This novel by Sharon Penman involved a huge amount of research -and she herself says she had intended to write one book about Richard but has ended up writing two books – there was just so much material. The author also learnt many surprising facets of Richard’s skills and personality.
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There were occasions when ai wondered if I really needed to meet all the minor characters in the book – I am not sure whether a little pruning here might have enhanced the flow of the story, but that is only a minor point as this very well researched story was a page-turner. I believe I learnt a great deal about the third crusade – and what life was like in this far off country for the nobles who fought there.
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I was also amazed at the casual way they seemed to delegate kingdoms. Sometimes I was asking, myself what I would have done in those circumstances. Like any good book, it made one think.
Perhaps above all, I was impressed by the complexity of Richard’s character, not just a swashbuckling, valourous King, but a man who planned his campaigns as carefully as any great general, but who was foiled by the perfidy of lesser men.
The notes at the end were equally interesting and I certainly intend to read the sequel.
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