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Devil's Brood

(Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine #3)

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4.38  ·  Rating details ·  6,953 ratings  ·  392 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 confr
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Hardcover, First US Edition, 736 pages
Published October 7th 2008 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Average rating 4.38  · 
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 ·  6,953 ratings  ·  392 reviews


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Emily May
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, historical
I was zipping along merrily through this book, enjoying the journey but still feeling that neither Time & Chance nor Devil's Brood were quite as gripping as Maude's story in When Christ and His Saints Slept, when suddenly I realised - and I'm not sure when it happened - that I had become very deeply invested in Henry's story.

Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II were a delightful couple to read about. "Delightful" in the sense that their fiery personalities, lust for one another and for power, th
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Karla
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
Shelves: did-not-finish
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
Iset
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
Anna
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
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Orsolya
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 H
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Jemidar

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 knowing
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Krista Claudine Baetiong
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 a ...more
Misfit
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 mo ...more
Shawn
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 char ...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 Mar
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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 r
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Leila
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The third part of the brilliant Plantagenet series and as always with Sharon's books it was absolutely brilliant! Meticulously researched, with the historical facts this is a fascinating story of a strong and powerful king whose weakness was his unfortunate love for his sons which in the end finished him. Sharon's immaculate descriptions of Henry himself, his relationship with Eleanor his Queen, and his mistakes made with his sons are very powerful. The tragic tale of the murder of Becket indire ...more
Laura
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 Richard´s 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.
Amanda
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! ...more
Carey
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 father'
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Dangermousie
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
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Julie
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 m ...more
Ernestina
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 a
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~Leslie~
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 abilit ...more
Laura
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 books of all t ...more
Cheryl
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!
Sud666
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Sharon Kay Penman's excellent series about the Plantagenets continues. This finishes the story of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. The year is 1172 and Henry has been married for decades and has four grown sons: Henry the Young King, Richard the Lionheart, Geoffrey II and John Lackland.

A finer brood of quarrelsome wolves has rarely been birthed. The fault lines start to appear when Henry's affair with Rosamund Clifford has left Eleanor far angrier than Henry assumes. This conflict, coupled wi
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May
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
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SonOfYork
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 gai
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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
Marilyn Saul
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
The last of the Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine series, I liked this one the least. Reading 736 pages of family dysfunction was just too depressing. That and battle after battle after lie after lie. Don't get me wrong - this is a well-written book (as is the whole series) and Penman does a remarkable job of bringing history to life. But I'm due for a break now and will pick up the succeeding Plantagenet series somewhere down the line at a much later date. ...more
Jeremy Forsyth
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant! Just a damn good book!
Amy Johns
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Whew— took me a while to get through 750 pages while back at school, but it was worth the effort. Poor King Henry and his problematic sons... and they say women cause and court all the drama.
Kiesha ~ 1Cheekylass
Terrible narration by Joe Peck but the story was still interesting.
Heidi
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 felt ...more
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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
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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)

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“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.” 14 likes
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