SKP is probably my FAVORITE author. I sure wish she'd write some more of these amazing, epic historical fiction novels!! This one starts the story of Simon de Montfort - you are gripped from the very first page. LOVE IT!!
Once you start reading books by Ms Penman, you just cannot stop...I actually read this book first, though it is book 2 in a series of 3. You don't really need to read them in order, though. Love all her books and the intriguing glimpses into the Royal class. All the backstabbing, lying, manipulating, scheming makes me sooo glad I was never related to any "blue bloods"! A fun romp through history (not sure how accurate it is, but it is sure fun to read)
In this second novel of what is called the Welsh trilogy, Falls the Shadow deals with the life of next generation of the Welsh Princes, and the Norman English King Henry III as well as the Barons War, which was lead by Simon de Montfort.
Sharon Penman is a writer of master pieces; her books are close to perfection. They are researched thoroughly, so much so that many college professors will use them in teaching about this period in medieval studies. Her gift for story telling is such that you are transported to that time that place. If it is the emersion in the time period, you are looking for look no further. I knew very little about the Barons war or about Simon De Montfort the Earl of Leicester. I knew even less about the Welsh history of this period. I cannot recommend these books highly enough, in fact I recommend ALL of Sharon Penmans books. She has set the gold standard for historical fiction in my opinion. I recommend that you read these in order however. Here Be Dragons, Falls the Shadow, and The Reckoning. Dont let the size of these books deter you they are worth the time. I wept, and laughed and then wept again, not many writers can wring such emotions for me, but they are a surety with Sharon Penman. 4.5 stars.
I took off half a point because this book does bog down slightly about 2/3 of the way through, press on however you will be rewarded.
If Sharon Kay Penman were a history teacher, there would be no grumbling about boring history lessons. She beautifully and vividly brings the people and times to life and creates suspense and interest in the politics of the thirteenth century.
This is a story of two different historical characters from the 13th century: Llywelyn ap Gryffydd , Prince of Wales and Simon de Montfort. Both of these men craved power and political connections; however they were very different people.
When Llywelyn the Great died, the legacy of a united Wales could be in jeopardy while Llywelyns family members squabble among themselves. Can the Welsh put aside their family strife and pull together to keep the English from gaining their lands? Can a militarily inept King Henry III of England squash the Welsh rebellions and tame the French at the same time? Can a penniless youngest son of a French nobleman, Simon de Montfort, claim his English inheritance and become a political force in King Henrys court?
The characters and dialogue seem so real, you feel like you are sitting down and having a conversation with these people from the 13th century. Although this book spent more time in England than Here Be Dragons, the story of Simon de Montfort is worth the effort. The powerful portrayal of the characters and the time and place make this another 5 star read from Sharon Kay Penman!
A great historical fiction (second in a 3-part series) about Wales during the reign of Englis King Henry III. A wonderful window into life in those times. Interesting characters and gripping events that are historically accurate make for great reading.