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Hardcover, Putnam Adult, 2011, ISBN13 9780399157851, ISBN10 0399157859
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Richard, the second surviving son of Henry Plantagenet and Eleanor of Aquitaine, inherits the throne from his brother, before embarking on the Third Crusade, a conflict that is complicated by the schemes of his usurping brother, John. Publishers Weekly,In this gritty, unsentimental, and richly detailed epic, Penman (The Sunne in Splendour) tackles the legendary King Richard the Lionheart (son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine), and nearly succeeds in making him human. As Richard leads the Crusades in Outremer (the land beyond the sea), Penman depicts many story lines: the friction between the English and French allies; the complex political tension between warring factions within Jerusalem; the mutual admiration between Richard and Saladin (a Sunni Muslim who became leader of the Saracen forces and sultan of Egypt); and Richard's neglect of his young bride, Berengaria. The story follows Richard as he journeys from England to Sicily to free his sister, to Cyprus and Outremer, and finally to his departure from the Holy Land to reclaim his own lands from his treacherous brother John. Though hinting about events that don't take place in the book may feel frustrating, and though Penman never allows readers to meet the elusive Saladin, she ably captures the political intricacies of the time. Readers will eagerly await the next installment, which will focus on Richard's capture and ransom on his way home. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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