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Falls the Shadow

(Welsh Princes #2)

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  8,342 ratings  ·  363 reviews
Simon de Montfort was a man ahead of his time in the thirteenth century, a disinherited Frenchman who talked his way into an English earldom and marriage with a sister of the English king, Henry III. A charismatic, obstinate leader, Simon soon lost patience with the king’s incompetence and inability to keep his word, and found himself the champion of the common people.

Kindle Edition, 596 pages
Published by St. Martin's Griffin (first published April 1st 1988)
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Krista Baetiong Tungol
Words fail me. Just leaving you with this image to let you know what I thought of this book.


With the exception of a few authors, I've found most Historical fiction to be too factual and not dramatic enough. In cases where the drama was heavy, the facts are off (i.e. look at BRAVEHEART; great film but missing some Historical points, like the fact that the princess was about 7 or 8 at the time). Anyway, I know my standards are high but that's the way it is and that's why I'm very glad I've found Penman.
This tale centers around the power struggle between Earl Simon de Montfort, a true His
This is a book of two halves. The first starts just after Here be Dragons finished, so we are reacquainted with Llewelyn the Great, his warring sons, his daughter and his awful daughter-in-law, as well as meeting his adorable little grandson Llelo. This first half tells the tale of the bitter ongoing struggle for control of Wales between Lleweyln’s sons (and later his grandsons), and the marriages of his daughter. We also meet his late wife’s siblings, Henry III of England and Eleanor (Nell), wh ...more
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so happy I discovered this trilogy and author. Although this one did not move me like the first book "Here Be Dragons" it was still another fascinating read. I love how SKP stays so true to actual historical facts and adds just the right amount of drama.
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I hate that I have almost read all of Sharon Kay Penman's books. I know I can always reread them, but there is no recreating the first read. I love her books. You should read them too.
Jan 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
OK... I am loving this author and this Welsh Trilogy. Book Two starts up where the Here Be Dragons ends and completes the story of Llewelyn, the Prince of Wales, and his wife Joanna. The story then picks up with Llewelyn's sons and grandsons and their conflicts and turmoil as rulers of Wales. That story line runs parallel with the story of Simon de Montfort's rise to power. Simon is a French Nobleman who marries Eleanor (Nell) sister of King Henry III of England. Nell is also the Lady Joanna's h ...more
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Seldom have I read a historic novel that stays so close to the documented facts, while at the same time being thrilling and engaging on every page.
There was no point where I lost concentration or interest.
Penman really makes the characters and events come alive.
Falls the Shadow is the sequel to Here Be Dragons and is the story of two great men- Simon de Montfort, the principal leader of the Baronial opposition to Henry III, and the progenitor of representative democracy in England. It also featu
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
I'll admit from the start that I read Falls the Shadow soon after The Sunne in Splendour; this book, while not bad, suffered by comparison. Besides, I can't read too much of one author too quickly without becoming annoyed by her quirks. That said, Falls the Shadow was something of a disappointment.

First the good. As always with Penman's books, I learned a lot. I knew little about the time period and this book brought it to life. The major players are excellently drawn: Henry III, Simon de Montf
Deborah Pickstone
A re-read of an old favourite. SPs third novel still carries some of the historical problems I wrote about in my review of Here be Dragons but they get less with every book. Despite these, she is a wonderful writer and creates a picture of the happening at any point that is hard to beat.

This novel is about Simon de Montfort. How could anyone fail to make this interesting? He is a glorious character, a man very much of his time but yet outside of his time. His character is saved from his own stub
Kristen McQuinn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
At first, I was puzzled by the description of this book. The second in the “Welsh Princes” series, the description made no mention of Wales or Welsh characters, it sounded to be entirely about Simon de Montfort and Henry III. But I should have known that an SKP book would never be that one dimensional. The first half of the book strongly features Llelo, the grandson of Llywelyn the Great, a central character in the preceding Here Be Dragons. It pretty much picks up right where Here Be Dragons fi ...more
Dec 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Will review more when I have some time. However...

I was a little reluctant to read this because I loved the first one so much. I needed have worried. :) Though we don't have the Joanne/Llewelyn relationship to enjoy, there are plenty of other fascinating and likable people here. The story moves quickly, and even with the usual large cast Penman did a good job keeping everyone straight for the reader.

Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sharon Penman is a fantastic novelist and a first rate historian. After you read her books you feel as if you have had an entire upper level university course in English history. I knew little about the Second Baron's Revolt and the Kingdom of Wales but now I do! Terrific reading for anyone interested in medieval historical fiction!
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Welsh Prince series is well written and riveting. The brutality of the time is interesting while gritty to read. The author does a wonderful job breathing life into these historical characters and give unique insight of what might driven the people to do what is now recorded (somewhat) in time.
Christie Stratos
This is a good historical fiction piece that's generally well written and has a lot of interesting parts, but does spend too long on some very dry pieces of history that I supposed even the author had trouble making interesting. Parts of it were excellent, parts were good, and parts were boring. It was a little longer than it needed to be, but still a good read.
Geoff Boxell
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Up to Sharon Penman's usual high standard. What always gets me is that de Montford was Norman, but what he tried to establish was in fact a system similar to what teh Englsh had before teh Norman Conquest.
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why I don't like these books. They're just too slow and not enough happens, which are similar but not the same thing. It's still an interesting read, but I'd prefer to read a biography of these people. They're often less dry than this.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series
One thing I've been wondering since I started on the latter part of this book is the question of what exactly makes a book of historical fiction good. I am far too aware that, though I have enjoyed most of the books I've read in the genre, they are also few and far between, and so I find myself unable to judge by what could be considered their standard.

Instead, I find myself approaching the issue from a different angle. I find myself wondering whether this book would have held any appeal whatsoe
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
If you enjoy fact-based historical fiction written with beautiful words and fantastic imagery then this book is a must read, but first you need to read the first in the trilogy 'Here Be Dragons'. This book 'Falls the Shadow' is the second. Sharon Kay Penman is a master at her craft.

This book focuses on the 13th century's Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, his wife Nell (who happens to be King Henry's sister) and his brood. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit I had never heard of Earl Simon before r
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the first Penman novel's I read. Superb!! This is the story of the Baron's Revolt and the creation of the first real Parliament. Ms. Penman paints both de Montfort and Prince Edward vividly.
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know that moment when you’re finishing a masterpiece and you find yourself struggling to turn the page and you have no idea why till you realize your tears and emotions have ruined your motor skills. This novel is perfect in every way. Every word.
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
** 3 1/2 - 4 stars**

At the start of this second book in Sharon Kay Penman classic Welsh prince series, the author explains the title via T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men":

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

A poetically apt title, Falls the Shadow follows the lives of thirteenth century French born Simon de Montfort. Penman hooks the romantic by telling of de Montfort's famous love for infamous Plantagenet King John's youngest daughter, Eleanor "Nell" of Lei
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was verging on 3 1/2 stars for me when the final 75 pages or so put it solidly into 5 star territory. I was originally wanting more of the Welsh, since this book is about the Welsh princes. But, when the Simon de Montforte story kicked into gear, I was riveted. Like 'staying up until 2 am to finish on a work night' riveted.

This book had me crying ugly at the end. And yelling at people dead 700 years for making the wrong choices. Just gutted.

Ms. Penman is a treasure. And I'd put her among th
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second of Sharon Kay Penman’s excellent Welsh Princes trilogy. This concerns the later lives of Llewelyn the Great, his beloved wife Joanna (daughter of the decidedly evil King John), and introduces us to their descendants and extended family. In particular Joanna’s feckless half-brother Henry III, their spirited half-sister Eleanor (Nell) and her heroic husband Simon de Montfort.

It also continues the sad litany of Welsh brothers fighting each other when they should have united agai
I really couldn't go wrong with this book - Plantagenets, Simon de Montfort, Welsh princes, romance, war, tragedy . . . and, of course, Penman. I feel like I don't even need to point out that Penman creates believable, well-developed characters while staying as historically accurate as possible. Everyone who has read any of her novels already knows that, right? In this particular novel Simon de Montfort is the main character expertly brought to life with a huge cast of supporting characters (Hen ...more
I am a little ashamed that I had never heard of Simon de Montfort prior to reading this book. No, more than a little ashamed - truly aghast. If you have never heard of him either, or of the Second Baron's Rebellion, this book is a must read. As I read in someone else's review, I like my history "in story form", and this is about as good as it gets - both for the writing itself and for the gripping nature of the history at its core. Simon was the ultimate rebel - what all true rebels should hope ...more
Jul 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't praise Sharon Kay Penman highly enough! As regards her work, it almost doesn't feel like reading a novel but rather a transportation into another long ago world - I feel like I'm there in the background of every scene watching characters interact and events unfold. This world she creates is so real, solid and deep; it's three dimensional. Her novels are 'meaty'!! 'Falls the Shadow', the story of rebellious Earl, Simon de Montfort, is no different. It is rich in detail, beautifully writte ...more
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as all the others, but I did enjoy it. I was a little upset because it wasn't so much about the Welsh Princes as I had hoped. I have to admit that I new nothing about any of the characters in the book. I think the character of Simon de Montfort is extroadinary. He really was the first person to try to limit the powers of the Kings of England, and he almost succeeded. I think the only thing he misjudged was the common people of England. Yes, the Provisions w ...more
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Falls the Shadow by Sharon Kay Penman,was amazing. Simon de Montfoet was a remarkable man, Very clever and formidable. The way he stood up for people's rights and fought the King and the establishment to set them in place was commendable. I was not aware that England persecuted the Jews to such an extent: Quote, " We are barred from the craft and trade guilds. We are not permitted to sell our goods in your market places. Your church forbids us to work for Christians, or to employ them. Because w ...more
I started this book immediately after finishing the first in the trilogy, Here Be Dragons. It took me longer to read this one due to a schedule that didn't allow much time for pleasure reading, but that didn't diminish the power of Ms. Penman's narrative. As in Here Be Dragons, Ms. Penman delivers all one could ask for in a work of historical fiction -- an accurate accounting of historical events, amazing insight into the hearts and minds of her characters, and scenes that draw you in so complet ...more
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Historical Fictio...: Group Series: Falls the Shadow- Book 2 20 199 Nov 01, 2013 05:46AM  
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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. Penman suffered from an eighteen month bout with mononucleosis.

The Sunne in Splendour, a novel about Richard III of England is one of the most popular books on the Historical Nov

Other books in the series

Welsh Princes (3 books)
  • Here be Dragons (Welsh Princes, #1)
  • The Reckoning  (Welsh Princes, #3)
“Men kill for many reasons, they steal but for one-greed.” 13 likes
“He looked upon this verdant, blossoming spring, a spring Joanna would never see, he looked upon a field of brilliant blue flowers- the bluebells Joanna had so loved- and at that moment he'd willingly have bartered all his tomorrows for but one yesterday.” 6 likes
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