Elfscribe's Reviews > Here be Dragons

Here be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
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Feb 25, 2012

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bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read in February, 2012

** spoiler alert ** This is a story about the time of the reign of King John (of Magna Carta fame) and the Welsh freedom-fighter Llewelyn. Much of the story is from the point of view of John's bastard daughter Joanna who has the fate of most high born women of her time, married as a political alliance to her father's enemy, Llewelyn. The core of the story is about her torn loyalties between her father and her husband. The author clearly did her homework and I enjoyed learning about the politics of the time, filled with betrayals and shifting alliances. Wow. I could also see that Penman views King John as a complex character, with both strengths and weaknesses and the author chose a loving relationship with his daughter as a way to show that complexity. I did come away from it feeling like I had a good understanding of the man. The book covered many years and a very complex set of events fairly smoothly, so I didn't feel too lost amidst all the characters. However, I found the frequently shifting points of view and the gaps in time distracting,even if I understand why Penman chose that technique to tell the story.
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