Lionheart–Breaking News!

I have some important news about Lionheart.   Some of you may have wondered how I was going to finish the book by year’s end since Richard is still bogged down in the Holy Land, fighting Saladin.   I wondered about that, too.  Actually, I often felt haunted by that approaching deadline and I became more and more uneasy as the months slipped by.  

      How did I get into such a predicament?  Well, in the past I’d always had three years to do one of my historical “sagas,” but for Lionheart, my contract only allotted two years.  Then I lost several months when I became unexpectedly ill in 2008 and had to cancel my book tour for Devil’s Brood.   It was also Richard’s fault.  If he’d stayed at home where he belonged, I wouldn’t have been faced with such daunting research challenges.  But instead he compiled more medieval frequent flyer miles than Marco Polo—France, Italy, Sicily, Crete, Rhodes, Cyprus, the Holy Land, Austria, and Germany, although in fairness to him, those last two countries were not on his original itinerary.  

        So the research alone could easily have taken two years—and it didn’t help that I am so obsessive-compulsive about research or that the research was so fascinating in its own right.  How could I resist intriguing nuggets of information like these—that the official languages of Sicily were Greek, Arabic, and Latin, that the Kings of Sicily kept harems, that medieval men called the Mediterranean the “Greek Sea,” that Cyprus had no walled towns or navigable rivers, that residents of the Holy Land called bananas “apples of paradise,” enjoyed a dessert of syrup mixed with snow, and adopted the eastern custom of dining on cushions.

        And then there are the amazing chronicles at my disposal, especially two written by men who accompanied Richard on crusade and two by men who were members of Saladin’s inner circle, truly a surfeit of riches.  They often read like battlefield dispatches, offering detailed accounts of the same fight as seen by the crusaders and the Saracens.  They provided me with the names of men slain in a particular battle, with personal quotes from Richard and Saladin, and allowed me to see these two legendary historical figures through the eyes of men who actually knew them.  They described Richard’s mood on his wedding day, Saladin’s bouts with colic, Richard’s love for a Cypriot stallion named Fauvel, Saladin’s kindness to a Christian woman whose child had been stolen by thieves.   So it has been a very enjoyable experience—tracking the Lionheart from Marseille to Messina to Famagusta to Acre—but there was always that accursed deadline looming on the horizon.

         I needed a knight in shining armor to ride to my rescue, and they are in short supply in the 21st century.  Fortunately, I had something better than a knight errant, a dear friend who shares my love of history in general and the MA in particular.  Valerie LaMont is the sister I’d always wanted to have.  My Facebook friends know that her husband Lowell exorcises my computer’s demons.  Well, Valerie has exorcised my deadline demons by coming up with an idea that was so simple and yet so brilliant.  Why not tell Richard’s story in two parts?

        I don’t know why this hadn’t occurred to me.  After all, it is the modus operandi I’ve used in the past for my Welsh trilogy and the Angevin trilogy.  And Richard’s life lends itself admirably to such an approach.  Happily, my publisher thinks so, too.   This is my news then—that I will be writing two more books about the Angevins.   Lionheart will deal with the Richard of legend, Coeur de Lion, ending as he departs the Holy Land and sails for home in October of 1192.  He leaves with reluctance and regret, for he sees the crusade as a failure since they were unable to recapture Jerusalem; he even denies himself the chance to visit the Holy City with his fellow crusaders and promises the new King of Jerusalem that he will be back.  Of course he has no idea what lies ahead—an unlikely encounter with pirates, shipwreck, capture, imprisonment, ransom, and betrayal.  Lionheart will be published by Putnam’s next year, probably in the autumn, and I expect the British publication will also be in 2011.  The second book, A King’s Ransom, will focus upon the man behind the myth, covering those improbable adventures on Richard’s homeward journey and the remaining years of his reign; we hope to publish it in 2012.  Yes, I will actually have two books coming out in consecutive years!

         This is one of those rare win-win situations.  It saves my sanity.  It keeps me from missing a deadline by a year or more, never a good thing.  I am spared the danger of having to race through the last part of the story in a mad rush to finish the book on time.  Now I will be able to spare more time for the remarkable ensemble cast in A King’s Ransom.  Richard’s devious, damaged brother John, flawed enough to be fascinating. His mother, the incomparable Eleanor of Aquitaine.  His favorite sister, Joanna, who was the daughter most like Eleanor.  His half-brother Geoff, whose career as Archbishop of York was almost as stormy as Thomas Becket’s.   Everyone’s favorite knight, William Marshal.  Richard’s mortal enemy, the French king.  Heinrich von Hohenstaufen, the Holy Roman Emperor, who may be the most unsympathetic character I’ve ever written about—and considering the rogue’s galley that has infiltrated my books, that is saying a lot. The prideful Duke of Austria; Richard’s greatest mistake may have been offending Leopold at the siege of Acre.   Richard’s sinister second-in-command, the mercenary captain, Mercadier.  Ranulf’s son Morgan; I had to have at least one Welsh character in the book!   Constance of Brittany, still grieving for her first husband, Geoffrey.  And of course Richard’s queen, Berengaria, a woman who was dealt a bad hand and played it as best and bravely as she could.  

      As you can tell, I am very happy about this development.  I hope you all will be, too, and I am looking forward to your responses.  Lastly, I have not had a chance yet to respond to some of your queries in comments posted for the last blog, Really Random Thoughts, but I will do so on that blog. 

 

July 2, 2010      

191 Responses to “Lionheart–Breaking News!”

  1. Jeremy Says:

    Love it! I agree that this is a win-win, Sharon. I think everybody will be happy to hear this news. I’m looking forward to the idea of two more Penman books about the Angevins! I, for one, just can’t get enough of them, especially when told by you.

  2. Susan Flantzer Says:

    Hi Sharon! I’d never complain about additional books by you! I’d welcome them wholeheartedly!

  3. Amy Says:

    I think it is a FABULOUS idea!!!!! Two SKP books in two years sounds like heaven to me!!! I am beyond excited! Please thank your lovely friend Valerie for us!

  4. Brenna Says:

    Sharon-

    I needed some great news today and this was it! What a wonderful idea!

  5. Matt Phillips Says:

    Congratulations, Sharon! That is exciting. It makes so much sense to devote separate books to Richard’s crusade and then his captivity and the rest of his reign. Are you still planning to write about Balian of Ibelin after you’ve finished your books about Richard?

  6. Tangerine Says:

    What great news! I’m very excited about the new developments. I can’t wait to read Lionheart!

  7. Megan Sneary Says:

    Sharon,
    One could almost hear the sign of relief and the joy of weight being lifted from your soul. I agree on the win-win but would add a third win for the publishers! I am happy to shell out multiple times for your books! Count me in for two purchases per publication - one for the shelf and one for my kindle!
    I am so happy for you, for us and for the publisher! (am I also happy for my kindle?)
    Megan

  8. Daphne Says:

    What wonderful news! I’m looking forward to both of them.

  9. Ann Spicer Says:

    Aaaaaaa!!! Doing the happy dance for you and for us! Now you won’t have to rush and that means we get your best effort which I am sure will be amazing! Am just beginning the Welsh Trilogy so I will just about be ready for Lionheart in the fall (sitll have to read Sunn in Splenor too). Yeah!! You Go Girl! lol.

  10. Misfit Says:

    Oh, happy day that is the best news ever.

  11. Nan Hawthorne Says:

    This is tremendous news.. everyone, and I mean everyone, will benefit from your being able to be as thorough as you are wont to be. Yes, even Richard and Saladin, who will have their lives better known and understood through the magic of your fiction.

  12. Gabriele Says:

    I’ve just noriced that I have a biography of Heinrich VI in my collection, coutesy of the Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaf that runs two series of biographies, Mediaeval and Antiquity. Haven’t got around reading that one yet; I’m too busy with my Romans right now.

    Two books may actually be a solution for my Arminius NiP as well; that thing is growing into a veritable monster. I can make up more than you because there are not many sources and only one by someone who actually knew Arminius in person, but that doesn’t prevent the story from growing.

    In a way it’s nice to not have documents for every pesky detail you then need to make fit to your story, on the other hand we know zero about the motivations of Arminius, and not much about the personalities of Varus (except for Velleius’ nasty diatribe which is pretty wrong) and Germanicus (here we have Tacitus who’s close to hero worship and not always reliable, either) - let alone Armiius’ enemy Segestes or his uncle Inguiomer. So I’ll have to try and figure out believable personalities and possible motivations by reading the sources very carefully and doing some between the lines guesswork.

    And there’s the storyline of the fictive characters as well; they play a much larger part in my books. In fact, they were supposed to be the MCs until Arminius stole the book. Sneaky German. :D

    Looking forward to some Richard in 2011.

  13. admin Says:

    Oh, yes, Matt. I am looking forward to Balian’s book, for I have quite a collection by now of books about the Holy Land and the crusade. The working title is The Land Beyond the Sea, which is the translation of Outremer, what they called it. Quite a few of the characters in Balian’s book are already in Lionheart–Balian, Conrad of Montferrat, Guy de Lusignan and his brothers, Saladin’s brother al-Adil, Humphrey de Toron, numerous lords of the kingdom, Queen Isabella, and of course, Richard’s nephew Henri of Champagne. They’re a lively bunch, too. Best of all, I’ll be able to use Saladin as a character, since in Lionheart he has to remain in the shadows, for he and Richard never met.

  14. Ted Oh Says:

    hahaha as always, the Lionheart becomes too large to fit in just one chronicle, or just one story. His ego, even now, demands that he stretch as much pages as he can.

  15. Elizabeth Chadwick Says:

    I think this is a brilliant idea. I was wondering how you were going to fit the rest in. It’s such a big story, and it does divide neatly. It’s excellent new, and I can tell that your enthusiasm is fired anew! Great stuff!

  16. Gabriele Says:

    Geesh, the amount of typos in my above post is embarassing. Why do I always see the wee buggers after I hit Submit? ;)

  17. Christy English Says:

    How wonderful Sharon! What an elegant solution…I can’t wait to get my hands on both of these future books…

  18. Kylie Says:

    What a brilliant solution - definitely a win-win. When will it be released in Australia?

  19. skip sceery Says:

    Great news Sharon. Two of your stories are always better than one! Anxiously awaiting the fall of 2011.

  20. Deb B Says:

    Yaaaayyyyyyy!!!!

  21. Sherri Says:

    This is awesome!! Can’t wait until next fall. 2 Sharon’s are even better than 1. Richard was a fascanating person — can’t wait to read his story!

  22. kristen elizabeth Says:

    Oh YAY! I agree with everyone else that this is a totally awesome idea. And your relief is palpable, so I’m glad for more than just selfish, yay-2-books-in-2-years reasons. Although I do rather like deadlines, myself. I especially love the whooshing sound they make as they go sailing by. :)

  23. Jel Says:

    Great news, the only down side is that you did not throw a Justin book into the deal. That would be stretching it though.

  24. Paula Says:

    I was trying to think what the ‘Lionheart’ news could be when you mentioned it on Facebook. Not going to make the deadline so will publish later than anticipated? Decided Richard is really very boring and do not want to write the book any more?
    It did briefly cross my mind that maybe there will be 2 books, but then I said to myself ‘No, don’t be greedy’. But it is true!!!! Yippeeee!!! After a really horrible week at work this is very welcome news. It will cheer me up for the weekend.
    Happy 4th of July to everyone in the US of A from down here in Oz!

  25. Patrick Says:

    This is excellent news. There is just enough room on my SKP shelf for two volumes. So we are going to see more of the “family”, that will complete the circle and open up new vistas. Any thought of introducing a “Loxley” to the next installment?

  26. Helen Hollick Says:

    wonderful news Sharon - although waiting for your books is always worth while, its great to be waiting for a definite TWO books - twice the pleasure to come!
    And pirates….. looking forward to pirates! *g*

  27. Elysium Says:

    That’s great news! I just finished Devil’s Brood and can’t wait to read more about Richard :)

  28. cindy ash Says:

    Wow, two books in two years; I don’t have to wait for what seems like eons between books! Yippee!

  29. Marie Z Johansen Says:

    HIP HIP HOORAY!

  30. Brenna Says:

    So here is a question Sharon that you probably don’t have the answers to yet. Will they both be paperback? And will they have the same type of design as Saints, Time and Chance, and Devil’s Brood?

  31. Koby Says:

    Excellent news! We need more and more books, Sharon, for more and more fans. I may have found another one - this Saturday I met Genevieve, who enjoys history, studied in France and Brittany, had been in sights such as Rennes and St. Malo, and had suggestions about where to go. We shall see how that progresses.
    In other matters, the Capetian dynasty was founded today with the crowning of Hugh Capet, and Louis XI of France, ‘The Spider King’ was born today.

  32. admin Says:

    I am so glad the blog is back! It was off-line for much of yesterday. Now I can wish a Happy 4th of July to all my American friends and readers, and mention that this was a significant date, too, in the history of Outremer. On July 4, 1187, Saladin utterly defeated the Christian army at Hattin, enabling him to take Jerusalem a few months later, which triggered the Third Crusade.

  33. Koby Says:

    I cannot express enough disgust for your evil ploy, Sharon, bringing down the blog and then raising it when I was unready, in order to write that before me. However, to prove my innate superiority, I shall mention that after the battle, Reynaud de Chastillon, or Raynald of Châtillon was executed, a fitting end for such a horrible man. I was actually in Kerak, and looked down on the rocks on which he dashed his prisoners.
    And a happy 4th of July to all who celebrate today.

  34. admin Says:

    Pure coincidence, Koby–honest :) I am in total agreement with you about Reynaud. He was such a monster, so naturally I can’t wait to write about him in Balian’s book! BTW, I found a great website recently, which calculates the distance between towns in Israel, very useful for my purposes.

  35. Joan Szechtman Says:

    What a great solution. It seems your friend and soul sister Valerie has cut the Gordian Knot for you. I see I have a lot of catching up to do in this era. I also have you to thank for turning me onto history.

  36. Marilyn Says:

    Great news, Sharon! There can never be too many SKP books.

  37. Katherine Says:

    Very good news indeed! I can’t wait to read your new books when they come out.

  38. Anne Whitfield Says:

    This is happy news indeed! I look forward to reading both books.

  39. Koby Says:

    And today, Henry II, one of England’s greatest kings, died at Chinon.

  40. admin Says:

    Beat me again, Koby! I always find July 6th a rather sad day for Henry II died such a tragic death. Who can forget his fevered mutterings, cursing himself as a “conquered king.” Even though he did bring much of it upon himself, he did not deserve such a unforgiving fate. John’s betrayal was truly the knife in his back.
    In other medieval happenings, Richard III and his wife, Anne, were crowned on July 6, 1483, not an auspicious day either in light of what lay ahead for them.

  41. Koby Says:

    See, Sharon? I’m willing to share.

  42. Sarah Says:

    I have never commented on your blog before, but I have been such a great fan of your writing since I was 14 years old, and I am very excited about the idea of Richard’s story being split in two. I do love that whole family (and the people surrounding them), right back to Henry’s grandfather - frustrating and difficult as they are!
    Although I wish I hadn’t read Koby’s comment, I’m feeling sad now!

  43. Sandy Says:

    The anniversary of Henry II’s death aside, this is a great day. The Dutch beat Uruguay in the World Cup and I find that you have not one, but two books on Richard in the works! I’m sure Henry will forgive me if I do my happy dance.

  44. Koby Says:

    And today, our darling enemy, Edward I ‘Longshanks’ died.

  45. admin Says:

    An Iranian widow was given 99 lashes and spent 5 years in prison for adultery, and now she has been sentenced to be stoned to death. Her children are pleading for international protest. Here is the online petition. The full story is at the Huffington Post and any major media website like CNN or MSNBC. http://freesakineh.org/ I don’t know if it will help, but her son’s plea has been haunting me. He watched her whipped because he said he did not want her to endure that alone, and now he is entreating the world to intervene.

  46. Kurt Says:

    Sharon,
    I look forward to both books. I am especially looking forward to how you deal with John’s regency while Richard is cooling his heels in Germany. Too many people only know that period from Robin Hood stories.

  47. Britta B. Says:

    Wonderful news about the two books! Now you can stuff much more of that research material into the books. Always fascinating.

  48. Britta B. Says:

    Gabrielle,
    in the previous blog post you asked me a question and I replied via your website. In case you didn’t receive that, the books I mentioned are: Sabine Ebert, Spur der Hebamme/Entscheidung der Hebamme/Fluch der Hebamme. Heinrich der Loewe not getting a good rep in those ‘-)

  49. James watson Says:

    Nice one About Your Books Sharon,One day I;ll Go too Rhodes or Cypress …Mebes Outremer, And just Day -dream one Month Away Visting Castles,Getting A sense of the Devine!! Of The Beaten Track. Also ,..Sharon Look After Your Health?…..”Take Your Time With The Books Now?” We;ll Still Be Here Waiting ,……For A Dashing Good Story.

  50. Laura R Says:

    Terrific news - I am so pleased to hear about the upcoming books..you are the best. I read many other MA authors but yours are just so vividly written and your dialogue is always emotional and memorable. Keep up the great work!

  51. Koby Says:

    And I do believe that Stephen Langton, the Archbisohp of Canterbury died today.

  52. Blair Hodgkinson Says:

    That’s wonderful news… two new books about my favourite Angevin by one of my favourite authors! No pressure!

  53. Gabriele Says:

    Britta,
    oopsie, had to fish that mail out of the spam filter. That filter eats everything. Except the Viagra spam. :D

  54. Koby Says:

    And today, the Battle of Northampton took place, wherein Richard Neville defeated Humphrey Stfford, Duke of Buckingham, and captured Henry VI (VII).

  55. Koby Says:

    And I believe that Amalric I of Jerusalem, who was Geoffrey’s half-brother and so Henry’s uncle died today.

  56. michelle Says:

    Hip Hip Hooooooorrrrrraaaaaaayyyyyy!!!!!!!! There can never be too many SKP books in the world….doing the happy dance!!!!!

  57. Koby Says:

    And I believe that today, Salah-a-Din’s garrison at Akko (Acre) surrendered to Conrad of Monteferrat, ending the Siege of Akko. Shortly after the capture, the victors entered the city… and the flags of Leopold, Duke of Austria were torn down from the palace, causing his enmity towards Richard.

  58. admin Says:

    True enough, Koby. When I was writing the scene where an enraged Leopold comes to Richard to complain about the actions of his men, I kept saying, “Don’t do this, Richard. Be conciliatory. You’ll be sorry, otherwise.” Of course he paid me no heed, any more than the teenagers do in those horror films where the audience screams out at them not to go down alone into the basement. Philippe was in favor of removing the banners, too, since it would have given Leopold a share of the plunder, but naturally he was able to avoid getting blamed himself.
    They didn’t surrender to Conrad, though he managed to get himself paid 10,000 dinars for helping to negotiate the surrender; that lad was quite an operator, the sort who could have found angles on a cue ball.
    I hope you don’t have too much fun at university, Koby. Otherwise you might not be able to find the time to keep us up to date like this–we’d miss that a lot!

  59. Koby Says:

    Hmm… I guess that since Conrad was the negotiator, they listed it as surrendering to him - though obviously it meant they surrendered to Richard and Philip. I also understand Richard’s viewpoint - they didn’t want Leopold to have equal status with them, just because he was the leader of the remnants of the German army.
    Today, Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury and Matilda, Duchess of Saxony and Bavaria (Henry and Eleanor’s daughter) died. Also it seems I forgot that the Battle of Alnwick where Ranulf de Glanville defeated and captured William King of Scotland took place yesterday.

  60. admin Says:

    I forgot that last one, too, Koby, I’m embarrassed to say, for it was a HUGE propaganda victory for Henry, convincing his subjects that Becket was now on his side. it always helps to have saints as allies!
    Matilda was a young woman, at least by our standards, when she died, only 33. At least Henry was spared that, for he died days before she did. It is strange that all of Henry and Eleanor’s children were younger than their parents when they died. Of course Eleanor managed to reach 80, no easy feat in the MA. But Henry was 56 and not one of his legitimate offspring lived to that age.

  61. Koby Says:

    I believe Richard and John’s hated enemt, Philippe Auguste, died today.

  62. Puppet Show NJ Guy Says:

    I don’t really agree on the methods and diet, but regardless a very well written post and has resulted in GREAT progress! I’ll link back from my NJ Birthday Party site in the links area, when I get time :) Cheers!

  63. Koby Says:

    And (supposibly) today John expelled Canterbury monks for supporting Stephen Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury.

  64. admin Says:

    I am experiencing on-going troubles with my blog, which is often down and so far they have not been able to resolve the problem. Since I can’t monitor it 24-7, I don’t know how often it is inaccessible. Could I ask a big favor? Could you guys check it occasionally and let me know if it is down? Thanks!

  65. Tracy Says:

    I’m so happy to have 2 books to look forward to from my favorite author - thank you, Sharon!!!! I can hardly wait!!!!

  66. Stephen Gilligan Says:

    I’m so happy to see that Lionheart will remain on schedule and that you won’t have to rush to finish the story. The story between Richard and John is so facinating! and of course, Justin :)

  67. jeremiah Says:

    I am very excited. I accidently ran across your books 6 months ago and I have not been able to read anything but your books since. I started with When Christ and his saints slept and have been reading them in chronilogical order. I just started The Reckoning yesterday and will read Sunne in Splendour next which will be the last one. This is great news!

  68. Koby Says:

    And today, John Talbot Earl of Shrewsbury died in the English defeat at the Battle of Castillon. John was the father of Lady Eleanor Talbot, who (it was claimed) was plight-trothed to Edward IV, causing the illegitimacy of his children.

  69. Judy Knox Says:

    Your dear friend Valerie is now also the friend of every SKP devotee …. please give her our heartfelt thanks for solving your dilemma with her clever idea.

    I am looking forward to adding two more amazing books to my very special bookshelf.

  70. Koby Says:

    And today, Edward I issued the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews (numbering about 16,000) from England, and Godfrey of Bouillon, Advocate/Defender of the Holy Sepulchre (first king of Jerusalem/Outremer) died.

  71. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Koby, thanks for reminding us of this. I put up a post on my Facebook page about Edward’s actions, talking briefly about medieval anti-semitism, the ugly underside of life in the MA. Here is the link for my non-Facebook readers. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1660007719#!/notes/sharon-kay-penman/medieval-intolerance/133874639985441

  72. Ken Says:

    Sharon, You might be interested in checking out HFO on this. We have been involved in discussing some new novels on S de Montfort by author Katherine Ash (I have just bought them and promised a review). EC responded that she has a friend (a female professor who happens to be Jewish) who considers S de M to have been the ‘vilest of the vile’ because of his anti-semitism.

    I have tried to argue (without defending his possible views in any way) that he would have been no different from all the (Western) Europeans of the MA and that his actions would have reflected the attitude of the Christian world at that time.

    Simon did expel Jews from Leicester in 1231 and certainly, in concert with his fellow Christians, held strong anti-semitic views. It fell to Edward 1 however, to actually expel all of them from England in 1290. This attitude was followed by Edward’s successors until the Jews were ‘formally’ accepted back to England in 1665, some 350 years later!

    The expelling of Jews occured in many other countries of Europe beside England, throughout the MA and reflects entirely badly on the preaching of the Christian faith by prejudiced clergy emanting from Rome, but assiduously followed by the clergy elsewhere!

    Do we now live in more enlightened times?

  73. Koby Says:

    I don’t know know about now, but 70 years ago we surely weren’t any better. The Évian Conference kind of proved that.

  74. Thomas Dakin Says:

    Dear Sharon,

    I literally just put ‘Devil’s Brood’ down and, dying to read more, i came straight onto this website to find out what is coming up. Estatically I find there is not one but TWO further books to come!!! MERCI. Indeed, upon coming to the end of Devil’s Brood I was so incredibly sad, not only because of the tragic circumstances of Henry II’s end, but also because I thought that this was the end of the Angevins for you. Ah, but how relieved I was to read in your afterward that you were not ready to leave this story quite yet…neither am I =)

    You really have the most amazing gift, thank you for sharing it with us all, and as meaningless as ‘favourites’ can be, you are without a doubt my favourite historical fiction writer. Again, whilst reading devil’s brood, i found myself desperate to take a side, to root for a ‘winner’, but you perfectly blended the stories of each character together in such a way as to make this truly impossible. Indeed, it was only possible to empathise with every character’s position, to understand that there was some right to every position, even with Richard as his father lay dying. Tragically, there were no winners whatsoever in your portrayal, and it’s this that is a testament to your greatness, because less able writers would not be able to make us understand this incredibly complex situation with such empathy for all characters, whatever side they were on. The reason I write about this, why it touches me so, is because I’m a huge believer in us needing to run from laziness when it comes to understanding complex issues, be it in the history classroom or when trying to comprehend contemporay ‘terrorism’, and so on. The ‘good versus bad’ is a rich facet of all storytelling, but to deal with this too simply is to fall prey to black and white prisms of the worst kind - the heart of extremism. Your stories are infused with good and bad, these meaty concepts, but you take them to such great depths that it’s hard to distinguish between one another sometimes, and this, i believe, is a form of greatness. That is, at least when considering history and storytelling.

    Keep writing, don’t ever doubt yourself =)

    In Peace,

    Tom

    p.s. you may remember me, i wrote to you late last year about film rights to Here Be Dragons etc.

  75. Bonita Eley Says:

    LOVE IT! -more time to talk about Richard and the stallion…I love horses:) This is great. You don’t spontaniously combust and we get three books instead of one!!

  76. Sharon K Penman Says:

    I had to share this, Owen’s take on a Mel Gibson film based on Sunne:

    Heaven forbid. Richard would probably have a mutilated Irish/American accent, would march and ride around shouting “Freedom” at every opportunity, including as he was being killed at Bosworth, fornicate with Margerite d’Anjou, take part in witchcraft sessions with Elizabeth Woodville, and have Anne Neville marrying Somerset for good measure. Have … See MoreI left out any possibility - if so please feel welcome to join in and point them out. I didn’t mention George of Clarence out of respect for Mel’s reputation as a drinker, although he could possibly have been cast in this role in which case George would have lived, having drunk the barrel dry.

  77. Koby Says:

    I quite enjoyed what Owen said. So true.
    Today is the 9th of Av, when according to Jewish tradition both Temples were destroyed. An easy fast to any who do so today.

  78. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Is this usually a fast day, Koby?

  79. Koby Says:

    Every Ninth of Av is a fast day, Sharon. Of course, it’s not always the same Gregorian date - for example, Edward I issued the Edict of Expulsion on what was the 9th of Av then, and the same thing happened in Spain - but that was obviously not the 20th of July.

  80. Sandy Says:

    Just discovered that Starz is airing a series based on Pillars of the Earth starting on Friday. Looks rather spectacular.

  81. cindyash Says:

    Sharon, the Jewish calendar is lunar, so thats why our holidays are all over the place on the Gregorian calendar (and one of the reasons why figuring out a date for Easter was such a problem)

    We don’t get Starz; Hopefully its better than the book.

  82. Koby Says:

    Indeed. Although since the Jews realize that they’re missing some days in the year, we have our own leap years every 2-3 years, where we add a month, in order to keep Passover in the spring. So while our holidays move around the Solar calendar, they’re never very far. The Muslim calendar is also lunar, but since they don’t adjust, their holidays really jump around.

  83. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Thanks, Koby and Cindy. I learn the most interesting things from my readers!

  84. Koby Says:

    We Jews are big on fasts, Sharon. We fast on the third of Tishrai, the tenth of Tevet, the 17th of Tamuz and the 9th of Av. These are all mourning fasts - Gedelya was killed on the Third of Tishrai, the siege of Jerusalem began on the 10th of Tevet, the walls of Jerusalem were breached on the 17th of Tamuz, and the Temples were destroyed on the 9th of Av. They’re from dawn to ‘the coming out of the stars’, except the Ninth of Av, which is from sundown to ‘the coming out of the stars’ the next day. There’s also the Day of Atonement - Yom Kippur, which is the 10th of Tishrai, but it is actually a holiday. It’s also from sundown to ‘the coming out of the stars’ the next day. The 9th of Av is probably the longest fast - it’s in high summer, while Yom Kippur is at the start of autumn.

  85. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Elizabeth Chadwick has a very interesting post on her blog about Brien Fitz Count. I know many of my readers took him to their hearts in Saints, so I thought you’d like to read Elizabeth’s “take” on the man. It sounds as if my Brien and hers are quite similar. She was able to unearth one fact that I could not–that Brien’s wife was considerably older than he was. This is just one more example of EC’s stellar research. Of course in my defense, I did write Saints before writers had access to the internet :) I couldn’t imagine going without its resources today. Here is the link.
    http://livingthehistoryelizabethchadwick.blogspot.com/2010/07/enigmatic-brian-fitzcount.html

  86. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Me again. I forgot to mention that Brien will be part of the supporting cast in Elizabeth’s new book, Lady of the English, in which the Empress Maude and Queen Adeliza will share centre stage. I think–hope–it will be published next year.

  87. Koby Says:

    And today, Joan of England, John and Isabella’s eldest legitimate daughter and queen consort of Scotland was born.

  88. Koby Says:

    And I believe that today the Siege of Damascus by Baldwin III of Jerusalem, Conrad III of Germany, Louis VII of France and Thierry of Alsace began, ending four days later.

  89. Kim Says:

    I don’t know how you do it. I would get so bogged down in the research and going off on interesting tangents I would NEVER be able to stay focused long enough to finish ONE story….much less the multiple ones you have.

    Thank you for being so detailed in your research. When I was first introduced to historical fiction one of my requirements was “how accurate is the author”. So I am ashamed to admit I researched the heck out of the first book I read of yours. You are amazing in your details and research and I have never “checked up on you” again. I have, however, become so fascinated with your characterizations of people that I have felt the need to look further into them.

    Thank you for opening up a whole new interest in my life!

  90. Kim Says:

    Looking back over the posts I just have to say OMG! It never occurred to me you did not have the internet for your earlier books.

    You, Lady, are officially my hero! Not that you weren’t already….

  91. Velma Says:

    What’s not to love about this situation? Two books instead of one is a bonus in my eyes! Looking forward to them both anxiously.

  92. Sharon K Penman Says:

    I’m sorry to have dropped off the radar screen like this, but I am in the middle of a very challenging chapter and have been devoting all of my time and energy to completing it before I succumb to heat stroke–that is a joke, sort of; the heat index as 108 here yesterday. As soon as it is done, I will respond to your comments, and hope to have a new blog up soon, too. Meanwhile, good luck to my fellow sufferers on the East Coast of the US. This has truly been the summer from Hell.

  93. Koby Says:

    Sharon, you don’t know hell until you’ve been a hiking for a full day in summer in the Negev - and then when you reach your campsite after sundown, you find the truck with food, fuel for tonight’s fire and tents isn’t there - and you wait 3 hours, starving, dead tired and freezing for it to come.

  94. Theresa Says:

    Stay cool, Sharon!

  95. Koby Says:

    And today, the Battle of Edgecote Moor where forces under Richard Neville defeated a royalist army led by the Earl of Pembroke.
    Also, a happy Tu B’Av to any who celebrate today!

  96. Koby Says:

    And today, the battle of Bouvines was fought, where Phillip II of France defeated William Longsword, Emepror Otto IV, Renaud de Dammartin and the Ferrand of Flanders.

  97. cindyash Says:

    “It never occurred to me you did not have the internet for your earlier books. ”

    Hee, I love it. Yes boys and girls, there was life before the net. In 1985 I was typing my entire Masters Thesis on an electric typewriter, using carbons to make copies, and kept a ready supply of white out handy. I would have killed for word processor, if I knew they existed!

    Sharon, as someone who encounters that hell every summer (May till about October), I send my sincerest sympathies. Stay cool :)

  98. Steven Till Says:

    How did you come across the contemporary sources you used for the novel, the ones written by the men who accompanied Richard on crusade and by the men who were members of Saladin’s inner circle? Can you disclose the names of the sources? I’d be interested in looking at them as well. Thanks!

  99. Carlos Says:

    Fantastic.. the more the better!!!. I can´t wait for the first one to come out. Will be looking forward to begin reading it. Thanks and good luck.

  100. Gabriele Says:

    Cindy, I was the proud owner of an Atari in 1985. And much envied. :)

    I loved the feature that automatically sorted those pesky footnotes. I had my share of fun with those when I still had to use a mechanic typewriter.

  101. Koby Says:

    Today, William Clito, son of Robert Curthose and contestant for England and Normandy died.

  102. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Hi, all. I have been incommunicado working on a key chapter, but it is almost done. Once it is, I will respond to your comments and answer the questions. I also ought to have a new blog up this week. More later.

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  104. Koby Says:

    Today, Marie of France, Louis and ELeanor’s daughter gave birth to Henry II, Count of Champagne, who would later become King of Jerusalem. He appeared briefly in Devil’s Brood, and I’m sure well see much more of him in Lionheart, yes?

  105. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Yes, indeed, Henri (I use the French spelling to distinguish him from Henry II) is a major character in Lionheart and will also be an important character in my book about Balian d’Ibelin. In fact, I just finished a chapter in which he has centre stage from first to last. Not easy to compete with a scene-stealer like Lionheart but Henri pulls it off nicely in my opinion.

  106. Koby Says:

    Well he was very influential, after all - he managed to become King of Jerusalem, even if he never used the title. His support was important to Phillip, and when he shifted it to Richard - that must have been momentous.

  107. Sharon K Penman Says:

    And Philippe went whining to the Pope, Koby, that Richard “lured” away one of his kinsman, who was obviously Henri! This was at the same time that he tried to get the Pope to absolve him of his oath that he wouldn’t attack Richard’s domains while he was still in the Holy Land. Celestine was very elderly and on the timid side, but this was too much even for him, for crusaders were under the protection of the Church, one reason why crusaders dared to leave their homes and families behind. BTW, I found some fascinating comments about Henri in the Saracen chroniclers; he was well respected by both sides. Steven, now that i have finally finished chapter 31, I’ll be able to give you that information about the chronicles; with one exception, they tend to be rather expensive, but they all ought to be available in libraries. Chronicles are my favorite sources–they are not always totally accurate, for they often are repeating rumors they’ve heard, and they have their own biases, but they offer a fascinating glimpse into the medieval mind. And the chronicles of the Third Crusade are absolutely riveting, incredibly detailed for a medieval source; they give the names of men who died in a particular battle! My next blog is going to be an interview with Nan Hawthorne, author of The Involuntary King and one of my favorite bloggers. But I think I might then do a blog about medieval chronicles in general and the crusader chronicles in particular.

  108. Koby Says:

    I don’t see why, Sharon - Both Richard and Phillip were his uncles, both of them being half-brothers to his mother, Marie. Is the fact that Phillip was her brother with a mutual father and Richard was her brother with a mutual mother that important?
    In Devil’s Brood, you portrayed Marie as more sympathetic and carinbg towards her Angevins relatives rather than her Capetians, which is understandable - If I had to choose between Capetians and Angevins, I know to whom I’d rather be related. the Angevins treated those who were their kin but not Angevin quite well, after all, while Phillip was horrible towards all his kin if it helped him. Perhaps Marie’s influence helped Henri’s decision.

  109. Sharon K Penman Says:

    I am in total agreement with you, Koby. Philippe was a poor sport about virtually everything! He did not have a good relationship with Marie, whereas she seems to have been close to her Angevin half-brothers. She founded a chantry to pray for Geoffrey’s soul after his untimely death, and of course, one of Richard’s surviving songs, written while he was in captivity, was addressed to her. Marie is a very interesting figure in her own right; Henri was not yet 15 when his father died and she served as regent of Champagne for a number of years until he came of age. And while we now know that there were no Courts of Love in actuality, she was still an influentual patron of “the arts.” She joined in a rebellion against Philippe at one point and also turned down a marriage proposal from Philip, Count of Flanders. I recently came across a new book about the Counts of Champagne and am eagerly awaiting its arrival. BTW, Mrie’s younger son, Thibaut, who appears in the tournament chapter in Devil’s Brood, would later marry Berengaria’s younger sister. The lives of these people were amazingly entwined. The uncle of “my” Simon de Montfort in Falls the Shadow went to the Holy Land and wed one of the daughters of Balian of Ibelin!

  110. Koby Says:

    Any comment about Philippe’s claim that his kinsman was lured away, when he was just as much Richard’s kinsman?

  111. Gayle Says:

    I tried to read the Involuntary King, and I think the book was pobably a good one, but I got twsted up by the format. too much space between paragraphs for one thing, which slowed reading the book down. I was constantly looking back to a previous page, only to find it was 3 pages back just because of the formatting. and the print was too big. and she jumped around telling the story. not cohesive enough. A good editor could fix all these issues and the book might be more of a mainstream success!

  112. Steven Till Says:

    Thanks, Sharon. I love reading Chronicles as well. There are plenty I have bookmarked online, but unfortunately, you can’t get everything online. I might have to make a trip to the library to see what all I can find.

    I have read Nan Hawthorne’s Involuntary King as well. It was a good book. She did a nice job with her characters. I’ve followed her blog for a couple of years now.

  113. Pat Muller Says:

    I just checked DB out of the Denver Public Library (I saw it on the recommended new books shelf months and months ago, but when I saw it was a trilogy determined to read the books in order.) I read the author’s note first, as always, and the promise of additional info on the website.
    OMG! I may never get around to the book, after dipping into this blog. Ummy, yummy yummy!

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