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The Sixth Surrender

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  164 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Read Hana Samek Norton's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.

A transporting debut novel set in thirteenth century France-a time when chivalry reigned and treachery ruled

In the last years of her eventful life, queen-duchess Aliénor of Aquitaine launches a deadly dynastic chess game to safeguard the crowns of Normandy and England for John Plantagenet, her las
Paperback, 468 pages
Published July 27th 2010 by Plume (first published July 22nd 2010)
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Marie Z. Johansen
Sep 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book kept me up reading later than I should have for several nights. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and, as a first effort, I think there must be more good reads to come from this author. There were some aspects of the romances that made me think "maybe not!". I think that the author stretched to hold some of the plot and romance together but that did not stop my enjoyment. I am a fanatic about historical fiction - but I always remember that it is, in fact, fiction - not non-fiction - and s ...more
graveyardgremlin (formerly faeriemyst)
After much struggle, I made it to the halfway point (page 257 of 468) and just cannot go on. There seems to be too much going on and I'm still uncertain what the main plot is. Political intrigue? Possibly a romance between Juliana and Guérin? Although how that would ever happen is beyond me, seeing as their animosity towards each other isn't the hate-to-love you see in other books. This is real hatred. The book has moments where the passages are well-written and engaging, though they're few and ...more
Jan 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
I think I got a little more than a 100 pages in and I wish I had never picked it up.
As an extremely biased to my emotions kind of reader, I'll say it isn't really the authors fault. I didn't like the storyline, nor where it was going. The historical stuff was interesting, but at times I did feel like I was reading a text book.
I like happy endings, what can I say... I skipped to the end and decided to stop reading because I realized the story went where I didn't like. I already felt as if I was
Jun 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
The Sixth Surrender had some well-written moments. Unfortunately, it was also very confusing with a convoluted plot. It tells the story of Juliana, heiress to the small border viscounty of Tillieres. She intially was to become a nun. During her time as a novice at Fontrevaud, Juliana becomes a scribe for the aging Alienor (Eleanor of Aquitaine). Juliana wishes to marry instead of taking her vows. While Samek doesn't exactly make clear what Juliana expects from marriage, she certainly got somethi ...more
Page (One Book At A Time)
Jun 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
I enjoy historical fiction, but admit that I'm not well rounded in it. I have a tendency to stick to British historical fiction because of my heritage. This one sounded interesting because it contains some familiar English figures, but it's set in France.

I do admit I had to constantly remind myself this was more to do with the French, especially since it has King John, and some of the book is set in England. I was very unfamiliar with many of the names of the characters and locations. I also was
Jul 18, 2010 rated it liked it
This is not so much a book of romance as it is a story of Historical Fiction. Not a bad story but this one is on the much darker side of what might have gone on during the reign of King John and his mother Alienor of Aquitaine.

The storyline is set pretty close to the end of Alienor's life and portrays her as a schemer in all aspects of the lives of those whom her son rules and those that she loves. Granted I doubt that living during those times would have been easy on anyone but not all could be
Jul 28, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Louise Leetch
Aug 05, 2010 rated it liked it
As a lifelong admirer of Eleanor of Aquitaine, I’m always excited to see a book about her and her remarkable family. The Sixth Surrender focuses on her son, King John, who acceded to the throne of England after his brother Richard I and father, Henry II. Author Norton chooses a minor player, Juliana de Charnais, as a link to the machinations of Alienor (the French spelling used by the author), her son and the nasty old Lusignans. Armand de Lusignan and his family suffered enough degradation unde ...more
Free Fall
Oct 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
What a rush! Once I started reading, I really couldn't stop. Juliana is a novice nun who chooses marriage and her home of Tillieres in place of becoming cloistered. The queen-duchess, Alienor, gives her hand in marriage to Guerin de Lasalle, a mercenary with a lot of secrets.

Really, a ridiculous amount of secrets. His origin seems to be made up of a bunch of lies and misdirection, much of which is revealed only in the latter half of the book.

All right. So the newly wedded couple is extremely unh
Dec 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Sixth Surrender Tells Of A Sister Not Yet Taking The Veil In A Nunnery As She Was Inquisitive About The Outside World And She Constantly Got In Trouble With The Abbess. Juliana Was Sent To Become A Nun When Her Father Wanted Her To Marry An Old Man, After Living Like A Nun For Five Years She Was Not Sure If She Wanted To Take The Veil And Was Given The Opportunity To See If She Could Make A Life For Herself But The Year 1200 Was Not The Time For Woman To Be Alone And Unprotected! Juliana Wan ...more
Aug 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Hana Samek Norton joins the popular historical fiction scene with The Sixth Surrender, a spellbinding, lovely debut for historical fiction/historical romance readers.

Set in the thirteen century, young Juliana (also known as Sister Eustace) lives a content life as a humble nun, but as the only heir to Tillieres, she desires to protect and keep her home which, of course, requires that she marry. Not only must she marry, but Juliana must pledge herself to the powerful French queen, Alienor (also kn
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
This book was a gift from the author. I met Hana at the National Archives where she was researching a new book. Hana is delightful, engaged, and thoughtful. She would be a wonderful author guest for an event.

I have looked at some of the reviews and saw a mix of opinion. I found the book to be packed with historical detail, a sympathetic heroine, and a bevy of plot twists. I have read a lot of non-fiction and connected to the real historical figures (Eleanor of Aquitaine and The Pearl of Brittan
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this book again for the second time, and I was able to enjoy it so much more considering that the plot diet fly over my head! The main female character Juliana left a lasting impression on me, not necessarily because of her character, but because of her actions. I felt like the entire book she put up a great face against Lasalle's constant offenses. To be completely honest, I picked up on the books romantic trail more than the historic one. I didn't quite follow the whole book and was con ...more
This IS NOT historically accurate at all. The author even says she only used secondary sources in her research for this book. There are people with these names in existence, but they're not always around at the same time.

That said, this was a highly complicated and confounding book. Set at the end of Eleanor of Aquitaine's life, during John Softsword's reign, the young Juliana de Charnais has a choice of becoming a nun or marrying some douche that Eleanor found for her. Course all of this would
Apr 26, 2011 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book, but it was rather difficult to enjoy. The plot is generally devoid of action for dozens of pages at a time and when something does happen it is often so obscure that I was left having to re-read several pages trying to figure out if I missed something. The characters and their motivations are uneven--especially the male lead and often it seemed like the author was more interested in showing off an extensive knowledge of English/French history and culture than actually ...more
Stephi K.
Mar 07, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am not a historical fiction reader at all and came across this book due to a silly reason: I was Googling the meaning of the names of my family members. My first name is Brittany and my daughter is Eleanor. Long story short, I ended up researching Eleanor of Brittany and wondered if there were any "good books" about her. A month later, I'm writing this review. While the book did not include much about Eleanor of Brittany (as I had known before purchasing the book), I found myself excited to re ...more
Jan 10, 2011 rated it did not like it
The Sixth Surrender is a romance dressed up as an historical novel, with a beautiful, fainthearted heroine and a devastatingly handsome, bad boy of a hero whose behavior is simply cruel. The plot centers on the dynastic wars between the French and English during the reign of King John (of Magna Carta fame, early 13th century), but there's just too much inane sexual sparring, which constantly interrupts the action. Even without that problem, the plot is choppy and confusing, even for readers fami ...more
It too me three tries just to get past the first 30 pages. Still, I really wanted to read this book so I kept going. 100 pages later I decided to quit after all. I'm not sure what the worst thing about this book was --- the flat and unlikable characters? The bad writing? Or maybe it was the fact that the story is just so confusing ... The author keeps throwing names and events at the reader without any explanations whatsoever. Perhaps she thought that only people who are very familiar with the s ...more
Sep 02, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
After reading about 100 pages I decided not to finish this novel. I didn’t care for the characters, especially the male protagonist (crude, selfish, lacking morals, promiscuous…) I also had a hard time following the political intrigue—unless you know early 13th century Medieval well (I am only familiar with it) you can become lost when the author throws in too many plots. In addition, in so far as I got, there are explicit sex scenes and profanity (taking God’s name in vain and vulgar words). To ...more
May 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
Even for the time the book is set in, Lasalle is sadistic and Juliana is a doormat. I think the author was trying to write an old-school romance, but it didn't work because the characters genuinely hate each other. The abrupt change to love in the last third is unrealistic. The entire first half of the book is from Juliana's perspective, so the reader never understands why Lasalle does the things he does.
Oct 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
I thought there was a 50-50 chance that this was going to be good; either that or schlocky romantic badly written overwrought historical fiction. It turned out to be well written, good historical detail, and well paced. I think it owes a lot to Dorothy Dunnett. I couldn't put it down. I did, however, space out a lot of the geeopolitics of England and France in the first four years of the 13th century, which is when this was written.
Jun 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I was so privileged to meet the author of this historical novel. She is enthusiastic, knowledgeable and enchchanting! She has taken on one of my favorite families, the Lusignans. She captures the time, the unbelievably complicated family lineages, and the wonderful hauteur of Ailenor d'Aquitaine. I found the "romance" a bit tedious given the times. Can't wait to read her next, The Serpent's Crown.
Mireille Prusak
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-shit, favorites
Usually I'm pretty hit or miss with books like this, but this one was fantastic! Incredibly rich in historical detail, with a hell of a good story and a surprising number of believable twists and turns. The author isn't just a writer, she's also a fantastic storyteller--the two don't go together as often as you might think (or hope). The only downside to it is that I had a couple of nights of shortened sleep due to staying up too late reading. I can't recommend it enough!
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Took a while to understand and remember the characters- there was a lot of background. Really exciting read though, the plot was suspenseful and so many lies are uncovered. You really want to root for the couple to make it and fall in love. I couldn't stop thinking about it when I stopped reading!
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you put this book down the first time I would recommend that you pick it back up and give it another try. It might be a little slow at the beginning and Guerin might seem heartless but you're truly missing out on a good read. I couldn't read it fast enough. Looking forward to more books by Hana Samek Norton.
Nov 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
My rating is 4.5

From my book review blog Rundpinne...."Norton grabs the reader’s attention and does not let go in her fast-paced, detail-oriented and compelling storylines."...the full review may be read here.
Jan 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: from-library
I would give the first half of this book a 4 and the last half a 2. I was very engaged with the story and the characters for the first 200 pages or so but then the author threw in way too many plot twists and way too many secret sons and daughters. The storyline got extremely complicated and improbable in the second half.
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was quite pleased with the author's research. I also appreciated the author's efforts at creating characters that fit into the story's time period, and not giving us 21st century mindsets awkwardly transplanted into the wrong era.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 12, 2015 08:40AM  
  • The Secret Eleanor
  • The Running Vixen (Ravenstow Trilogy, #2)
  • Duchess of Aquitaine: A Novel of Eleanor
  • King Arthur's Bones (The Medieval Murderers, #5)
  • The Rebel Princess (Alais Capet, #2)
  • The Book of Eleanor: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • The Fool's Tale
  • To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • The Goldsmith's Daughter (Roger the Chapman, #10)
  • Harlot Queen
  • The Lute Player
  • Queen Defiant: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • The Queen Of Four Kingdoms (Anjou Trilogy #1)
  • Shadow of the Alchemist (Crispin Guest, #6)
I have a passion for the Middle Ages dating to a childhood exploring the ruins of castles and cloisters in the (now) Czech Republic where I was born & raised, and where I first learned the difference between a halberd and a hauberk.
Since historical novels were one of the few uncensored subjects behind the Iron Curtain, I became a voracious reader of the genre–Scott, Dumas, Sienkiewicz, Gogol,
More about Hana Samek Norton...

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