BOOKS AND BANKRUPTCY

         I’m sorry it has taken me so long to do a new blog.  My usual version of “The dog ate my homework” excuse was “Henry and Eleanor are running roughshod over their lowly scribe again” or with LIONHEART, “Richard is being a typical bloody-minded Angevin.”  But this time I can’t blame Coeur de Lion; he has actually been cooperating lately since we’re drawing near to one of his most celebrated exploits—the rescue of Jaffa.  The delay was caused by my chronic back problems, which flared up while my chiropractor was out of town; the next time he goes on vacation, I am stowing away in the trunk of his car.   But he has returned and I no longer have to severely limit my time at the computer.  So before I plunge into Chapter 34, I am going to do a blog about a subject dear to all our hearts—books.

        I have a new batch of books to recommend, which makes the “bankruptcy” reference self-explanatory.   Many of you have probably seen that bumper sticker, “So many books, so little time.”   Well, a variation of that ought to be “So many books, so little money,” for a number of temptations are coming our way.   Let’s start with the good news from Sourcebooks, which is reprinting some novels beloved by readers of historical fiction. 

 

1)   LEGACY, by Susan Kay, out now; this is, IMHO, the best novel written about Elizabeth Tudor.

2)   GREAT MARIA, by Cecilia Holland, my favorite Holland novel, out now.

3)   FOR THE KING’S FAVOR, by Elizabeth Chadwick, September 1st; this was published in the UK as THE TIME OF SINGING.  Sourcebooks has already published Elizabeth’s excellent TO DEFY A KING, set in King John’s reign, and her acclaimed novels about William Marshal, THE GREATEST KNIGHT and THE SCARLET LION.

4)   HAWK OF MAY, by Gillian Bradshaw, the first book in her Arthurian trilogy, September.

5)   DESIREE, by Annemarie Selinko, October 1st; I read this as a teenager and developed a huge crush on Napoleon, of all men!

6)   ELIZABETH, CAPTIVE PRINCESS, by Margaret Irwin, October 1st, the second in her trilogy about Elizabeth Tudor.

7)   FOREVER QUEEN, by Helen Hollick, November 1st; this is her novel about Queen Emma with a new title, and I can recommend it highly.

8)   A BLOODY FIELD BY SHREWSBURY, by Edith Pargeter, November 1st; this is my favorite Pargeter novel, considered a classic by many.

9)  CHILD OF THE NORTHERN SPRING, by Persia Woolley; this is the first in her wonderful trilogy about Guinevere.

10)  LADY OF HAY by Barbara Erskine, October 1st; I haven’t read it, but I know many readers loved it. 

 

        The above books are reprints.  Sourcebooks is also publishing Susan Higginbotham’s new novel about Margaret of Anjou, titled QUEEN OF LAST HOPES, in January, 2011.  And here’s a novel about Richard III that is already out, THIS TIME, by Joan Szechtman.  As many of you know, I usually do not read other writers’ novels about “my” characters; after living with them for so long, I tend to get rather possessive!  But Joan’s novel is near the top of my TBR pile, which is almost scraping the ceiling by now, for it has a very clever premise–Richard is transported from Bosworth Field and into our time.  It has gotten enthusiastic reviews from people whose opinions I respect, including Brian Wainwright, author of the excellent WITHIN THE FETTER-LOCK, a novel of Constance of York, and the fiendishly clever Ricardian spoof, THE ADVENTURES OF ALIANORE AUDLEY.    I’m looking forward to reading it as soon as I complete LIONHEART, and I am happy to report that Joan is busy at work on a sequel.    Another Ricardian novel on the horizon is Anne Easter Smith’s QUEEN BY RIGHT, about Cecily Neville, to be published in May of 2011; Anne, of course, is the author of three other historical novels, A ROSE FOR THE CROWN, about Richard III, DAUGHTER OF YORK, about his sister Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy, and THE KING’S GRACE, about Perkin Warbeck. 

        Detouring into the twelfth century, it has been a busy year for Eleanor of Aquitaine.  Cecilia Holland has a new novel out about her, titled THE SECRET ELEANOR.   In the spring, Christy English’s THE QUEEN’S PAWN, came out.   And Elizabeth Chadwick intends to write about Eleanor after her novel about the Empress Maude/Matilda, LADY OF THE ENGLISH, is published.     

       I am not done doing damage to your bank accounts.  Margaret George will have a new novel out next April, ELIZABETH I.  And in February a novel is coming out that I really loved.  It is called EXIT THE ACTRESS by Priya Parmar, and is a delightful account of the love affair between Charles II and the most famous and appealing of his mistresses, Nell Gwyn.   And since I proclaimed LEGACY to be the best novel I’ve read about Elizabeth Tudor to date, I might as well do the same for Norah Lofts’s THE CONCUBINE, for I think it is the best novel written about Anne Boleyn.  I also have news about three of my favorite mystery writers.  Lindsey Davis has a new Falco mystery coming out at the end of August, NEMESIS; it is already published in the UK.  Priscilla Royal’s latest, VALLEY OF DRY BONES, comes out on November 2nd, and we have another Margaret Frazer to look forward to, A PLAY OF PIETY, which will be published on December 7th.

        In previous blogs, I’ve often mentioned the various chronicles that I’ve been using for LIONHEART, and I’ve been asked for additional information about them.   I highly recommend them, for they offer an amazingly intimate glimpse into the medieval world.  THE CHRONICLE OF THE THIRD CRUSADE is a translation by Helen J. Nicholson of The Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi.  I was able to get two translations of Ambroise’s Estoire de la Guerre Sainte, but I would suggest going with the most recent one, THE HISTORY OF THE HOLY WAR, translated by Marianne Ailes.  The other side is represented by THE RARE AND EXCELLENT HISTORY OF SALADIN, written by Baha al-Din ibn Shaddad, a member of Saladin’s inner circle, translated by D. S. Richards, and by THE CHRONICLE OF IBN AL-ATHIR FOR THE CRUSADING PERIOD,THE YEARS 541-589/1146-1193: THE AGE OF NUR AL-DIN AND SALADIN, also translated by D. S. Richards.  For those who read French, there is CONQUETE DE LA SYRIE ET DE LA PALESTINE PAR SALADIN, written by another of the sultan’s intimates, Imad al-Din al-Isfahani, translated by Henri Masse.   There are a number of other chronicles, too, of course—Roger de Hoveden and William of Newburgh and the snarky Richard of Devizes, who sniped that Berengaria was “probably” still a virgin when she and Richard left Sicily for the Holy Land.  When I compose a reading list of the books I consulted for Lionheart, I will put it up on my website, but I am holding off until the novel is done. 

          For those who’d like to read about Richard’s reign before Lionheart is published next year, John Gillingham remains the gold-standard for biographies of Richard I; his primary biography was published in 1999, and he has also written numerous articles about Richard, many of which are included in RICHARD COEUR DE LION, KINGSHIP, CHIVALRY, AND WAR IN THE TWELFTH CENTURY.  Frank McLynn has also written a biography of Richard and John; in the US, it is titled RICHARD AND JOHN, KINGS AT WAR, and in the UK, LIONHEART AND LACKLAND.  I have not read the half of the book pertaining to John, so I can’t comment upon it, but I have found very few errors in the half devoted to Richard.  A much older biography of Richard by Kate Norgate has stood the test of time surprisingly well.  And I highly recommend the biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine by the British historian Ralph Turner. 

      There are so many books written about the Crusades, although oddly, not specifically about the Third Crusade.  The best that I’ve read so far is Thomas Asbridge’s THE CRUSADES: THE AUTHORITATIVE HISTORY OF THE WAR FOR THE HOLY LAND.  I may not always agree with his conclusions, but his research is very compre-hensive and if you want to read only one book about the crusades, this is the book.   The definitive account of the crusades from Saladin’s point of view remains Malcolm Cameron Lyons and D.E. P Jackson’s SALADIN, THE POLITICS OF THE HOLY WAR.  I also recommend Carole Hillenbrand’s THE CRUSADES, ISLAMIC PER-SPECTIVES, and David Nicolle’s CRUSADER WARFARE, VOLUME II, MUSLIMS, MONGOLS, AND THE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE CRUSADES.  Before this list gets totally out of hand for a blog entry, I will confine myself to mentioning just a few others, books that focus upon the brutality of medieval warfare:  Sean McClynn’s BY SWORD AND FIRE, Yvonne Friedman’s ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN ENEMIES, and NOBLE IDEALS AND BLOODY REALITIES, edited by Niall Christie and Maya Yazigi. 

        Sadly, many of the above books are rather expensive, but thank God for libraries.  I was recently horrified to hear that Camden, New Jersey was going to close all of its libraries by year’s end as a drastic budget-cutting measure; Camden is one of the poorest cities in the country and this would be a devastating loss for its citizens.  Fortunately, it now looks as if something may be worked out.  I cannot imagine a city without a library, nor would I want to; just as an aside, my favorite Founding Father, Ben Franklin, is often given credit for establishing the first public lending library in the United States.  And by pure serendipity, Stacy Schiff, the author of a wonderful book about Ben Franklin, titled A GREAT IMPROVISATION: FRANKLIN, FRANCE, AND THE BIRTH OF AMERICA, is also the author of a new biography coming out in November likely to be of interest to many of my readers, titled CLEOPATRA, A LIFE     Obviously I have not read all of the fiction I’ve mentioned in this blog, but they are all books that I thought worthy of bringing to your attention. 

      Lastly, I have a favor to ask.  We are seeking to make all of my books available in the e-book format, no easy task at times, for the writer has no say in the matter.   This is particularly important for WHEN CHRIST AND HIS SAINTS SLEPT since it is the first book in my trilogy about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.  I would be very grateful if you could stop by Amazon.com,  http://www.amazon.com/When-Christ-His-Saints-Slept/dp/0345396685/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282358719&sr=1-3, and click onto that feature that says “Tell the publisher you’d like to see this book as a Kindle.”  St Martins is currently trying to get HERE BE DRAGONS restored as a Kindle, after being dropped for reasons none of us understand, so maybe you could also do the same on the DRAGONS page.   I certainly will thank you and probably Llywelyn and Joanna would, too, if they were magically transported from the 12th century and somehow comprehended that the books laboriously copied out by monks can now be downloaded to computers in the blink of an eye.   I wonder how Joan Szechtman’s Richard copes with such modern marvels in THIS TIME?

       

August 21, 2010                                                              

92 Responses to “BOOKS AND BANKRUPTCY”

  1. Mikki Mack Says:

    Great list of books! Here are a few others you might want to recommend to your readers who love medieval history:

    Watermark; A Novel of the Middle Ages, by Vanitha Sankaran
    Medieval France is no place to be born albino: when Auda emerges from the womb undercooked and white as bone, an ignorant healer’s apprentice tears out the child’s tongue to keep her from spread[ing] the devil’s lies. Though her mother dies in childbirth, a small stroke of luck graces Auda’s childhood: her father makes his living as a scribe and a papermaker, so she learns reading and writing to compensate for her inability to speak. Together, father and daughter work to make his experimental paper the new standard for France’s writing stock (replacing parchment); against the odds, they field an order from the local vicomtesse, who then takes on Auda as her personal scribe. At the palace, Auda grows more independent and finds romance with an artist who saves her from a witch-hunting mob. When Auda begins writing potentially heretical verse about women’s empowerment, however, she tempts fate and the inquisition, setting off a chain of unlikely events. Though improbable plot twists detract, Sankaran has created a likable, easy-to-root-for protagonist in Auda

    Rashi’s Daughters, Book 1; Joheved: A Novel of Love and the Talmud in Medieval France by Maggie Anton

    In 1068, the scholar Salomon ben Isaac returns home to Troyes, France, to take over the family winemaking business and embark on a path that will indelibly influence the Jewish world—writing the first Talmud commentary, and secretly teaching Talmud to his daughters.

    Joheved, the eldest of his three girls, finds her mind and spirit awakened by religious study, but, knowing the risk, she must keep her passion for learning and prayer hidden. When she becomes betrothed to Meir ben Samuel, she is forced to choose between marital happiness and being true to her love of the Talmud. There are 3 more books to follow!

    The Good Healer: The Six-Fingered Healer Who Was No Devil by Dimitrije Medencia

    Through villages and towns, dense Alpine forests, and perilous mountain passes, Jean Duchesne flees for his life. A pariah from birth, Jean’s sixth finger and skill for healing using unusual remedies have labeled him the ‘devil’s child’ in early fifteenth-century Switzerland, where accusations of witchcraft send countless innocents to the stake. Defying the odds, Jean makes it to Geneva, the bustling center of trade, and establishes himself as a medical pioneer. From the four corners of Europe, people come to the city fairs to buy and sell exotic treasures, and Jean’s reputation spreads throughout the continent. Openly challenging accepted medical practices, he builds an architectural marvel of a clinic with the controversial and innovative Anthonia Ducastel, and they hope against hope that their successful venture will be enough to quell the claims of heresy that are never far behind, threatening all they hold dear. “The Good Healer” is the first in a series of novels that employs medieval superstition and religious persecution as the backdrop for tales of innovation in healthcare architecture and healing methods, some of which were actually available during the Middle Ages, and some that border on the fantastic and magical.

    The Heretic by Miguel Delibes
    His mother having perished in childbirth, his father self-absorbed and disconnected, Cipriano Salcedo’s only source of affection is his wet nurse and foster mother, Minerva. Through the story of Cipriano, a masterful portrait of 16th-century Spain emerges.

  2. Cate Says:

    I am taking a course on the crusades here at Marquette University this semester and my professor has had us purchase Sharan Newman’s “The Real History Behind the Templars”. I have skimmed through it and it looks excellent.

  3. anita Says:

    Thank you for this list; I will be printing and saving it for future purchases . . which will probably be made through Alibris or some such, as I am attempting to lower my credit card bill before it overwhelms me! I have fallen head-over-heels in love with the Middle Ages, and you are to blame. (Not that I’m complaining . . . )

  4. Lori Carter Says:

    Arggggghhhhh! Who was it that said something like “When I have a little money I buy books and if any is left over food and clothes.” I tend to say when I have a little money I buy books and who cares about food and clothes because there isn’t any left over. . . Wow! What a great list of books! I can’t wait to start working my way through them. Thanks so much and I am so looking forward to Lionheart. I click on the Kindle links whenever I browse through the Kindle store — at least a couple of times a week. Hopefully, it will help soon.

  5. Cate Says:

    Lori- that was Erasmus who said that. I love that saying– so true where I am concerned!

  6. kristen elizabeth Says:

    Oh dear god…more books! YAY!! I am especially excited about Hawk of May, for I am an avid Arthurian buff, too. My pocketbook, it dies. Thanks for this list! I had preordered EC’s To Defy A King a while back and just this weekend got the good news from Amazon that it will be delivered sooner than expected by about a week. So more yay!

  7. Miss Moppet Says:

    I’m one who loved Lady of Hay - classic C13/C20 timeslip. I remember Legacy as being very good as well.

  8. Eric Says:

    Wow! That is a lot of books! I will definately add those books to my list, and maybe when I have finished with school I will be able to read them all. I certainly want to. I can’t wait to read all about the crusades.
    I wanted to say thank you for responding to my post, and taking into consideration my questions. I was a little excited when I wrote my post this week, so I apologize if I seemed like a scatter brain.
    -Eric

  9. Sharon K Penman Says:

    I liked Watermark very much, have recommended it in the past to my readers. Vanitha does a great job of showing what it was like to live in fear of the Inquisition. And she rescues greyhounds, too! Thanks for the other suggestions, Mikiki…we’ll all go broke together! I’ve also recommended Sharan’s book about the Templars, Cate. Not only does she do an excellent job of stripping away the myths, she has a wicked sense of humor. I remember a chapter titled The Popes Get Involved, and Sharan adds in parenthesis “You knew they would.” I’m glad to hear her book is being used at Marquette. I thought you raised some very interesting points, Eric, and will definitely get back to you on that. My back is better, but that is always relatively speaking! Miss Moppet, has your alter ego done any more time traveling? Alibris is a good book source; so is ABE books. I often can find research books on ABE that are not offered on Amazon or are ridiculously expensive.

  10. cindyash Says:

    Sharon, you said A BLOODY FIELD BY SHREWSBURY, by Edith Pargeter, is your favorite Pargeter novel. So far I consider it to be The Marriage of Megotta. How would you compare the two?

    Lady of Hay looks interesting - as did several others. I don’t think my TBR shelves can hold much more so not sure I can justify getting them. Oh hell, Im probably going to anyway.

    I will second Sharon re The Legacy. Im not much of a Tudor fan, think its been done to death. But this is not only one of my top HF reads, I have it on my top read list, regardless of genre. Absolutely phenomenol.

    Glad you are feeling better, Sharon!

  11. Sharon K Penman Says:

    I haven’t read The Marriage of Megotta, Cindy. What is it about?

  12. Joan Szechtman Says:

    Sharon, thank you so much for helping to promote my book, especially as you wrote, “As many of you know, I usually do not read other writers’ novels about “my” characters; after living with them for so long, I tend to get rather possessive!” I understand, as I feel quite possessive now. For me, my possessiveness is because I hope that people would mostly see “my” characters as I do.

    What an impressive list. How do you keep up? I feel like I’m drowning in my tidal TBR, and it’s not the Tsunami that yours is.

    And don’t you just love the smiley code where the eighth item in you list becomes Mr. Cool. ;) It does look like a cool book, too.

  13. Koby Says:

    Today two pivotal battles took place. First, the battle of the Standard, where William of Aumale defeated King David of Scotland, preventing him from coming to help Maude against Stephen, and far better known, the Battle of Bosworth Field or Redmore Plain, where Richard III was defeated and killed, along with many other good men such as John Howard and Percival Thirwell. How history would have been different if Richard won! But I can say the same for many other battle, some far more important, such as the Battle of Yarmouk on the 20th. We are left at the end with regrets and a legacy.

  14. Helen Says:

    Hi
    I love The Concubine by Norah Lofts! :) I also love her book about Katherine of Aragon (Henry VIII’s first wife) called “The King’s Pleasure”. I have to get my hands on her book about Eleanor of Acquataine!

    I also love Anne Easter Smith’s books!

    For those who love the Tudors I would also recommend the author: Mary M. Luke! She has a wonderful book out about Katherine of Aragon as well as one about Queen Katherine Parr (Henry VIII’s last queen) called The Ivy Crown. And one about Elizabeth the first called “A Crown for Elizabeth”. I think she’s a wonderful writer and makes history come alive! And she’s not biased in her writing!

  15. Sharon K Penman Says:

    I really like Nan Hawthorne’s blog, Today in Medieval History. In honor of the anniversary of Richard III’s death at Bosworth Field, today she has posted the first chapter of Joan Szechtman’s time-travel novel about Richard. If you’re interested in Joan’s novel, this is a great opportunity to sample it! http://todayinmedievalhistory.blogspot.com/

  16. cindyash Says:

    Sharon, this from Amazon (I thought it was you who originally recommended it to me, but no, that was Elizabeth Chadwick on her blog! Its heartbreaking, but well worth reading)

    The Marriage of Meggotta” is a novelization of the true story of Meggotta de Burgh and Richard de Clare, who were married as children in 1232 in order to protect their interests from the political upheaval caused by King Henry III’s accusations against Meggotta’s father Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent. Meggotta was the daughter of Hubert and his wife Margaret, sister of King Alexander II of Scotland. Richard was the heir to the Earldoms of Hertford and Gloucester, which would make him a powerful man when he came of age. In the meanwhile, he was given to Hubert to be raised as Meggotta’s foster brother and future husband. The ambitions of a fickle and immature King, manipulated by his treasurer Peter des Rivaulx, plunge England into war and exact a terrible cost on the young couple.

  17. Elizabeth Chadwick Says:

    Wow. a great post as always Sharon, and so many brilliant books. I need to be able to split myself in two and have a ‘reader me’ who could lose myself in these tomes all day without feeling the pressures of time!
    A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury is my favourite Pargeter too and one I shall certainly buy for my shelf. I am afraid I wall-banged the McClynn after he called John GitzGilbert Marshal Geoffrey, said that little William Marshal was threatened with beheading, described William as being boastful when drunk (where the heck did that come from?) and described Eleanor of Aquitaine as being dark-haired and dark-eyed. It completely destroyed my confidence in him as a historian.

  18. Joan Szechtman Says:

    I’ll have to thank Nan for posting the first scene of my book on her blog. What a nice surprise. :) *But*, it’s not the entire first chapter, which is available on my website on the “Excerpt” page. THIS TIME is also available as an ebook at Smashwords at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/3935 in multiple electronic formats including Kindle. I still have to create the Kindle format for the book on Amazon.

    I have just started reading “The Broken Sword” by Rhoda Edwards. The first chapter starts in Anne’s point of view and she is refreshingly strong and self possessed. The book was published in 1976, but used copies are readily available. I’m enjoying this this book so far.

  19. Priya Parmar Says:

    What a fantastic list! I am thrilled that you included Exit the Actress! You are so wonderful to help get my novel out there. It just means so much to me.

    I agree with Elizabeth Chadwick and wish I could have a full time career reading as well as writing. I already have written up a list and am off to the book store!

  20. Geoff Ludden Says:

    Lady of Hay, best phsychological thriller I have ever read and itsa historical novel too. Starting reading Barbara Erskine novels about the same time as I started reading Sharon Kay Penman novels. Barar Erskine, Child of the Phoenix is good too its about the era of Robert the Bruce! Hakw of May is a favourite too and Helen Hollicks Arthurian Trilogy which I have only read two of!

  21. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Thanks to Nan Hawthorne’s Today in Medieval History blog, I can tell you that this is the anniversary of William Wallace’s death on August 23, 1305. As I’m sure you all know by now, any historical accuracy in Braveheart was strictly accidental. http://todayinmedievalhistory.blogspot.com/

  22. Brenna Says:

    Sharon-

    Thanks to your blog, I bumped Legacy up to the top of my TBR pile and spent the majority of the night “getting hooked.” I’m 200 pages in and I’m loving it. I will try the other book sellers you recommended because I am having the hardest time getting Elizabeth Chadwick books (besides the ones that were recently released). I just convinced myself and family that all I want for Christmas this year are books and bookcases (I now have three piles of books on the floor because my bookcases are full). Oy.

  23. cindyash Says:

    Brenna, Book Depository is a godsend. Free shipping, and decent prices on EC’s books.

  24. Joan Szechtman Says:

    I love The Book Depository, Brenna. An alternate site that offers low shipping prices and supports literacy is Better World Books at: http://www.betterworldbooks.com/

  25. Koby Says:

    And today, Geoffrey ‘Le Bel’ V of Anjou was born, Isabelle of Angouleme married King John, Pope Innocent III declared the Magna Carta to be invalid, and the Battle of Dover/Sandwich took place, where Eustace the Monk and the Fench were defeated, and Richard Fitz Roy beheaded Eustace.

  26. Brenna Says:

    Cindy and Joan-

    Thanks for the recommendation. I have used bookdepository in the past to buy the very few EC books they had for sale. For some reason they were only selling certain books to those who lived in the States. I contacted EC about and she was very gracious and contacted her publisher. Either way, those books were off limit for the moment. However, hardheaded that I am, I wouldn’t give up and I finally beat them yesterday when I went to ABE books and found TBD was selling EC books through that site rather than on their own. I find it very odd, but I don’t care because I finally was able to order the 4 EC books I have been wanting to buy for almost a year! YAHOO!

  27. Koby Says:

    Marguerite d’Anjou died yesterday, and the Battle of Crecy took place today.

  28. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Thanks, Koby!
    Here is a link to a fascinating, albeit long, blog about Anne Boleyn.
    http://garethrussellcidevant.blogspot.com/2010/08/allure-of-anne-boleyn.html

  29. Koby Says:

    You’re quite welcome, Sharon. Is your back better?
    I have it written here that today Henry III (the Young King) and Marguerite of France were married and crowned, but I’m not that sure of this.

  30. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Hi, Koby. My back is slowly on the mend, thanks to my chiropractor. I told him I’m going to have to write him into one of my books as Master David, the Bone-setter.
    The “Young King” (my Hal in DB) and Marguerite were wed as children. Hal was crowned in 1170, but Marguerite wasn’t crowned with him, much to the fury of the French king, Louis. So to soothe his ruffled feathers, Henry arranged for Hal and Marguerite to be crowned again in 1172. They went over to England during that summer. Off the top of my head, I can’t remember the exact date of the coronation, but it very likely could have been late August. As an interesting aside, I wonder how many people know that Marguerite died on crusade? After Hal’s death, her brother Philippe wed her to the King of Hungary; they had no children, but he had a son by an earlier marriage so it was not a dynastic disaster. After Bela died, Marguerite decided to take the cross and traveled to the Holy Land in 1197, where she was given a warm welcome by her nephew, Henri of Champagne (son of her elder half-sister Marie), Henri being the uncrowned King of Jerusalem at the time. Sadly, she took ill almost immediately and died. She was buried in Acre and has been ignored by history ever since. I was really taken aback to find that she does not have her own entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. She was a Queen of England, after all.

  31. Koby Says:

    Well, as I’ve noted here, nobody considers Hal to the count of Kings of England, so that John’s son was Henry III rather than IV, even though they call him the Young King, so it’s not as surprising to me that they disregard his wife.

  32. Koby Says:

    I do believe the Siege of Acre, during the Third Crusade, began today.

  33. Diane Mitchell Says:

    Will there ever be a fifth Medieval Mystery?
    The last novel hints that there might be, but it’s been a number of years.

  34. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Diane, I do hope so. The hiatus has not been my doing, and definitely not Justin’s! My publisher wants me to concentrate upon the historicals for now as they sell better than the mysteries. I understand their concern, for publishing is in dire straits these days; if the economy is bleeding, publishing hemorrhages. But I am not ready to give up on Justin, and I hope to resume writing about him in the future. If you’d like to write to my publisher and tell them you’d like to read more of the mysteries, I can provide the address, she hints!

  35. Koby Says:

    Today, the Treaty of Picquigny was negotiated, where Louis XI of France bought off Edward IV.

  36. Joan Szechtman Says:

    Sharon, I want the address. I love those mysteries. Why don’t you post it here?

  37. Joan Szechtman Says:

    I meant to add, I would love to be able to buy a boxed set. Might that be an angle to promote the series?

  38. Koby Says:

    Today, Louis XI of France, ‘the Spider King’, died.

  39. Koby Says:

    Today, Henry V (VI) died, leaving his nine-month old son, Henry VI (VII) to be king.

  40. Koby Says:

    Today, Baldwin V of Flanders, William the Conqueror’s father-in-law died.

  41. Koby Says:

    And today was a big day for battles, but to us, this is the day that Richard I was crowned King of England.

  42. Marilyn Says:

    Sharon: Yes, please post the address of your publisher. I would love to read some more of your mysteries.
    And Koby: Thank you for posting the “today in medieval history” snippets. I love to read them.

  43. Koby Says:

    Sharon (and anyone else), a question about books: I was recently offered by a friend three books: Warriors of God, by James Reston Jr. (history of Saladin and Richard), and Mistress of the Art of Death and its’ sequel, The Serpent’s Tale, both mysteries by Ariana Franklin at the time of Henry II. Are these books good/accurate/worth reading? I doubt Ariana Franklin, because what I read on the back flap seemed impossible at the time - a woman expert of dead bodies who’s hired by Henry to find who killed 4 people? But maybe it’s more accurate than it sounds?
    Thanks, Marilyn. These are for you: Today Joanna of England, Henry and Eleanor’s daughter died at childbirth at 33, and Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and our favorite Ricardian villian was born.

  44. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Koby, Warriors of God is the worst book that I’ve read about the Third Crusade. Avoid it at all costs.
    I gave a quote when asked for the first Ariana Franklin mystery, Mistress of the Art of Death; I was torn, because I found numerous historical inaccuracies, not just taking liberties with known fact, which I’d more or less expected, but mistakes re daily life in the MA. But it was well written, and I decided the story line would mean more to mystery readers than its historical accuracy. However, she subsequently took much greater liberties with known facts and the characters in her next books; for example, she has Rosamund Clifford die in 1172 instead of 1176. That put me off. We all draw the line in the sand at different places, though, and I do know people who found them interesting. Just bear in mind that you’re reading pure fiction.

  45. Koby Says:

    Thanks, Sharon. I think I’ll follow your recommendations. Especially since I’ve skimmed through the second book, and Eleanor and her relationship with Henry were both portrayed horribly. Apparently Eleanor was free and travelling with an army at the time of Rosamund’s death, and Rosamund presumed to call herself the true queen and Eleanor the false queen. I’ll draw my line as well, and stick to Collapse and the Black Swan.
    Today, Constance of Brittany died, and Louis VII of France, who pretended to the English Throne in the reign of King John was born.

  46. skip sceery Says:

    I’ve just started for “For The Kings Favor” and it has piqued my interest through the initial three chapters. Chadwick’s two books about William Marshall were excellent and very informative. She tells a good story.

    My biggest complaint about your latest blog, is there are so many recommendations. There’s no way I’ll read them all, but I’ll give it my best. Damn the budget!

    I really appreciate the suggestions Sharon. It will be nice not dealing with bookstore employees who have no idea what to recommend when I ask about factual historical novels.

  47. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Thanks, Skip. We’ll all go bankrupt together, but what better way than by buying books?
    I mentioned on Facebook that Constance had died on September 5, 1201, Koby, but I knew I could count on you to alert my blog readers! When do your university classes start?

  48. Joan Szechtman Says:

    I’m almost finished with “The Broken Sword: A Novel of the Reign of Richard III” by Rhoda Edwards that I mentioned in an earlier reply and I really enjoyed this book. It’s historically accurate and well written. Even though there are expository passages, which did interrupt the story, it still held my interest sufficiently to keep me reading to the end. I plan to post a review on my blog this week and will share the link here when I do.

    I think the book is no longer in print, but can be obtained used. I bought my copy from an Amazon reseller. In addition to other historical fictions, Edwards also wrote “The Itinerary of King Richard III 1483-1485″ that was published by the Richard III Society.

  49. Koby Says:

    Sharon, I’ve been studying in JCT (Jerusalem College of Technology) for a month already. I really enjoy it. TEchnically, it hasn’t started yet - this is considered a ‘pre-semester’. We haven’t actually been learning college classes, but rather prep classes for college. I live in the dorms there. We learn from Sunday to Thursday, and I return home for weekends. I still have some free time at evening, this being the pre-semester. We learn seminary classes in the morning until noon, and then have our academic courses. I quite enjoy it.

  50. Koby Says:

    Today, Geoffrey V Planagenet ‘Le Bel’ of Anjou, Henry II’s father died, and Richard I defeated Salah-a-Din in hte Battle of Arsuf.

  51. Julie Says:

    Thanks for the list. I have to admit that I save money by making use of my very good public library (probably not something an author wants to hear). I have to advise that I started reading Alison Weir’s book on Eleanor but did not get past the first few chapters — I thought is was terribly inauthentic in its overemphasis on Eleanor’s sex life; but Great Maria was one of my favorite books and I also enjoyed Cecilia Holland’s Jerusalem about the Templars in the 2nd crusade.

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