of England and his queen Eleanor Duchess of Aquitaine and concentrates on the ill-fated
Mar 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: HF fans
Recommended to Laura by: Misfit
Another wonderful book by SKP, where the struggle for the power between Richards sons prevails over most of his kingdom. The strong character of Eleanor shows already her fight for women rights on state decisions even in a medieval era. The dialogues between the main characters are very well written within an historical context based on a very careful historical research performed by SKP. ...more
Dec 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Wow - - Penman has done it again. She manages to take a remote time in history and absolutely make it come alive, along with the major characters. Absolutely one of the best historical fiction writers around, this book is well-researched and such an easy read!
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2015
Wow, what a great history lesson and what a story. Sharon Kay Penman really knows how to make history come alive. I can't wait to read more of her books!
Dec 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
In 1172 Henry II has been on the throne, ruling his vast kingdom that stretches from England to the Mediterranean, for eighteen years. His passionate marriage to Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine is as volatile as ever and their sons are nearing adulthood.

As Henry works to extricate himself from his problems with the Church that were created by the murder of Thomas Becket, his oldest son Hal has plans of his own. Hal has been crowned king while his father still rules and he is chafing under his
I have enjoyed every SKP book I've read, but after her heartbreaking Welsh Trilogy, I've ceased being emotionally compelled by them. I would read, enjoy the characters and the writing, but would remain emotionally aloof.

Well, not any more.

I've found myself emotionally devastated by this book, drawn in and helplessly reading about all these complicated, dysfunctional, ocassionally brilliant people destroying themselves and each other - wanting to jump into the book and somehow stop it. I haven't
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had all three books of Sharon Kay Penman's series on the dynasty that resulted in Richard the Lionheart and during my first read several years ago, I had to wait between books until the next one was published. It was great to read all three in a row. I feel like I know them all so well. The investment of time paid off! I love how the focus shifts to the new generation without making you feel like you've left the old generation behind. For example, the fictional character of Ranulf was one of ...more
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My prevailing feeling while reading this book was helplessness, I often felt like shaking one character or the other to make them see reason. It was such a heap of incomprehensions and unforgiving pride, love badly shown and bitter betrayals.
However, you can touch the love the author feels for her protagonists, always finding at least an act to redeem them, even only on their deathbed.

Eleanor talking to her dead husband best summarises all the struggle: "Ah, Harry, we were so well matched, you
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wow - this is the third installment in the series about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Devil's Brood is the tumultuous story of Henry and Eleanor's sons and the struggle over ruling such a sprawling and diverse kingdom. This is a truly epic, and amazing story - so many characters, battles, political intrigues, family feuds, marriages are going on throughout the story. I loved every minute of. I found myself crying over events that occurred over 900 years ago. Sharon Kay Penman has the ...more
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! Of course I loved it- it's Sharon Kay Penman,but this is SKP on the top of her game. Opening this book was like falling into the 12th century & becoming completely immersed in it.I'm starting "Lionheart" right away so that I can prolong the experience & my own enjoyment of her fabulous books!! I can't wait for "A King's Ransom to come out, & I hope she continues the series with another book about John after that. Bravo, Sharon... this really is one of the best ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this and once more, Ms Penman didn't disappoint!

King Henry II is top class, his sons, (at least how they were portrayed in this book) were undeserving of their father's love for indeed, he did love them.

His policies perhaps, as a father, were not the best or at least in his case, did not yield positive outcomes, but none the less, I found myself resenting the Young King his deception, his immaturity. Richard, however, easily one of my favorite English monarchs, did not
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sharon Penman is one of my favorite authors (she ranks up there with Jane Austen and J.R.R. Tolkien) and certainly my favorite author of historical fiction. Devil's Brood describes the internecine warfare and deteriorating family relationships of the sons of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. (The Plantagenets make the Kardashians look like a stable and wholesome family.)
Every good historical fiction author does impeccable research and brings to life real life characters. What this author does
Laura Andersen
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
Nope, waiting doesn't change things. Everybody still dies. The death that really hurt was the one I knew the least about . . . the third son, Geoffrey, Duke of Brittany. I really hope his marriage was similar to Penman's portrayal, because at least Constance had some happiness for a few years. When he died, my alternate-history mind went a little crazy, wondering what might have been if Geoffrey had been there to A)protect his son, Arthur and B)actually inherit the throne after Richard's death. ...more
Jeremy Forsyth
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant! Just a damn good book!
Kiesha ~ 1Cheekylass
Terrible narration by Joe Peck but the story was still interesting.
SKP is really one of my favorite authors, but after reading Here Be Dragons, everything else falls short (When Christ and His Saints Slept is a close second). I have always appreciated her historical accuracy, but I felt like she tried to cover too much history in too few pages with this book. There were times when I found myself skimming pages to get to the plot. She took her time with Christ & His Saints and the plot was more compelling, despite being much longer. There were times when I ...more
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
I suspect that if I had the time I might really enjoy this trilogy. However, my criticism of this book is that, despite the dialogue, it still feels a lot like non-fiction. The issues and characters are still too large; I am not drawn into an engaging personal story about characters who feel like real people, so much as seeing grand historical events acted out. The trick, I think, for really top notch historical fiction is to draw the reader into an engrossing personal story that then plays out ...more
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
I always like an historical novel, and Penman's attention to detail and development of character are superb. I have a fascination for Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine and this novel fleshes out the motivation for their behaviour as well as giving the reader an overall picture of life in the 12th Century. The story of the family discord, the ambition and Henry's desire to retain power remind me of a current mining magnate and her children!
Rick Slane
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you like A Game of Thrones or the movie "The Lion in Winter" and want to know the real stories this is a writer for you.

This book lacked the flow and excitement of the previous book in the series. I felt like it could've been edited quite a bit, and there seemed to be a lot of extra characters there that didn't add much. It doesn't fail to bring the period to life, though, and for that I give it three stars.
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
Favorite Author - anxiously awaiting the next books! What a magnificent woman Eleanor of Aquitaine was!
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Play Book Tag: The Devils Brood 5 stars (LISTOPIA) 1 10 Nov 01, 2018 08:31AM  

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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.

The Sunne in Splendour, a novel about Richard III of England is one of the most popular books on the Historical Novel Society's list of best historical novels. In 1996, following

Other books in the series

Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine (3 books)
  • When Christ and His Saints Slept  (Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, #1)
  • Time and Chance (Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine, #2)
“The great hall was shimmering in light, sun streaming from the open windows, and ablaze with colour, the walls decorated with embroidered hangings in rich shades of gold and crimson. New rushes had been strewn about, fragrant with lavender, sweet woodruff, and balm... the air was... perfumed with honeysuckle and violet, their seductive scents luring in from the gardens butterflies as blue as the summer sky.” 15 likes
“When does he ever think?" Richard straddled a chair and accepted a wind cup from Raoul. "If he were to sell his brain, he could claim it had never been used.", Chapter 7” 9 likes
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