Lionheart’s rebirth in paperback

This is a brief holiday blog—to wish you all a Happy New Year.   The new year is getting off to a good start for me with the publication today by Ballantine Books of the American paperback edition of Lionheart and with the publication on Thursday by Macmillan of the British edition of Lionheart.   I will try to include the book covers, though lately my computer has been very uncooperative about agreeing to post photos on my blog, just another of the many ways my computers find to torment me.    This is one of the rare times when I am very happy with all four book covers; that has not always been true in the past.  
I think Here be Dragons was particularly unlucky in this regard.  I was never a fan of the American hardback cover, which showed two figures supposed to be Llywelyn and Joanna in a landscape that looked like the far side of the moon to me, complete with a little flying dragon.  It could have been worse, though.  I was told that when it was first unveiled in the art department, there were murmurs of approval, until a junior editor said, “But in the book, didn’t Llywelyn and Joanna have black hair?”   The artist had made them both flaming redheads.  Since that mistake was caught before I ever saw it, my blood pressure was not affected.    But an early Avon paperback edition of Dragons had Llywelyn looking like Tom Selleck in his Magnum, PI days and Joanna looking like…well, like a wench who had just tumbled out of her lover’s bed, and as the piece de resistance, in the top corner was a depiction of King John, who was a dead ringer for Peter O’Toole in Becket.   Yet that was not the worst.  The first version of the British hardback Dragons was bad enough to give me nightmares, all done in bilious purple and pink, with two hollow-eyed zombies purporting to be Llywelyn and Joanna.  It looked like a medieval version of a poster for Night of the Living Dead.   Fortunately, my British editor had loathed it, too, but had been outvoted by the marketing department, and she was able to get it deep-sixed after the extremely negative reaction from me and both of my agents.   They had to settle hastily for a generic scene of knights on horseback, but that was still such an improvement that I was quite happy to go with bland.  
 I don’t think I have one particular favorite book cover, though I confess to being partial to the hardback edition of Time and Chance because I found that image of a twelfth century lion myself while browsing in the on-line collection of the Cloisters.    Most of them I have liked, although I confess I was not crazy about the hardback edition jacket used by my American publisher for Devil’s Brood.  I was in the minority, and had no real objections to it; it simply did not resonate with me at the time.  But after we visited the chapel in Chinon during my Eleanor tour last year and I got to see the actual twelfth century mural for myself, I found my views changing and now I smile whenever I pick up a copy of Devil’s Brood, for it calls up memories of that very special day.   In terms of my input, I have a lot with Putnam’s and Macmillan has been wonderful, too, about consulting me.  For many years, I had no say in the paperback covers on either side of the Atlantic; I was often not even shown a cover beforehand.    Thankfully that has changed dramatically now with Ballantine, which has been extremely receptive to my ideas, and Macmillan is publishing my books both in hardback and paperback so there is no problem there, either.       
 But I am very happy with Ballantine’s regal lion and Macmillan’s battle-weary king, since I assume he is meant to be Richard, after what was obviously a hard day at the office.       The jacket used by my American publisher, Putnam’s, was taken from a nineteenth century painting depicting Richard and Philippe in the Holy Land, so it is not only visually very compelling, it is historically on-target.   Putnam’s art department deserves much credit for discovering it.    I am already very curious about the book cover for Sunne in Splendour when it gets its rare rebirth in hardback next September in the UK.    Of course I am so pleased that Sunne will be available in hardback after thirty years that they could probably publish it in a brown paper wrapper and I wouldn’t complain—too much.  
 Because of the merciful extension that my publishers have given me for A King’s Ransom, that will mean it will not be published until 2014, as I explained in an earlier Facebook Note.   But I was not going to be able to meet the original deadline, despite my increasingly frantic efforts to do so, so this extension is a blessing for the book and for my peace of mind. 
         So on that happy note, I am signing off, hoping the new year is off to a good start for all of my friends and readers, who happen to be the best readers on the planet.    (You know who you are.)   
January 1, 2013

220 Responses to “Lionheart’s rebirth in paperback”

  1. skpenman Says:

    Well, I couldn’t post the photos of the jackets, which defeats the whole purpose of the blog, of course. I will consult my webmaster and if I have to put up a new blog with just the covers, so be it. I will say that my computers do find new and inventive ways to torment me.

  2. Mike Says:

    I just finished Lionheart yesterday, after having it for a year! I can’t believe I put it off for so long, because I really enjoyed it. Looking forward to the sequel.

  3. Marcia Daniels Says:

    Sharon, I had no idea that authors might not have approval of their jacket covers. Anyway, Lionheart was great. I discovered you’re writing this summer, and had the privilege of being able to read the books one right after the other. Ransom will be worth the wait. Can’t wait to meet you on the RIII tour.

  4. skpenman Says:

    Thanks, Mike, and Marcia. I’m so glad you both enjoyed Lionheart. Marcia, I am sure that writers with a lot of clout have a voice in choosing their book covers, but the rest of us mere mortals are not always so lucky. I’ve fared better in the US than in the UK because I lost my support system at Penguin UK when my editor went to another house, and after that, they never bothered to consult me about the various paperback covers they put out. Fortunately I am with Macmillan again now (they were my first British publisher) so things are very different. I am so sorry my evil computer would not let me post the jacket cover photos, though. Once this problem is resolved, I’ll put up a blog just with the photos. Or readers can always zip over to Amazon and Amazon.UK to see for themselves.
    We ought to be hearing soon about the DNA resutls for Richard. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were able to visit his new tomb on our tour? You can see how confident I am about the results.

  5. Malcolm Craig Says:

    Sharon, it was pleasant to be reminded of our visit to the Ste.-Radegonde chapel above Chinon. I know there was some dissatisfaction among our group at Chinon Castle, due partly to the weather and partly to the poorly informed guide. I was, however, delighted to be inside the castle; in 1974, all we could do is eat our lunch in the parking lot. Then you and I had a very pleasant luncheon down in the city, with Mary and John. Émilie helped many of us locate the tour bus for our ride to the chapel. That part of the day was indeed wonderful. When I noticed the antique beekeeping equipment, you told me that Nancy kept bees and brought her over to examine the equipment. I am still not certain who is who in that 12th century mural! (My comments on the reissue of Sunne and the fate of poor Edmund are at the end of your previous blog.) Congratulation on all the “new” publications.

  6. Joansz Says:

    It’s really shocking to me when a top publisher comes out with a horrible cover. You’d think that they would know better. I find these re-purposed romance book covers hilarious. May this never happen to your covers.

    When ever I’ve had trouble posting images on my blog or website (and I’m now using WordPress for my website, although my blog is still blogger), I always thought it was at the host site for the website or blog and not my computer. Is it possible that Melusine is innocent this time?

  7. ken john Says:

    Happy New Year to all! I’m back in ‘Rightwayuppyland’ after 3 weeks down under (’Upsidedownyland’) enjoying the sunshine and being with my son and family.

    When I first heard of the re-release of ‘Sunne’, Sharon, I posted on FB’ but my post probably got lost in the hundreds of others your page attracts. My question was: as it is some 30 years since Sunne was first published, would there be anything in the book that you would like to change, given the (possible) additional research available? I imagine you would like to add to your Author’s Note. If you did want to ‘update’ the book, would your publisher’s allow it?

  8. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, I love your sense of humour. I have almost laughed my head off while reading about the covers. As for those one can be really proud of, my number one is definitely the UK hardcover edition of Lionheart :-) It’s simply magnificent (I’m not sure whether I can use the adjective while describing a book????).

  9. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Malcolm, how could I ever forget about you? :-)

    Ken, I’m so happy you are back with us! We missed you so much! Happy New Year to you and Othon! How is he faring, BTW? I’m joining you in asking Sharon about possible additions to her Author’s Note in the new edition of The Sunne. IMHO, discovering Richard’s resting place and his remains was the most important event of 2012.

  10. Elizabeth Chadwick Says:

    Sharon, I don’t know about you, but whenever I know covers are about to be shown to me, I get the heebie jeebies. The attachment e-mail will plump into my in-boxc, and I’ll open it with my hands half over my eyes!
    I really liked your USA set of covers for When Christ and His Saints Slept, Time and Chance and Devil’s Brood and bought them in preference. I really love your USA paperback cover for Lionheart, and the UK cover taps into a strong current trend for the warrior look and will definitely sell books. I loved the UK hardcover too. It’s such a lottery though. Thank goodness you have winners with Lionheart.

  11. Stephanie Says:

    What a fun blog post! Too bad about the photos, but it had me running across my living room pulling various editions off the shelf to look for myself!

    It’s too bad that the covers themselves have such an impact on whether books sell. I understand the psychology of it and have myself been a victim of a pretty cover. Actually, the cover is what helped me pick up Saints 15 years ago. Pretty… shiny… me want to pick up…. But when it has the opposite effect and dissuades people from giving the book a chance, it’s unfortunate.

    Welcome home, dear Ken. We’ve missed you.

  12. Joan Says:

    I agree, what a great blog & very timely as I will be singing more praises very soon. I hope you’ll eventually be able to post those misbegotten covers, Sharon. That was an eye opener to me too, that most authors have no say in the covers. It’s SO important! How many pretty books do I own that I’ve never got beyond the first chapter?!?

    Stephanie, thanks for that recipe.

    Happy New Year Ken!

  13. skpenman Says:

    The Night of the Living Dead poster cover never made it to the next step, Joan, so I have no physical evidence of it; the original drawing is tucked away somewhere, but who knows where. I should scan the Tom Selleck-wench-Peter O’Toole cover and post it here, assuming my webmaster can browbeat Melusine into accepting photos again.
    Welcome home, Ken–you were missed!
    I will try not to embarrass you, Malcolm, by being too effusive when I eventually get to do the Ransom AN and thank you for your aid in the Breton research. But I can embarrass you here by telling everyone your help was a godsend!
    It is so true that a bad cover can discourage a reader from picking the book up. And yes, Elizabeth, I always say a brief prayer to St Jude before I click open the attachment for my first look at a book cover. I like to think St Jude looks after writers since he is the saint of impossible causes.

  14. Britta B. Says:

    Hi Sharon, I just checked Academic Travel for the RIII tour and it looks like they have the itinerary up - are you ready to announce it yet and have us “groupies’ book it?

    Happy 2013!

  15. Émilie Laforge Says:

    Sharon, although you couldn’t add the cover pictures to this blog, I have seen the HBD cover with the little dragon and I share your dismay. What were they thinking???

    Like you, I also love all the Lionheart covers. I want to purchase a paperback edition of Lionheart but don’t know which one to choose. The solution is of course to buy both. ;) I will add the UK paperback edition to my collection so I can stare at Richard and also order the North American paperback edition to reread and lend while keeping my signed first edition hardcover in mint condition. At this rate, I’m going to need a bookcase just for your books!!!

    The cover that holds a special place in my heart is definitely the one for DB as we got to see the real deal during the very memorable Eleanor Tour.

    Wow, Malcom! To be acknowledged in a Sharon Kay Penman novel is quite an achievement. Having sampled some of your helpfulness in Notre Dame de Paris and on various other occasions, Sharon’s praise is well deserved!

    Malcom, may I also add that you have a very good memory as I had forgotten the bus incident in Chinon. :) I’m glad I was able to find the bus that day and didn’t get the group hopelessly lost!

  16. skpenman Says:

    If I had more readers like you, Emilie, all of my books would take up residence on the bestseller lists and never move out!

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    So far, January seems to be a slow news month in terms of medieval history. I could come up with only two items today, one very un-medieval. But although I would not have wanted to live in those times, there is something about ancient Rome that I find morbidly fascinating, so I thought I’d mention that on this date in 106 BC, Cicero was born. And back in “our” times, Catherine of Valois, widow of Henry V and unwitting maternal ancestor of the Tudor dynasty, died on this date in 1437, at only thirty-six.
    Since that is all I can contribute from a historical standpoint, I thought I’d “pad” the post today with a few random thoughts. Holly is adjusting to the loss of her gallant shepherd protector; I am sure she still misses Tristan, but she seems to like being a spoiled only child, too. Eventually I will probably adopt another dog who needs a home, but I’m not ready yet. Tristan was chosen to appear on the cover of the new Echo calendar, and this is how I want to remember him, the lord of the manor contentedly surveying his domains (yard) while surrounded by all his subjects (toys). Like most people who live in the path of Hurricane Sandy, I was stunned by the decision by the House of Representatives to adjourn without voting on the bill that would approve aid to the victims of Sandy, many of whom lost everything. I could not express my outrage any better than my governor, Chris Christie, whose comments can be read below. I am glad to report that the House Speaker reversed himself after getting such a negative response from his own party, and they will now allow a vote on the aid package. But it should not have taken political pressure to do the right thing.
    For a moving story and heartbreaking photos of what people endured in this monster storm, click the link below.
    And since these are sad stories, here is a much more heartening one about a surfer who was attacked by a shark and saved by a pod of dolphins, which is not that uncommon an occurrence throughout history.

  17. Britta B. Says:

    My previous post didn’t go through, hoping this one does: Sharon, I browsed Academic Travel yesterday and saw that they have the RIII tour details up; are you ready to announce it yet on your site(s) and for us to sign up?

  18. skpenman Says:

    Britta, I am so sorry, but you are too late. As soon as Academic Travel told me the tour details were done and they were ready to take reservations, I posted the information on all of my Facebook pages and here, too. To our astonishment, the tour sold out in just two days. If you are still interested, you con contact them and request to be put on their waiting list in case openings come up. Since the tour is not till September, it is certainly possible that someone might not be able to go.

  19. ken john Says:

    Kasia, I hope you don’t mind but I posted a link to your blog that appeared on Face Book. It has already had some pretty favourable responses, so I guess you might have a few more visitors in the next few days.

  20. Britta B. Says:

    Rats, that must have been while I was vacation in Germany … I will certainly call to be put on the wait list. Thanx.

  21. Joan Says:

    Sharon I’m glad you mentioned Holly….I’ve wondered how she’s faring since she herself can’t post…..(if she could, we’d probably hear from her every day & she seems to be the kind of pet who would lap up all the attention she’d get from us!) As for your gallant Tristan, I chuckled when I read about his “subjects”. Good for him, having that place of honor.

    And thanks for posting “christie blames…..” Yes, let’s keep it real!!

    It’s nice to hear from you Émilie….best wishes for the New Year.

    Joansz, I just looked at that site….beyond hilarious!!

  22. Malcolm Craig Says:

    Émilie, the first conversation I remember with you (though I am sure there were earlier ones in Paris) was about the dual meaning of “meurtrière” as we walked up toward the castle in Falaise. I did find a good one inside the castle to photograph. We really hope that we can somehow make contact with you and your mother during our parallel tours next September. I know that Mary will miss her favorite roommate.

  23. Koby Says:

    Welcome back, Ken, and a happy new year to us all! I have no particular favorite cover - I like all the ones I have, and am very glad the ones that Sharon mentioned were never published.
    As Sharon said, it’s been a slow couple of days, so I wanted to share this link: I really hope everything works out for Kathryn, and I hope the rest of you do as well.

  24. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, I’m glad to hear that Holly is well. I, too, have been wondering how she is.

    Ken, I’ve just checked Young Henry’s blog and have been wondering where, all of a sudden, so many new followers came from. Now, I see :-) I don’t know how to thank you. I’m sure Hal is most grateful to you as well.

    P.S. Is the mysterious lady called Stephanie Ling our Stephanie? Just out of curiosity :-)

  25. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Koby, thank you so much for the link! I will keep my fingers crossed for both Llywelyns, and for Kathryn, Catherine and Michael. I find it all very heartening! Wish there were more such projects in Poland!

  26. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Emilie, it’s so nice to hear from you! It’s been a while :-) Happy New Year to you and your family, and once again thank you for Hal. Do you mind if I call you his godmother? :-)

  27. ken john Says:

    Yes, Kasia. That is our Stephanie…..!

  28. skpenman Says:

    I think Hal would love to have Ken as his godfather, Kasia. They both share a keen sense of humor, for one thing.

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    I forgot to mention yesterday that on January 3rd, 1431, Joan of Arc was turned over by the English to the Bishop of Beauvais. Her trial began on the 9th and she was burned at the stake for heresy on May 30th, 1431, at the age of nineteen. Her trial was a farce; the bishop did not even have jurisdiction to try the case. It was politically motivated; the Duke of Bedford had claimed the French throne for his nephew, Henry VI, and by accusing Joan of heresy, the English hoped to cast doubts upon the legitimacy of the French king, Charles VII, who abandoned Joan to her fate. Twenty-five years after her death, the Pope Calixtus III launched an investigation into her sham of a trial. She was proclaimed innocent of heresy and declared a martyr—twenty-five years too late. She was not canonized by the Catholic Church, though, until 1920. She is one of the five patron saints of France, sharing that honor with St Denis, St Martin of Tours, St Louis IX, and St Theresa of Lisieux. Joan is perhaps one of the best examples of real life being more improbable than fiction. No historical novelist would have dared to invent her story!
    Back to January 4th. On this date in 1066, Edward the Confessor died, setting the stage for the fateful battle of Hastings, which resulted in the death of King Harold and the seizure of power by William, the Duke of Normandy, known in his own time as William the Bastard and in history as William the Conqueror; I think we can assume that he preferred the latter epithet.
    There was another happening on January 4th in 1903, not in the least medieval, but both bizarre and sad. A circus elephant named Topsy was electrocuted after having been declared dangerous after killing three men; one of them was a sadistic trainer who tried to feed her a lighted cigarette. They’d actually planned to hang her until the ASPCA objected. Thomas Edison, of all people, suggested that they electrocute her and he actually filmed it. As you can probably tell, my sympathies are with Topsy. These intelligent animals have been exploited by men for centuries; you think they wanted to cross the Alps with Hannibal?

  29. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, fascinating post! Especially the part concerning Topsy! You all probably know the other elephant Chunee and his sad story. If not I highly recommend Daniel Hahn’s The Tower Menagerie. Wonderful book!

  30. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Stephanie, thank you for joining Hal’s followers :-)

    Ken, if you have any texts to post and would like to post them on Hal’s blog, just let me know. I will be honoured and able to show my gratitude.

  31. Stephanie Says:

    “our Stephanie”… (blush)… Kasia, you are most welcome! I have visited your blog before but never looked closely enough to see where to “follow” it. I have Sharon to thank for introducing me to him in her books (as she has done for so much history), but it’s interesting to see the wealth of information on your blog.

  32. Joan Says:

    For anyone who has access to WPBS (Waterton), a 3-part series begins tonight on “Queens”. Historian Helen Castor (does anyone know anything about her?) will be presenting.

  33. Joan Says:

    Koby, thanks for the link….very exciting, & I knew I’d bookmarked Pen y Bryn some time ago. Sharon, you must have sent us that link. Am I correct in thinking this is the same place?

  34. Joan Says:

    Sharon I posted the site (awaiting moderation) to Pen y Bryn that you must have given us many months ago. I’m just wondering if this is the same place that Zeta-Jones is now involved in. Thanks.

    I forgot to mention that the queens being discussed tonight on WPBS are Matilda & Eleanor of Aquitaine.

  35. Dru Donnelly Says:

    Sharon - Thank you for Lionheart - like you, I had a rather differant idea of who Richard was. I’m not an historian, however, I do like authors Dorothy Dunnet, Barbara Tuchman, Rutherfor etc. and find your writing style engrossing. I have read all your novels and very much look forward to King’s Ransom. Thank you again for so many enjoyable hours in the 10th-12th century. Dru

  36. skpenman Says:

    Thanks, Dru!
    Joan, yes, Catherine Zeta Jones made her donation to Kathryn Gibson’s Garth Celyn, which she’d earlier called Pen y Bryn. I just checked for hostage posts last night, didn’t see any by you, though.

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    History seems to be feast or famine. After a slow week, January 5th was a very busy day. First of all, although I listed Edward the Confessor’s death as occurring on the 4th, it may have happened on this date in 1066.
    Richard, Earl of Cornwall and later Holy Roman Emperor, younger brother of Henry III and a major character in Falls the Shadow, was born on this date in 1209.
    In 1463, the French poet Francois Villon, as celebrated for his poetry as he was notorious for his wild life, was banished from his beloved Paris for 10 years. He was a thief, once was sentenced to be hanged for killing a priest in a tavern brawl, and ran up quite a “rap sheet” in his 32 years. We actually don’t know how old he was when he died, but he was 32 when he disappeared from Paris and was never heard from again.
    In 1465, another French poet died. Unlike Francois Villon, who’d been born into poverty, Charles, the Duke of Orleans, came from the upper classes. His first wife was a queen, his cousin Isabelle of Valois, widow of Richard II; Isabelle had been a child bride, but she remained very loyal to Richard and refused to consider a marriage to the future Henry V, son of the man she saw as a usurper, Henry IV. Henry IV eventually allowed her to return to France, where she wed Charles, but sadly, died in childbirth, at only 19. Charles fought at Agincourt and was found alive after the battle, buried under a pile of bodies. He would spend the next 25 years as a prisoner of the English. He was treated fairly leniently, but 25 years! During his captivity, he wrote most of his poems, which understandably had a melancholy tone. He was finally freed in 1440, returned to France, and wed for the third time. He appeared in the classic novel, In a Dark Wood Wandering, by Hella Haasse, and he is also a major character in Margaret Frazer’s mystery, The Maiden’s Tale.
    On January 5th, 1477, Charles, Duke of Burgundy, was slain at the battle of Nancy. His body was not found until days later, partially eaten by wolves or other scavengers. Charles was the husband of Margaret of York, sister to Edward IV and Richard III, and appears in one scene in Sunne. He was known as Charles the Bold or Charles the Rash. I favor the latter, for he had a talent for making enemies and showed increasingly poor judgment in his last years.
    On January 5th, 1589, the controversial French queen, Catherine de Medici, died, at age 69. Catherine is given a three-dimensional portrayal in C.W. Gortner’s novel, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici.
    Lastly, on January 5th, 1592, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan was born. His fame rests today on the splendid mausoleum he built as a tribute to his beloved wife, Muntaz-I-Mahal. We know it today as the Taj Mahal, surely one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Shah Jahan had planned to build an identical tomb for himself, only in black marble, but his son did not inherit his father’s romantic streak and he did not honor Shah’s dying wishes.

  37. Joan Says:

    That’s okay, Sharon. Your post today is really interesting.

    I’ll just thank Koby now for posting the site. Koby, it led me to have another look at Garth Celyn (Pen Y Bryn) which I found so mesmerizing when I was into the Welsh trilogy a year ago, & still get shivers when I revisit the site online. I love Kathryn Gibson’s story & how they found secret stairways, hidden rooms & tunnels & how old papers were found (unfortunately destroyed by previous owner). So I also wish them great success. Hmmm, wonder if there are any chicken farms for sale in Wales these days?

  38. skpenman Says:

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    January 6th was another busy day, historically speaking.
    On this date in 1066, Harold Godwinson was crowned King of England. His reign would be a brief one, cut short by William the Conqueror at the battle of Hastings. Helen Hollick has written an interesting novel about Harold, which was published in the UK as Harold the King, but was published in the US under the title, I am the Chosen King. Maybe the publisher worried that American readers wouldn’t know there was a King Harold?
    January 1169. Henry II and Thomas Becket met at Montmiral in an attempt to reconcile their differences, at the urgings of the French king, Louis. It did not go well, for once again Becket qualified his submission by adding “saving the Honour of God.” Since Henry was convinced that whenever Becket did not agree with a royal act, he’d declare it contrary to the Honour of God, this was not acceptable to him. He was eloquent enough to convince their audience, even the French king, who asked Becket, in unwitting irony, if he wished to be more than a saint. See page 392 of Time and Chance for this scene.
    On January 6th, 1205, Philip of Swabia (the only good Hohenstaufen), youngest brother of Richard’s nemesis, Heinrich von Hohenstaufen, was crowned King of the Romans for the second time. He’d originally been crowned in 1198, but the Germans were split between him and Richard’s nephew Otto, who’d also been elected. Philip would eventually prevail over Otto, only to be tragically assassinated in 1208. Philip seems to have been an admirable individual, the anti-Heinrich, if you will, and if only I spoke German, I’d have loved to give him a book of his own.
    Another ruler was crowned on January 6th, this time in 1286, but he could not be more unlike the upstanding, sympathetic Philip–Philippe le Bel, or Philippe IV, King of France. Philippe was a nasty piece of work, persecuting the Jews and Lombards and bringing about the destruction of the Templars.
    On January 6th, 1367, Richard II was born. He became king at age 10, and his reign was neither happy nor successful. Sadly for him, his finest moment occurred at age 14 during the Peasant’s Revolt; from there, it was all downhill.
    On January 6th, 1412, Joan of Arc was born. This seems to be her week, since I devoted a Facebook Note to her several days ago.

  39. ken john Says:

    Kasia, I know very little about the Young King Henry, so am not able to add much of interest about him to your blog. That being said, my son gave me Ralph V. Turner’s ‘Eleanor of Aquitaine’ for Christmas and I have just started it. It contains (obviously) much about Eleanor and her sons rebellion(s) and seems to have quite a lot about the Young Henry. When I’ve finished it, I may have some questions and contributions to make.

    I might also have some other texts to add on the 12th and 13th centuries, which may be of interest to you and your followers..

  40. cindy Says:

    That paperback with “Llywelyn looking like Tom Selleck in his Magnum, PI days and Joanna looking like…well, like a wench who had just tumbled out of her lover’s bed, and as the piece de resistance, in the top corner was a depiction of King John, who was a dead ringer for Peter O’Toole in Becket” was the one I first saw many years ago in the college bookstore. Looked like a bad Harlequin romance to me. Then someone told me what it was about - I was already in love with Wales after a recent trip to Britain, so I closed my eyes, opened the cover, and read. Boy am I glad I did. The hardcover I have is almost decent - showing black haired Llewellyn and Joanne under a tree kissing. But its ruined by the same tiny dragon flying in the upper left corner….

  41. Koby Says:

    Ah, no thanks are needed. I am glad to share the word of Kathryn’s good fortune.
    Sharon, you have beaten me yet again, but I will add two notes: Firstly, the date for Jeanne d’Arc’s birth is obviously legendary and unconfirmed, and secondly, today Henry VIII [IX] married the luckiest of his wives in what would be the shortest of his marriages, Anne of Cleves.

  42. ken john Says:

    Kasia (and maybe a few others….). I posted the following on Sharon’s FB today and you could well be interested:

    Unable to sleep last night, I tuned in to listen to the BBC World Book Club (radio). They were discussing ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen and I found the discussion utterly fascinating. I have not read P and P (sorry!) so hadn’t realise what marvellous dialogue it holds and that, from the first paragraph onwards. I urge you all to join the BBC World Book Club, either on the BBC World Service radio or here on their Facebook page. I have just ordered the book on Amazon.

    Just google BBC World Book Club to find and hear marvellous discussions by panels of famous authors in their own right (P D James for example) reviewing the latest, and also classic novels. You can also join them on their Facebook page.

    Kasia, when are you going to admit defeat and join Sharon and her friends on FB? They all know about you and want to ‘meet’ you.

  43. Stephanie Says:

    Kasia, I hear Facebook calling you…. Do you hear it?

  44. Koby Says:

    You haven’t read Pride and Prejudice, Ken? Were it not for your apology and the fact that you plan to do so immediately, my estimation of you would have been sadly reduced…

    Today, no happenings that I know of that are related to ‘our’ periods of history, but Catherine of Aragon died, the greatest of Harry VIII’s [IX] wives in my opinion, and England lost Calais, its last possession on mainland France.

  45. skpenman Says:

    I’d actually posted about Henry VIII’s marriage to the “luckiest”f of his wives,” Koby, but for some weird reason, it was cut off and never made it to the screen here. though it did on Facebook. Say what you will about my computers, they are ingenious in finding new ways to torment me. But I somehow forgot Catherine of Aragon’s death, as you’ll see in the Facebook Note below, so thank you for reminding me! Ken, I like the Turner bio of Eleanor. There still is no definitive bio of her as there are for Henry and Richard, but this one isn’t bad. He does have a few odd mistakes–saying Geoffrey of Anjou died from drowning and took part in the Second Crusade–but he has an excellent anallysis of Eleanor’s time in Antioch, the best I’ve read to date.

    Today’s Katherine-less Facebook Note.

    Nothing much happened on January 7th, but I have some interesting book news to relate. I know that many of you are, like me, fans of Sharan Newman’s medieval mystery series, and so I am sure you’ll be as happy as I was to learn that Sharan has a collection of short stories out, Death Before Compline. Catherine LeVendeur and her Jewish cousin, Solomon, are featured in most of them. Death Before Compline is available in paperback and in the e-book format. Amazon is temporarily out of stock but the paperback can be purchased at the Poisoned Pen, my favorite bookstore. In fact, Sharan is doing a book signing today at the Poisoned Pen at 7 PM, for those lucky enough to live close to Scottsdale. Here is the Poisoned Pen link and, of course, you can buy it in the e-book format from the Amazon mother-ship and
    Speaking of e-books, my British readers can still buy Sunne in Splendour for the amazing bargain price of 74 pence. I don’t know how long this promotion will last, so if any of you have friends who’d be interested, do let them know now.
    Also, I wanted to remind my readers that the Book Depository offers free shipping worldwide. Here is their link.
    And Awesome Books offers free shipping in the UK and free shipping of two or more books in North America and Western Europe.

  46. ken john Says:

    Sharon, you and Koby appear to have missed the wedding date of Simon de Montfort and Eleanor, sister of Henry III on this date - 07 January, 1238.

  47. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Stephanie and Ken, not that FB again!!! I cannot hear the calling! :-)

    Ken, I meant any texts you wish, not necessarily devoted to the Young King. We will call them “guest posts” and you can pick whatever subject you want.
    Of course I will appreciate any nuggets of info you are going to find in the Turner’s biography (perhaps something interesting concerning Hal)- I haven’t read this one.

  48. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    As for Hal, on 7 January 1169, a day after the aforesaid conference at Montmirail, he paid homage to his father-in-law Louis VII, whereas the latter bestowed upon him the post of Seneschal of France.

  49. Joan Says:

    Sharon, I read the FB note you posted on Joan of Arc & it brought me back to her trial, so painful to read, parts of it seared into my brain. I’m trying to be objective about some of the horrid things that went on in the MA, as you & other authors have posted many times, but some of it is beyond understanding or forgiving. Pure evil was at work in her case! And I hope she haunted them as they lay in their beds in the dark of night!

    Ken, re World Book Club (radio), I’m wondering if there is any way I’d have access to it from Canada. I hope you enjoy Pride & Prejudice……Jane Austen is close to my heart. But I’m not a purist, so enjoy immensely the films & TV series that are always so brilliantly done. The most recent adaptation with Keira Knightley & Mathew MacFadyen is quite brilliant for its artistic merit…..more impressionistic with gorgeous frames rather than the focus on character development we see in the Colin Firth version. Both are favorites. Then there’s Lost in Austen, the BBC production which is brilliant…I catch something new every time I watch it.

  50. Joan Says:

    Ken, well that was easy…I have the interview!!

  51. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Joan, in the latest film version of P&P, I loved Rosamund Pike as Jane. As for Mr Darcy, I definitely preferred Colin Firth in the older version to Matthew Macfadyen in the new one. I do agree about the artistic merit of the 2005 adaptation.

    Lost in Austen sounds like a must-watch :-) I checked it last time you recommended it, but later somehow forgot to watch it. How could that happen? Hmm…

    Anyway, Ken, start reading immediately. I think you’re going to like Mr Bennet :-)

  52. skpenman Says:

    Well, on January 8th, 871 AD, the future King Alfred the Great won a victory over the Danes at the battle of Ashdown. I can’t remember offhand if Bernard Cornwell let his fictional character, Uthred, take part in it, but I suspect he did—Uthred never missed a battle if he could help it! Any of my readers remember if Uthred was at Ashdown? (For those who’ve not read Conwell’s wonderful Saxon series, you are missing out on so much!)
    On January 8th, 1198, Pope Celestine died, at the vast age of 92 or so. I think we can safely say that neither Richard nor Eleanor sent flowers; they were not happy with Celestine’s dithering during the fourteen months that Richard was held captive in Germany. He eventually got around to excommunicating Duke Leopold, but only after Richard was released and demanded it. There are some reports that he finally excommunicated Heinrich, but this has not been confirmed, and historians tend to discount it; I do, too. Celestine’s death led to the election of one of the most influential popes of the MA, Innocent III, who is not one of my favorites.
    On January 8th, 1324, the famed Italian explorer Marco Polo died at age 69.
    And though this is not medieval, on January 8th, 1215 was fought a meaningless battle in a needless war, the Battle of New Orleans, in which the Yanks defeated the British. It was meaningless because the War of 1812 was already over by then, but they didn’t know it yet. How sad is that—dying after peace had been made?

  53. ken john Says:

    Kasia, reading a passage from Ralph Turner’s biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine, I was struck by the similarities between the discontent shown by Henry and Eleanor’s sons, leading to their rebellion(s) and that which occurred, albeit to a lesser extent, by Edward I and his father Henry III. The following passage is relevant:

    “….In fact, Henry was largely an absent father during his son’s early years, and following aristocratic custom, he was content to leave their upbringing in others’ hands. Once his sons became adolescents, they resented their father’s refusal to share power with them, denying them authority over the lands that he had designated for them in various partition schemes.

    The stormy relationship between Henry II and his eldest son is the classic example of relations between medieval aristocratic fathers and their heirs. Among the nobility, an heir could not achieve full adult status or assume governing responsibilities as long as his father held onto the family lands; he was condemned to remain a ‘youth’ for years past adolescence, unable to marry on account of his landless status. Such heirs often joined bands of other landless youths, who were also waiting impatiently to come into their own inheritances, and their frustration and boredom often pushed them towards violence. This is especially true of Henry and Eleanor’s eldest son, who like other heirs saw his father thwarting his attainment of full manhood, forcing him to seek riches and fame in mock combat at tournaments or in serious warfare……….

    Henry unwisely assumed that advance arrangements would forestall quarrels among his sons over their inheritances, unable to grasp that once he gave the boys titles, they would expect the power that was associated with them. No doubt he expected his sons to share with him the task of governing his far-flung domains once he grew old, and to continue working together after his death, but the boys were unwilling to wait. Henry’s tinkering with his succession plans fostered in his sons deeper feelings of insecurity and competition with their siblings than were common in princely families, and Eleanor, like other aristocratic mothers, sympathised with her son’s frustration……..

    Once he became preoccupied with securing lands for his youngest boy John “Lackland,” his changing plans at the expense of his three other sons were bound to rouse them to anger. The Plantagenet king ignored the biblical injunction, “Let your life run its full course, and then, at the hour of death, distribute your estate” (Ecclesiastes, 33: 21-23………”

    Turning to the problems that arose between Henry III and the lord Edward, here is an excerpt from my own masterpiece:

    “To ensure Castile did not aid further the rebellious Gascons, Henry resolved to pursue an idea that had been first formulated two years earlier, that of an Alliance between England and Castile through a marriage between Edward and Alfonso’s step-sister Eleanor. The treaty was finally agreed and signed on the 1st April 1254. The king of Castile agreed to renounce all claims on Gascony and Henry undertook to help Alfonso against Navarre and to give consideration to the rights and claims of Gaston de Bearn. The proposition of the marriage had been tentatively accepted by Alfonso, subject to a few prior conditions. He was naturally anxious to see Edward in person, perhaps to test his suitability and, in order to ensure his step-sister would live the life she merited; he insisted that Edward should be endowed with lands worth £10,000 a year.

    This sum was much more than Henry had intended for Edward, but he had little option but to agree. While still in Gascony, Henry signed a decree providing Edward with a great appanage. Not only was Gascony now Edwards’, but Henry added royal lands in Wales and Ireland, the castle of Bristol, the earldom of Chester, which had been vacant for some time, and some important manors in the Midlands. Finally, if all was agreed, Alfonso requested Henry to allow him the privilege of knighting Edward……..

    ……………Bidding his mother and Peter to be seated at table, Edward waited until the servants had laid the food out, poured the wine and departed, before speaking. ‘Well mama, your messenger said you had important news. What is it?’ The queen sipped her wine and smiled at her son. ‘Edward, we finally have some good news from Gascony! Your father and King Alfonso have signed a treaty between our countries and they have also agreed your marriage with Alfonso’s half-sister Eleanor. You knew that was in the offing, so that is not the surprise we have brought you.’ Edward looked quizzically at her and she smiled again. ‘My dear, your father has granted you a great and wonderful appanage. You already have Gascony, but now, before your marriage, you are to be invested with the royal lands in Wales and Ireland, Bristol castle, the honour of Chester and much more! Your father has ordered us to make immediate preparations for a voyage to your duchy of Gascony and on to Castile!’

    Edward listened with astonishment. He was a couple of months short of his fifteenth birthday and at a stroke, he had now become the wealthiest landowner in England, second only to the king himself. He stood away from the table and walked across to the window opening. While Eleanor and Peter regarded him with some amusement, he looked down at the inner ward, filled with the hustle and bustle of castle life and felt himself begin to swell with pride. ‘My God,’ he thought, ‘I have finally come into my own. My own lands! And now, I’ll have my independence!’

    He turned back to the table; ‘When is all this to happen, mama? When will we leave? When will I see this Eleanor? What of her? How old is she? Is she fair?’ ‘Wait Edward, hold your horses and slow down,’ said Peter. ‘One question at a time. The king has requested your presence and that of the queen and your brother Edmund in Gascony as soon as it can be arranged. We think all that may be possible by mid-May. Much though remains to be organised before then.’……………

    ……………Edward immediately sent servants to look for and to bring his friends to his rooms. Looking down the list of his new properties, he had a burning desire to share his good news with them and to see their reactions.

    They started to arrive one by one anxious to see why they had all been called so urgently. Edward’s household had started to expand over the last year and his close friends now included the two sons of his tutor-in-arms, Bartholomew Pecche. These two called Richard and Henry, now joined Henry of Almain and Othon in Edward’s rooms.

    They found Edward pouring over the charter and smiling, his eyes alight with joy! ‘Sit! Sit over there!’ he said. ‘I have news from Gascony that may interest you.’ Joining them at the dining table, Edward laid the charter out for all to see. ‘My father has, at last, made me a true prince of the realm,’ he said. ‘Look what lands he has given me. I am to receive all of Ireland apart from Dublin and Limerick, Athlone and those lands already promised to my uncle Geoffrey de Lusignan and to Robert Walerand. In Wales, I am to receive all of the king’s conquests in the north; the honour of the three castles, for those too dim to know which they are,’ Edward grinned, ‘That means Skenfrith, Grosmont and the White Castle in South Wales, as well as the castles of Montgomery, Carmarthen, Cardigan and Builth! I already have Gascony and the isle of Oleron and my father has now added the Channel Islands to the list. In England I am to have the earldom of Chester; the town and castle of Bristol; Stamford and Grantham; the manor of Freemantle and all those lands which the count of Eu had held. Oh! And I nearly forgot to mention. I am to be married to the fair Eleanor, sister of the king of Castile!’ Edward sat down and grinned at his friends………

    ……………..It was late in the afternoon and Edward, excused from further training, was awaiting a call to attend upon his parents as they were expecting a very special visitor; Jeanne de Ponthieu, Eleanor of Castile’s mother! Henry had issued safe conducts for Jeanne and her son Ferdinand to cross Gascony on their way north to Ponthieu and she had requested an audience with the king, presumably to cast an eye over her prospective son-in-law. Edward was somewhat bemused that, apparently, she was not to be present at the marriage of her daughter and wanted to know the reason. He would not have admitted it, but he was also anxious to see this legendary beauty as, who knew? Like mother, like daughter?

    The call came and Edward made his way to the hall. Henry and Eleanor were sitting at a table and in front of them, sitting with her back to Edward, was a woman, evidently Jeanne, dressed in black. As Henry beckoned to Edward to come forward, Jeanne stood and turned to look at him. Edward had to catch his breath. The stories had not been exaggerated! Jeanne was indeed a great beauty. In her mid-thirties, her pale face was unlined and her hair; lustrous, black and thick, was gathered in coils on both sides of her head above the ears. Her head was covered by a black lace veil which had been lifted to expose her face and Edward found himself looking into the largest, greenest eyes he had ever seen.

    Jeanne bent her knee in a short curtsey while looking closely at her future son-in-law. At fifteen, his beard had not yet truly started and his chin was covered in what looked like a fine blond moss. He was taller than she had imagined and she was surprised to notice that his left eyelid drooped exactly like that of his father. How strange, she thought, to share such a blemish. This notwithstanding, she was pleased with his appearance, as by any standards he was a handsome man. She was sure her daughter would approve.

    ‘Good day, my lord duke,’ she said. ‘I have so looked forward to meeting you.’ Edward was taken aback by her use of that title, but recovered sufficiently to respond, ‘No, my lady, although I hold Gascony, that title is not yet mine but,’ he smiled at his father, ‘I hope my father has taken note! Please call me Edward.’ It still rankled with Edward that although Henry had granted him extensive lands, his father had not resigned his position as the lord of those lands and had retained the titles – lord of Ireland, duke of Aquitaine- that went with them………………”

    There then, exactly the same situation experienced by the Young King. Ostensibly the holder of vast lands, but with absolutely no power to govern and not even the titles that went with them. This lack of power was to rankle with Edward and cause him to resent his father to the point where he did take up with other disaffected youths, running amok throughout England and tourneying throughout France, in search of an outlet for his energy and ambition. From 1259 to 1263 he was with Simon de Montfort and, I believe, if not for the action of his mother Eleanor of Provence may well have joined him in rebellion.

    That probably is the difference between the two scenarios. As Eleanor of Aquitaine became increasingly estranged from her husband during her long sojourn in Poitou after 1168, it had an effect on their children’s feelings, and the couple’s hostility must account at least partially for the boys’ alienation from their father. By contrast, Eleanor of Provence loved her husband and, with the help of Peter of Savoy, turned Edward from the path of open rebellion. Edward’s disenchantment with Simon de Montfort’s cause was partly triggered by the treatment that his mother received at the hands of the citizens of London who pelted her barge with rubbish (and worse) as she tried to escape from the Tower.

  54. ken john Says:

    Kasia, I tried to post this on your blog but it would not accept it as being too long. If you send me your email address -, I’ll email it to you and, if you like, you can post it yourself.

  55. Koby Says:

    That was fascinating, Ken, and very well-written. I very much enjoyed it. And I apologize for my lack! I fear that event did not show up on the calendar.

    Sharon, I fear your post has a typo in it - it seems you cannot truly let go of Medieval times. But indeed, the entire war of 1812 was pointless, for the day after America declared war, England had repealed those ordinances and laws which provoked it, and the greatest American victory took place a fortnight after the peace was signed.

  56. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    That was very interesting, Ken. We hope you’re writing very fast,for I know I speak for many when I say we want to read more! Edward’s Eleanora has a fascinating family tree, for she was the great-granddaughter of the unfortunate Alys of France, who was treated so shabbily by the men in her life. She was 39 when she had her daughter and it must have been a shock to her not-so-loving brother, Philippe, for in marrying her off to the much younger Count of Ponthieu, (he was not yet 17, she was 6 weeks from her 35th birthday) he was surely hoping she’d not be able to produce an heir, so Ponthieu’s lands would escheat to the French Crown, ie, Philippe.
    Guilty as charged, Koby. I just can’t seem to escape the MA.
    Tomorrow’s Facebook Note is below. I am posting it early as I won’t have time to post it tomorrow.

    Apparently, people in bygone times preferred to stay by their home fires during the cold month of January, for it has a number of “blank” history days. January 9th was one such day. For January 10th, I found two events worth mentioning, neither of them medieval, though. On January 10th, 49 BC, Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River with one legion, thus igniting civil war in Rome, for it was a capital offence for the governor of a province to lead his army beyond his province. When Caesar, the governor of Gaul, crossed the Rubicon River into Italy, his action gave rise to two well-known phrases. To “cross the Rubicon” means there is no going back. And Caesar is said to have uttered the words, “Alea iacta est,” or “The die is cast,” which is repeated even today. He won the civil war, by the way, was elected Dictator of Rome in the following year, although that did not turn out so well for him.
    Also on January 10th, this time in 1776, a book was published that can truly be said to have changed the world. On this date, Thomas Paine published his manifesto Common Sense, a 78 page pamphlet calling for immediate independence from Great Britain. It became an instant bestseller and is believed to have exerted enormous influence upon those colonists who were still hesitating, not sure if independence was the right course or not. (John Adams estimated that one-fourth of the colonists were patriots, one-fourth were Tories, and the remainder were perched on the fence, not sure which way to jump.) For many, Common Sense nudged them into the camp for independence. Common Sense played a similar role in the French Revolution. Later, at a time when American morale was flagging badly, Paine again stepped into the breach with his American Crisis, which contained the famous lines, “These are the times that try men’s souls,” heaping scorn upon the “summer soldier and the sunshine patriot.” He would later write The Rights of Man in defense of the French Revolution.

  57. Koby Says:

    Also, Sharon, today the Battle of Vaslui took place, where Stephen III of Moldavia, Ștefan cel Mare, defeated a far greater Ottoman army.

  58. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, thank you for writing more about Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. I’ve got stuck in the Angevin Empire for good, and sometimes feel irresistable need of travelling into more recent history :-)

  59. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Ken, thank you for our fruitfuil, albeit a little bit tempestuous cooperation :-) Somehow we’ve made it into a post. A fascinating post :-) Thank you again.

    A fascinating glimpse of our ‘behind the scenes’:
    When we were arguing over the ending of one unfortunate sentence, Ken had the pleasure of ‘meeting’ Mr Turner via email! Oh, what an adventure! Ken, I do hope we will repeat it in the nearest future :-) (Ken shrinks in horror while reading the last sentence. He is exhausted after the last two days of endless emails, questions and suggestions).

  60. ken john Says:

    I must say Ralph Turner seems like a very nice man! Oh, don’t worry Kasia. I can come up with all sorts of ‘tempestuous’ items after all, my middle name is ‘Troublesome’!

  61. May Says:

    tempestuous? Ken? I am *so* shocked!!

  62. Stephanie Says:

    Hmmmm…. “Troublesome”, yes.

  63. ken john Says:

    Hmmm! I can often be tempestuously troublesome. Just depends on my mood of the day.Foe example: Can a female driver reverse into a parking space in one smooth movement? Can a female shopper shop, without putting her trolley along the display blocking just where I want to choose my milk or cheese? Can a female shopper arrive at the till with her money/credit card ready to pay? Does same shopper save up all her change just so that she can hold up 15 people behind her while she finds the miniscule coins at the bottom of her purse, that was hidden at the bottom of her bag while she slowly packed her shopping into the especially brought bags that she had to unfold before she started to pack while I am slowly dying three people back…….?

  64. Joan Says:

    Yes, but….if upon discovering bumbling, frustrating female is drop-dead-gorgeous as she turns in your direction, offering, hand on hip, winks with huge green cat-eyes, does your slowly-dying self spring suddenly, effortlessly, lickety-split to life along with mobilization of innately-chivalrous sensibilities, leaving trolley of milk & cheese behind as performance of death-leap wows aforementioned customers to offer Othon-like Knight-ly assistance with groceries purchased with miniscule coins at the bottom of her purse, that was hidden…………..

  65. Joan Says:

    LIONHEART!!! Oh, Sharon, what an exciting & amazing novel! A great tribute to Richard, Coeur de Lion. Because I missed all the brouhaha on your blog when everyone else was reading the book, I’m going to indulge myself for a few days to sing praises & also comment on things I enjoyed.

    I was hooked with the Prologue, dramatic & emotional. I can see a film & as it begins, one of Britain’s great voices…..”Theirs was a story……….”

    It boggles the mind when reading a novel with subject matter of such magnitude, to experience an easy rhythm & flow from one sentence to the next, page after page & chapter to chapter, till the book is done. The mastery required to accomplish this is beyond brilliant. You’ve also an amazing ability to render complex history accessible to those of us with little or no previous knowledge of the events, keeping us fully engaged the entire time.

    For me, the story couldn’t have begun on a more delightful note, being reunited with Joanna, now grown up & Queen, & experiencing, for a few idyllic moments, the Eden that was hers…….before all hell broke loose! Then reuniting with Richard, Eleanor, & meeting Berengaria, then playing voyeur to those first sweet moments between the betrothed…..well it was all very satisfying to say the least. Unexpected were the “women’s voices” in those early chapters. What a way to begin a novel about a great warrior king setting off with his men for the Crusades!

    You brought the reality of the Crusades to us vividly, not only in the bonding of soldiers in a united cause; the fears, dangers, & tedium they faced; the devastating consequences of rivalries; hopes raised & dashed time & again; but also by jolting our imaginations with scenes that feel as epic today as they would have then…..the great fleet coming into harbor, the encampment outside Acre, the thousands marching to Jaffa, the supply caravan that Richard raided (I just can’t get my head around 4000 camels! & that was just one item), & best of all, Richard’s first vision of Jerusalem “shimmering in a golden haze of heat”. Ultimately, you gave us the Lionheart, commander king, “gallant, glorious, & quite mad”. I found I had to go to his photoshopped effigy a few times, thinking, This is the man! The final pages were very emotional as I’d expected, but the shivers caught me by surprise.

    I have more to say but will close this with a “6-word memoir”

    Sharon Penman…..Artist…Poet…Storyteller extraordinaire

  66. ken john Says:

    Joan, you’ve got a point there…that might be ok!

  67. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    May, I would like to thank you for your help with the excerp of Mr Turner’s biography of Eleanor!

    Joan and Ken, I suggest you should meet and have a nice chat :-)

  68. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Joan, your “6-word memoir” made me come back to our exchange on Sharon’s “In just six words or less”. I read it all again and came to the following conclusion:

    My absolute number 1 is Susan’s
    ‘Supposed to be decorative, not functional’ Marie Antionette

    Number 2 ( here I couldn’t decide):

    Joan, yours Hywel to Sharon Kay Penman:
    ‘Please, photoshop cause I was hot’

    Richard’s William Marshal:
    ‘Dad, what hammer? And what anvil?’

    And Kathryn Warner’s Edward II:
    ‘Ruling is boring; I’m going swimming!’

    And number 3 (here I couln’t decided either):

    Ken’s Henry II
    ‘Troublesome (!!!!) priest! I never said that!’

    Teka Lynn’s Captain of the White Ship:
    ‘Should not have had that drink!’

    And Gayle Simmonds’s Native Americans reflecting upon the effect of the European’s:
    ‘We should have sunk those three ships’

    Haven’t I just started a new game? A kind of summing up the best of 2012? :-)

  69. Koby Says:

    I thought your name was ‘troublemaker’, Ken, not ‘troublesome’.

    Kasia, a nice summary of the best of the year, and Joan a great review, thank you for sharing your joy with us.

    Today, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, the husband of Mary the Rich of Burgundy and the stepson-in-law of Margaret of York died. Their son was Philip the Handsome, who would marry Juana of Spain, establishing the Habsburg dynasty in Spain.

  70. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Koby, you’re right. It’s ‘troublemaker’! Kenneth Notorious Troublemaker John, as far as I can recall :-)

  71. Joan Says:

    Sharon, I’d like to read more on Henri, Count of Champagne…..interesting man….seems to have had many admirable qualities, not to mention the challenge of walking the tightrope between the French & English Kings. If you or anyone can suggest something, I’d be grateful. It seems one of your readers, is it Emilie? became an avid fan & has done some research.

    Balian d’Ibelin is an intriguing figure & I think you are going to write a novel about him? The “poulains” would have led fascinating lives.

    Kasia, thank you for choosing Hywel as one of your faves. I think you have a soft spot for him too, after all he was a poet & exceedingly charming.

  72. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    Joan, to say “thank you” seems so inadequate for such a splendid review. When readers say something complimentary about my books, I often tell they they “made my day.” Well, you made my year! I also thought your observation about Ken in Tescos was spot-on.
    Unfortunately, no one has done a biography of Henri, so information about him has to be hunted for in histories of the period. But he is going to get a lot of screen time in my next book, Land beyond the Sea. He managed to convince me that I ought to alternate some chapters between Champagne and Outremer, the way I did in Dragons as the stories of John, Joanna, and Llywelyn eventually converged.
    Here is today’s Facebook Note.
    I am sorry that I’ve dropped off the radar for a few days. I am likely to have to disappear from time to time until Ransom is done; just blame it on those troublesome Angevins, especially John. Given all that he’s been accused of over the years, keeping me off Facebook sounds positively benign. Nothing of medieval significance happened while I was away, though. And only one medieval event worth mentioning today, January 13th.
    On this date in 1151, one of the more significant figures of the twelfth century died, Abbot Suger of St Denis. He was a highly influential and respected counselor to two French kings, Louis le Gros and his son, Louis VII, first husband of our Eleanor. He was also a historian, author, and artistic patron; at one time he was even considered the originator of gothic architecture, although historians today don’t give him quite as much credit for that. We have him to thank for the survival of the elegant crystal vase that Eleanor presented to Louis at the time of their wedding, which resides today in the Louvre. Some historians have speculated that if Suger had not died when he did, Louis and Eleanor might not have gotten divorced, for Suger was adamantly opposed to the dissolution of their marriage. From all I’ve read of Abbot Suger, he was a benevolent influence, clever and generous, his only “flaw” a taste for luxurious living. But since my livelihood depends upon the accession of the Plantagenets to the English throne, I suppose I have to be glad that Abbot Suger did not get more time on earth than his biblical three score years and ten.

  73. Joan Says:

    Sharon, I’m so happy you enjoyed my thoughts on Lionheart & you honor me with your comments. It’s your readers who are the grateful ones. It’s difficult to truly express the impact of a novel like this because it’s so multi-layered. And I agree with your readers who always look forward to the AN & would welcome any number of pages. The nuggets are always fascinating, and reading it helps me to cope with the difficulty of having ended the novel. For a minute I was stunned that Morgan wasn’t a real figure, but then did a “Duh”…Ranulf was fictitious! I’m going to go back to previous blogs to read some of the posts….there’s so much info there & I have many musings.

    I found this imagery so stunning:

    “a kiss that seared like a brand”
    “clouds of shafted death”
    “the chamber silvered with moonlight”
    “whispers of the blood”….I know you borrowed this but it was so beautiful in its context
    And the passage where Richard’s ships enter the bay at Acre (p 292) is breathtakingly spectacular…many shivers over this.

    On a romantic note, the whole scenario between Richard & Berenguela re the Michaelmas goose is precious! The romantic & bedchamber scenes in all your novels are so delicious & always leave us wanting just a little bit more (which means they’re perfect!) I’ve always enjoyed how the men wrap strands of their lovers’ gorgeous tresses around their necks (particularly when Llewelyn Fawr is the lover). The Welshmen also loved seating their ladies on their laps. Sigh…..

    I’m not surprised that there isn’t a bio on Henri so will go online & also look forward to meeting him again in your next book…..I didn’t realize you’d already had a title.

    I decided, finally, to buy The Dovekeepers….$6 on a sale table…how could I resist? But I’ve also been evading it. I know it’s a beautiful novel & I know the ending is going to devastate me, so just don’t know when I’ll actually start it.

  74. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    Joan, Alice Hoffman manages to do the almost impossible, stay true to the history of Masada while still giving her readers a few glimmers of hope. I’d been dreading the ending, too, but found to my relief that it was not as emotionally devastating as I’d feared. And I don’t want to embarrass you, but I have to thank you again for your Lionheart feedback. Nothing makes writers happier than to be told that specific scenes resonated with the reader or that certain phrases soared!
    Today’s Facebook Note, a very brief one.

    I will only be making random appearances for a while, as Ransom is claiming almost all of my waking hours these days. I’ll stop by whenever I can, but I’m sure you all can carry on quite admirably without me. Meanwhile, on January 14, 1129, the Order of the Templars was formally approved at the Council of Troyes and on January 14, 1236, Henry III wed Eleanor of Provence, who would be a devoted wife and mother, but an unpopular queen.

  75. skpenman Says:

    Today’s brief Facebook Note

    On January 15th, 1478, a rather sad marriage took place, between the second son of Edward IV, Richard, and Anne Mowbray, daughter of the Duke of Norfolk. He was not yet five years old; she was around the same age. The idea of marriage between such young children is something hard for us to fathom today, and their wedding seems even more pathetic because we know that they both died so young, Anne three years later in 1481 and Richard most likely in 1183. Sad.
    Those pushy Tudors have crashed today’s party, for on this date in 1535, Henry VIII declared himself the head of the English Church and on January 15th in 1559, his brilliant daughter Elizabeth was crowned as Queen of England.

  76. Stephanie Says:

    Joan, have you posted this review on Amazon or any other book review site? If you haven’t, I strongly encourage you to do so. A review here is wonderful, but we need to persuade more potential readers to buy the book! Obviously you would need to change up your wording so it’s not addressed to Sharon personally but to a reading audience and also indicate the potential for story spoilers in your review, but I would love to see a review like this up on Amazon. So please consider it if you have no already done so? It’s a beautifully worded tribute.

  77. Joan Says:

    I’m beginning to think this site is one big mutual admiration society masquerading as a blog! Koby, thanks to you for your kind words, & Stephanie, thank you also. I’d never considered it, to be honest, & agree I’d def have to make some changes. I’ve already googled how to do it.

    I’ve decided that I’m finally going to purchase an e-reader & open to advice. This is not to replace REAL books which I love AND need, but to read what I don’t need to own. And especially for travelling. I have no idea what to go for….everyone I know has their own reasons for a particular brand. Any advice would be appreciated.

  78. skpenman Says:

    I am very happy with my Kindle, Joan, but a good friend is equally happy with her Nook. I use Amazon so much that it just seemed natural to me to get a Kindle. I would be horrified if e-books ever replaced print books, but I think they are a wonderful supplement. They are ideal for traveling and I especially love the feature that allows me to increase the font size, very nice for aging eyes! E-books also help to keep book lovers from being buried in books.

    And I’d be delighted if you published your wonderful review on-line!

  79. skpenman Says:

    I can imagine few sorrows harder to bear than the loss of a child. My friend Patrice’s daughter, Holly, suffered such a tragic loss with the death of her infant daughter Gracie. Holly did not want her little girl to be forgotten and she came up with the wonderful idea of donating baby blankets to Temple Hospital in Gracie’s memory. She has been doing this for years now, bringing comfort to so many newborns and their mothers. If anyone would like to make a donation, here is the Facebook page for Gracie’s Gifts. There are several Facebook pages with this name, but this is the link if you’d like to find out more about donating blankets to Temple Hospital.!/pages/Gracies-Gifts/295502020476814?fref=ts
    You can also contact Patrice Batski via Facebook or you can contact me and I’ll forward the message. Below is the message that Patrice posted on her Facebook page.
    “Holly is starting collections for Gracie’s Gifts. Please pass the word around. Any donations of new blankets are greatly appreciated. Holly donates them to Temple where sometimes this is the only new thing the baby ever gets. The easiest way, we found last year, was to order from Amazon and have them sent to my address (for my Facebook friends). If you can make a donation, I can give you my address by private message. We’re starting to get the word out about Gracie’s Gifts for this year’s collection… If you have any organizations, schools, etc. that would be able to participate, please let me know… Our goal is 1700 blankets this year, and with the kindness of others, I know we can make it….”

  80. Stephanie Says:

    Joan, I also have a Kindle. I own the most basic of versions and love it very much. I am a very tactile person so love the feel of a good book in hand - the weight, feel of paper, the smell, etc. But the Kindle is a wonderful supplement, as Sharon says. Ideal for travel and as a fabulous repository for books you don’t feel like you need to “collect”. Or actually, as another way to “collect” books you are trying to buy in every format available (*cough, cough… Sharon’s books*). If you are just looking looking for an ereader to read books and don’t care about the extra features, the basic Kindle is a great bargain. In terms of specific benefits of the Kindle vs other kinds, my screen is like reading a book. No screen glare or reflection of any kind. At least at the time of purchase, I don’t’ believe the other readers had that benefit.

  81. Joan Says:

    So 2 in favor of Kindle here. I did some investigating & it’s hugely popular. So far, the info I’ve found online tells me I can’t purchase a Nook or have access to B & N’s books up here in polar bear land….well hardly, as I will be basking in 2 deg temp tomorrow, but that’s how I feel right now. Can’t buy a Nook & cannot have library borrowing with a Kindle. I’m going to continue investigating though, that could all have changed in the time it’s taking to type this.

    Stephanie, I’m always happy when I come across someone else who loves the smell of books. Has anyone ever stared at you oddly when caught out? I’ll bet Kasia is one of us on this one. Sharon?? I actually don’t know how I’m going to continue this without going into hysterics, but a book I had the pleasure to smell just the other day brought me back to grade school! I’m now going to spiral downward (or upward) into Monty Python territory, so if you’re not a fan, just stop here. When people think I’m totally whacko, I carry it further just to irritate them, saying, Oh yes, I can tell, just by sniffing, if I should read it, or toss it aside. I find more women than men have this “idiosyncracy”….& no, it wasn’t me who did the study. And like you, I’m very tactile, the weight, the feel of the paper just feels good. Now this next is definitely whacko, & I’ll be really embarrassed by the time I finish this, but silky, thinner paper can make a great sound (discovered quite by accident) when you have lots of pages in each hand & kind of roll it. Mary Queen of Scotland & the Isles did it when I first started reading the book (a trade paperback) but it kind of dissipated over the journey. On that note, I’d better sign off but thanks for your help, Sharon & Stephanie.

  82. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Joan, you’re right. When reading Stephanie’s words I was thinking: ‘Dear God! How heartening! There are kindred souls somewhere in the world who love books for what they are- I mean books as the objects- with their smell, their texture…’ After reading your words, Joan, my heart just ‘melted’ :-) I was really moved. Although we have never met you seem to read me well :-)

    And I do agree with Stephanie and Sharon: your review is wonderful. The words just flow. You have a gift.

  83. skpenman Says:

    I totally agree about the tactile appeal of “real” books. I hesitate to admit I’ve never tried the “smell test.” But having great confidence in your powers of perception, Stephanie, Joan, and Kasia, I will try it forthwith.

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    On January 16, 27 BC, Octavian was granted the title of Augustus by the Roman Senate, marking the beginning of the Roman Empire.
    On January 16, 1245, Henry III’s second son, Edmund, was born. Edmund was a character in Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning, and I became quite fond of him and his French wife, Blanche. The history of kings is rife with troublesome younger brothers like George of Clarence. Edmund was an anomaly, for he was loyal to his own elder brother, Edward I. He was also the founder of the House of Lancaster, but I forgive him for that. 
    On January 16th, 1325, the poet Petrach’s beloved Laura was wed to a man named Hughes de Sade; it was Petrach, of course, who would give Laura literary immortality.
    On January 16th, 1409, Rene, the Duke of Anjou, King of Naples and titular King of Jerusalem, was born. Rene was the father of Marguerite d’Anjou, the Red Queen of Lancaster. Although he was known as Good King Rene, I’ve always regarded him with a jaundiced eye, for he did little to ease the last years of his unhappy daughter, who was dependent upon a small pension given her by the French king.
    And also on January 16th, 1362, a prosperous German city, Rungholt, sank below the waves when a powerful storm surge of the North Sea engulfed the island of Strand. A medieval Atlantis, Rungholt, would give rise to legends like that other “lost city,” with people claiming that they could hear the church bells of Rungholt chiming beneath the waters of the North Sea.

  84. Joan Says:

    Sharon, I just noticed your post about Gracie, how very sad to lose a precious infant, & I have nothing but admiration for families (Holly in this case) who take that loss & transform it into filling someone else’s need.

    And good luck with the smell test, Sharon, but I fear if it isn’t innate, you may not experience heights of pleasure. Re your post, the legends of lost cities have to be the most haunting.

    Kasia, your post is so sweet. I knew you were one of us on this! And thank you for your kind words.

    Being a tactile person can have its drawbacks too, I’m sure you would all agree….we used to have a fabulous Sari shop in town, & being a lover of fabrics (I used to sew big time), entering the shop was my garden of Eden. Surrounded by such an extravagance of dazzling, shimmering, vibrant colors was dizzying, but then, with my usual exuberance, I’d have to touch & feel the silks & satins & brocades. I once came out of this reverie to find the owner glaring at me. And visiting all that art & sculpture in Italy was painful because I couldn’t touch it! Our hands are naturally drawn to the marbled flesh, wouldn’t you agree? I did manage to “cop a feel” once though in the Uffizi, when nobody was looking… was just a foot but, hey! Saw an exhibit of Rodin while there & almost had to handcuff my hands behind my back. Imagine caressing those beautiful lines! “David” was almost too much to bear! To touch what Michelangelo would have stroked a thousand times would be electric! My son held me back!

  85. Stephanie Says:

    Joan, I can relate. You in a fabric store is like me in a yarn store. :)

    And Sharon, I want a full report on your “sniff test”.

    I worked in the college library for my “work study” job while in school. Perusing the oldest section of books was always my favorite because they had that “musty with age” smell to them.

  86. ken john Says:

    The Young King here, Hello!
    My mother told me about this Sharon person’s creative writing (My mother reads the whole time - have you seen her tomb effigy?), so I decided to download a few books to my celestial Kindle. I’m particularly happy and have spent countless hours chortling over some of the goings on with the one she calls ‘The Devils Brood, My Dad really was a bit of an assh…, but I’m a bit less happy with the one called ‘Lionheart.’

    I have to say, this Sharon person is far better than the chroniclers of my time on Earth. BUT, I am also aware of a Polish lady who has dedicated her time (perhaps her life?) to producing a Bloggything (whatever that is) in my honour, which is, I might add, richly worthy of being celebrated.

    Now, it appears that this bloggything does not attract as many readers as I would both like and, of course, merit. So, I have joined this Facebookything and my friends therein earnestly appeal (yes, to me, a young king, for Kasia to also join this Facebooky, so that more and more and more people can know and understand me. What say you….?’

  87. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    For God’s sake, Ken! You’re not playing fair! :-) Although there’s a grain of truth in Young Henry’s words: the Polish lady knows perfectly well that joining this Facebooky thing may help her young overlord gain new knights in his mesnie. Will it suffice then if the Polish lady promises to reconsider? :-)

    P.S. BTW, have you checked your email box? I have already written a few words on the subject :-)

  88. Stephanie Says:

    We have it in writing! “…the Polish lady promises to reconsider…”


  89. Stephanie Says:

    Joan, since we were just talking about book reviews, I thought you might like to read the review I posted of Lionheart on Goodreads. I did not post the same one on Amazon but am thinking that I may change my old Amazon review to this one:

    I have enjoyed all of Sharon’s books, but this one ranks up there with Sunne in Splendor in terms of completely resetting my opinion of a person from history. I started the book being indifferent to Richard. I grudgingly had to admit, chapter by chapter, that he began to grow on me. By the end he really had endeared himself to me.

    As with all of Sharon’s books, the characters are classic Penman — luring you into their world where you see them as more than just figures from history, but living, breathing humans. I have not come across many authors who have the ability to make you feel so much for the characters in a story the way Sharon does. Be prepared for some powerful emotions to be evoked in this one!

    Here are some of my thoughts posted on Facebook immediately after finishing:

    “Finished. What a ride! I think Lionheart is my favorite of the “Angevin series” because it surprised me more than any of the other books and changed many of my views. I did not expect to have my opinion of Richard changed nearly this much. It sounds so trite to say the book is full of dimension, but I don’t know any other way to put it. When others have managed to portray the same events in 2D, Sharon has managed to go somewhere between 3D and 4D. As Sharon states in her A.N. that a friend of hers said, “There was a reason Richard was Eleanor’s favorite.” I can see it now. Thank you, Sharon. Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!

    Sunne and HBD series are still topping the list of favorites, but each of these books is appealing to me for vastly different reasons. Lionheart did not have the same gut-wrenching pain as Sunne and HBD, but it was full of so many other things. I could quote Sharon’s entire A.N. and it would basically say it all for me. The colorful details, the better-than-Hollywood events, the complexity of emotions surrounding a certain “massacre” between political need and personal disgust at it. Each little detail was like a dot of paint on a canvas. Combine those dots of light with the compelling complexity of Richard’s fully developed personality as seen in a way I’ve never experienced before and you have a very compelling painting. I spent most of Devil’s Brood being very confused by Richard and wanting to thwack Henry upside the head. Lionheart was a lightbulb moment for me regarding Richard. On a completely different note, my mind was swimming from the overwhelming amounts of research that Sharon had to do. Her list of references was astounding. I always tell everyone she is my favorite novelist, but she is also an historian of the highest order!”

  90. skpenman Says:

    Wow, Stephanie. You have me at a loss for words, and we both know how rare that is. Thank you. Richard tends to take scribes, especially female ones, for granted; typical Angevin. But even he was impressed.
    Kasia, as much as I’d love to see you on Facebook, do not let Hal and his co-conspirator from Cornwell blackmail you! Negotiate. Tell them you’ll join when your youngest graduates from college and then give ground gradually, so that when you graciously agree to saunter over to Facebook when the youngest enters what we call high school, Hal and his accomplices will be pathetically grateful for your concessions.
    I’m not surprised that Hal was not enthralled with Lionheart; he was rather jealous of you-know-who. I’m relieved to hear he was more approving of Devil’s Brood; he probably liked the dramatic, drawn-out death scene I gave him!

  91. skpenman Says:

    i almost forgot. Today’s Facebook Note.

    On January 17th, 1377, the papacy was moved back to Rome after more than seventy years in Avignon. The magnificent papal palace in Avignon is a wonderful legacy of this turbulent time in papal history.
    And I received very welcome news from my British publisher, Macmillan. When Christ and his Saints Slept will be released in the UK as an e-book on February 14th. I assume it will also be released at that time Down Under, but I will verify that for my Australian readers. This leaves only Time and Chance among my historical sagas, and I’ve been assured it, too, will be made available within a few months. Sadly, I don’t see much hope for my mysteries unless I eventually do it myself. But all twelve of my books are available as e-books on my side of the Atlantic.

  92. Priya Parmar Says:

    Congratulations! That is fantastic! I am heading back to the UK in a couple of weeks and will look for it as soon as it comes out!

  93. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    You think so, Sharon? I will have to think about this very method :-)
    As for Hal’s jealousy of you-know-who, here are Hal’s New Year’s resolutions for 1176 (after the whole year (1175) of performing the down-to-earth duties of kingships in the company of his lord father) as I wrote them in his stead on New Year’s Day 2013 ( a snippet from the Young King’s blog):

    In 1176, I will:

    Stop envying Richard his Roland-like deeds.
    Avoid teasing my lord father’s and my own clerks (might be difficult, they were born to be teased).
    Remember to stop blaming myself for my lady mother’s confinement.
    Call my Salisbury mewes at least once a week to steady myself.
    Ask my lord father to let me go and pray at Compostela (What say you? Is he going to see me through?)
    Learn to be as persuasive as Geoffrey, his are the powers of language to throw two kingdoms into confusion.
    Try to sire a strong and healthy boy.
    Quit flirting with Marguerite’s maids and start flirting with her instead (to fulfill the aforesaid).
    Travel to Normandy as soon as possible, they miss me there.
    Be less partial to Williams.
    Tell Johnny to stop bugging me (always wanted to tell him this, just lost my nerve each time)

  94. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Stephanie, wonderful review! I especially like ‘living, breathing humans’. The best description of Sharon’s characters!

  95. Joan Says:

    Stephanie, you are an artist with words! I’m happy you posted this today. I love both your review & FB post. Intelligent & very personal…..straight from the heart. Your FB post really is very beautiful. And I’m glad we’re still talking about reviews because I’m going to post mine on Amazon this w/end. I need some guidance first & would appreciate your help here. I saw the box that asks for email address & password. Will there be another box that asks me for a name to use with the review? Or is that the password? Obviously I don’t want my last name up. And when it comes time to rate it with stars, is there a prompt for that? And what about the “potential spoiler” thing? Also, can I just type the whole thing in the message box…..I read that a better idea would be to do it on word processor, then paste, but I don’t have it set up on my new computer yet. Thanks for your help on this.

    Now Sharon, I have one question. What word describes the “inter-ally” kind of rivalry that was such a huge detriment to Richard carrying out his plans?

    Kasia, if you do go FB, please, please keep writing on the blog. Otherwise we’ll have to have a tug-of-war. WE want you, no WE want you, no WE want you…… I’m very serious! And I love Hal’s resolutions!

  96. Joan Says:

    Priya Parmar, I am so happy you posted today so that I can tell you how much I enjoyed “Exit the Actress”. Sharon sang your praises so many times on this blog that I knew it was a novel not to be missed. I love the style….very imaginative, & made the book absolutely delightful to read. At the same time, we were treated to the extremely interesting history around the relationship of Charles & Nell. So many great scenes & the one that stays with me is the two of them in that huge feathery bed covered in quilts, along with 10 of their very favorite dogs. Could anything be cosier? I’m amazed that this was a “debut” novel & will look forward to many others. I wish you the best of luck.

  97. Stephanie Says:

    Joan, I am soooo glad my posting encouraged you to keep at your review posting idea! To answer your questions:

    1) You will be given a chance to “name” yourself something separate from your user name and password. You can just call yourself “Joan” or any other fictional creation you come up with.

    2) You will be prompted for every part of your review on one page, including your number of stars rating (in fact, it’s the first step of the process followed in order by titling your review then typing your review). After everything has been entered you will be given a chance to preview what it will look like in case you want to change anything.

    3) And yes, you might find it easier to type up your review in a word processor and then paste it into the box. If you don’t have that working yet on your computer, you can simply type it into the box directly on Amazon’s page. It’s a large area so it should cause you any problems.

    Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

  98. Joan Says:

    Thank you Stephanie, this is perfect! You have great organizational & explanatory skills. And I’m so glad you made the suggestion….Sharon deserves whatever her readers can do to promote her novels. This will be my first “1st” for 2013….new challenges & adventures are always fun. Thanks again!

  99. Stephanie Says:

    Yay, Joan! Anything we can do to promote job security for Sharon is a good thing, and encouraging new readers is a great way to do just that (not to mention the side benefit of knowing new readers are discovering some phenomenal writing)!

  100. Koby Says:

    Stephanie, that was a brilliant review, thank you for sharing. Ken, you are very persuasive, perhaps you should add ’silver-tongue’ to you name? Sharon, since as Stephanie said, we now have it in writing, use your lawyer skills to make Kasia join us. Kasia, those were some great resolution, I very much enjoyed them.
    Lastly, today, Henry VII [VIII] of England married Elizabeth of York.

  101. Stephanie Says:

    Thank you, Koby. As to Sharon using her lawyering skills, I don’t know if we’ll get much help there. She seems to be encouraging Kasia to hold her ground. But I wonder, is there a reason we are not working on you, dear Koby? Facebook? Come join us???

  102. skpenman Says:

    Koby is on Facebook; he’s just too busy to post much.

    I don’t have a Facebook Note today; I was just going to mention that Henry Tudor wed Elizabeth of York today and Koby beat me to it. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the medieval one, of course, Richard sufferes what may be his first ever military defeat, so of course the English chroniclers don’t even mention it! He then gets shot by a crossbow (no, not the one you’re thinking of) so all in all, he is not having a good summer.

  103. Joan Says:

    Sharon, I had just one question for you……I need a word. The rivalries that went on between Richard & his own “so called allies” (namely Philippe), thwarting his military plans, could be called what? “Inter-ally” rivalvies doesn’t seem to do it. Thanks.

  104. Teka Lynn Says:


  105. Joan Says:

    Teka Lynn…….Yes, that’s the word I’ve been wanting!! Sharon has used it many times. I’d actually checked the online dictionary with no luck. Now I have my good old “Webster’s” out & here it is. So thank you very much for that!

  106. Teka Lynn Says:

    Oh, good! I wasn’t sure. You’re welcome!

  107. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Joan and Stephanie, I’ve been wondering whether you would be eager to share your brilliant reviews of Lionheart and Devil’s Brood (of course if I could ask you to write about the latter as well) on the Young Henry’s blog?
    We- I mean Henry and I- would be most happy, grateful and honoured. What say you? Please think about it :-)

  108. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    Kasia, I think that is a wonderful idea! We’ll just have to coax Joan and Stephanie into agreeing. You figure in my Facebook Note, belowl (I just hope I got the facts right)

    On January 20th, 1265, a significant event occurred in English history. On this date, Simon de Montfort summoned what many historians consider to be the first English parliament. Simon requested that the counties and towns each send two representatives, insisting that they be elected. This parliament was also the first time that knights and townspeople attended such a session together. So on this day, let’s pause and give credit where due to the arrogant French aristocrat who cracked open democracy’s door, however briefly, for of course Henry III refused to recognize it. One of my favorite characters in Falls the Shadow was Thomas Fitz Thomas, the Lord Mayor of London, who became one of Simon’s most steadfast allies, although he would pay a high price for his courage and devotion to his city; he was imprisoned for four years and his health suffered greatly during his captivity.
    And this next item is for my Polish friend Kasia, who is still resisting joining us on Facebook. On January 20th, 1320, Wladyslaw Lokietek was crowned King of Poland. He was quite short and Lokietek actually translates as “elbow high.” But I think he was a moral giant, for he sought to establish a uniform legal code that gave Jews equal rights with Christians, and this was 1320, people. So let’s pause to remember Wladyslaw, too, today.
    In non-medieval matters, go, San Francisco!

  109. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, thank you for mentioning King Władysław! I feel a little bit ashamed I haven’t done it myself :-) Despite his not very impressive height, he was a giant indeed. One of my favourite Polish monarchs, actually :-)

    As for Joan and Stephanie, I hope they will agree. Actually, I’ve been considering asking you to answer five short questions concerning Hal and Devil’s Brood ( in a form of a short interview for his birthday), but then thought you were too busy with Richard and with the deadline looming ahead. Don’t want to get into Richard’s way (apparently lack nerve to do this:-)).

  110. Stephanie Says:

    Kasia, I would love to have my review posted on your blog. How do we go about it? You can email me directly if you want, and we can chat about it. (notice the double “l”. It’s easy to overlook.)

  111. ken john Says:

    Well…At the time of this parliament, Henry III was in Simon’s power and the Lord Edward was a hostage. The orders that went out for a special parliament to ‘crown the victorious work so well begun at Lewes’ were issued in the king’s name ‘because of the fealty and affection’ they (the lords, bishops and the heads of the great military orders) were bound to display towards him. All had to meet at London on the Octave of St. Hilary, the 20th January 1265. In fact quite a few did not turn up and the king expressed his surprise (in particular) that the counties of Shropshire and Stafford had not sent their knights who had been summoned by the sheriff. (see, ‘Simon de Montfort, by Charles Bemont)
    That Henry still held some power was demonstrated on the 16 February when he forbade Simon de Montfort and his sons, Gilbert de Clare and others, to assemble at Dunstable for a tournament; he ordered them to come and discuss with him the setting at liberty of his son (Rymer).

  112. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Stephanie, thank you! Let’s wait for Joan tp see what she says, for there’s still a matter of Devil’s Brood review. I admit I would like it to go before Lionheart, for obvious reasons- more Hal :-) Perhaps you have already written about the second part of the trilogy as well?

    I will contact you via email as soon as I can. I’m a little bit busy in my children’s room at the moment :-)

  113. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon and Ken, thank you for the interesting info concerning Simon. The funny thing is that not knowing about today’s anniversary, I’ve been re-reading the passages of Falls the Shadow whole afternoon :-)

  114. Joan Says:

    Sharon & Ken, I always love reading anything on Simon de Montfort. And enjoyed hearing about your King Wladyslaw, Kasia…..a man way ahead of his time.

    Wow Kasia, I’m game. You’ll have a choice to make though, as the review I’m posting today on Amazon is quite different, but keeping the good stuff. I’m writing it as a relatively recent arrival in Sharon’s world & Britain’s MA……I think that’s important for anyone considering the leap. And hope it will snag some newcomers.

  115. Joan Says:

    Serendipity, yet again! I went to take a peek in Devil’s Brood at the point where Joanna sails for Sicily, picked up the book, rolled the page ends over my thumb & Voila, stopped at the very page! Not, if that would only work for the lottery ticket I just bought!!

  116. Joan Says:

    I meant “now”, not “not”.

  117. Stephanie Says:

    Kasia, there is no hurry. I am away from home until tomorrow anyway.

  118. Joan Says:

    Stephanie? Kasia? My review will be postponed for a few days because I need an account with Amazon before I can post. At least that’s what I understood. I must order something, then it’ll be 2 days before I can post. Does that sound right? Well, now is as good a time as any to start ordering books from Amazon!

  119. Stephanie Says:

    Joan, I am pretty sure you don’t need to order anything in order to have an account for posting reviews, etc. When you go to the “sign in” page, you can select “new customer” and it will allow you to set up your account regardless of whether or not you order anything. Unless I misunderstanding what you are saying and that you are planning to order something anyway… (don’t let me dissuade you)

  120. Joan Says:

    Thanks for the reply Stephanie. I did set up an acct & ordered something. Still have a 48 hr wait after “something or other”. (Yay, 3 DVD’s I’ve been wanting!) The message said “order required before you can post your review” & would not budge after I’d set up my very short profile, so unless it’s changed recently or I veered into strange territory (which wouldn’t surprise me….my son tells me I’m tech-challenged. Correction, he used to tell me that, but since I got my Apple & took charge, he’s proud of his mama!) It should be smooth sailing in a couple days. And I’m so excited to post it!

  121. Stephanie Says:

    Huh… Learned something new. I guess I’ve been using Amazon for so long I’ve forgotten all of that!

  122. skpenman Says:

    I really appreciate you guys going to so much trouble to post reviews of my books.

    I was supposed to abduct the Duchess of Brittany yesterday, but instead I watched football. (Go, San Francisco!) And January 21st is a slow medieval history day. But here is an amusing story of the power of Facebook. Two young sisters in MA wanted a puppy and their father told them that if they could get a million likes on Facebook, he’d agree. Bad move, Dad. Their appeal went viral and they collected a million likes in six hours! So a happy ending for kids and their new puppy and great publicity for the rescue group.
    Parents of pet-loving children should keep this in mind.

  123. Joan Says:

    No trouble Sharon, it’s fun! And I have 3 great DVD’s on the way!

    Just watched the inauguration & loved every minute of it. Great man, beautiful family, loved him winking at his daughters. Powerful musical pieces, James Taylor a bonus. But it’s Richard Blanco who blew my mind. Have to find that on youtube or at least the poem itself. Was scanning the crowd for my daughter & her hubby…they were there 4 years ago & again today with the wonderful friends they made while living & working there for almost 4 years.

    What a great picture of the family with their new pet! I wish my granddaughters could get a puppy, but too many allergies in the family. They adore animals & knowing Chloe, who feels it’s her mission to free dragonflies from cobwebs whenever she’s at the lake, & Leila, who is sensitive to anyone’s pain, it would be a rescue pup for them. Not fair!

  124. Joan Says:

    Stephanie & Koby, have you seen SNL’s Hobbit parody? Youtube….18 Hobbit Films Parody–SNL. Ridiculously funny!

  125. Stephanie Says:

    I have not, Joan, but will definitely look for it. I’m a huge Tolkien fan.

  126. Stephanie Says:

    Here is the parody:

  127. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Stephanie and Joan, I’ve been thiniking that perhaps we should make your reviews of Lionheart into a “joint” post, with the intro as follows: Sharon Kay Penman’s story of Henry the Young King’s illustrious younger brother seen from two different points of view (if you spot any mistakes feel free to correct me guys, I will appreciate :-)) or something in that vein, and simply divide it into two parts. What do you think? Let me know, please.

    P.S. Any suggestions as for the title? It’s going to include ‘A guest post by Joan… (here your surname, Joan) and Stephanie Ling’, of course.

  128. skpenman Says:

    Joan, maybe your granddaughters would be okay with a dog that has less dander. This is why the Obamas chose Beau, a Portuguese Water Dog as Malia has allergies. Poodles in particular might be a good choice; often people with allergies are fine with them.
    I am very pleased that three of my favorite people are going to collaborate on a review for Hal’s blog! Thank you, Kasia, Stephanie, and Joan. (Hope it doesn’t upset Hal too much)
    Today’s Facebook Note.

    Well, I succeeded in my abduction of the very irate Duchess of Brittany and am now planning yet more bloodshed in Normandy. I’ve noticed that it can be therapeutic to kill characters off sometimes. Or maybe I’ve just been hanging around with Coeur de Lion too long?
    Nothing much of importance to report today, unless we stray into Tudor terrain. On January 22, 1552, Edward Seymour, eldest brother of Jane Seymour, was beheaded in the Tower between 8 and 9 AM, as his nephew, the young Edward VI, dispassionately jotted down in his chronicle. This was becoming a family tradition, for just three years earlier, Edward’s younger brother, Thomas, was beheaded after attempting to seduce the thirteen year old princess Elizabeth.

  129. Joan Says:

    Sharon, I wish I had such an outlet for the days I’d like to wring someone or other’s neck! I have to settle for a brisk walk!

    I think my daughter has considered all the options on dogs with less dander. She has allergies but it’s her husband’s asthma that’s the bigger problem. But some little pup out there is missing 2 loving kids. They were able to have a hamster, & wouldn’t you know it…..the day they went to choose their pet (from someone they knew), the girls opted for the little red-eyed albino, knowing he wouldn’t live as long as the others, but thinking maybe he’d need a bit more love. He did manage to live for 2 years.

    Kasia, I’ll let you know when Amazon allows me to post, then you can read that review. Should be in the next couple of days….after the shipment order is emailed to me, I think. Your plot thickens!

  130. Donna Says:

    In response to your blog about book covers, I just want to say I love the covers of your books. The illustrations are appropriate to the time period of your novels. I have a real dislike of other, very wonderful, historical fiction’s use of costume clad ladies (usually without a head. What’s up with that?), plastered on the front cover,making the content of the book appear as fluff or “bodice ripper.”I almost feel the need t o cover the cover, so to speak, when reading in public, so not to appear as a fluff reader. I hope you continue to use covers that speak to the content of the book,as you are one of the very few authors who provide your readers with a book that looks as intelligent as it is.

  131. skpenman Says:

    I think the use of headless women is bizarre, too, Donna. I’ve been told by fellow writers, though, that their sales increased after they went down that road. Puzzling. I’m just glad none of my publishers wanted to go in that direction.

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    On January 23rd, 1264, the King of France lit a fuse that would set off an explosion in England. Simon de Montfort and his fellow barons had compelled Henry, the English king, to accept restrictions upon royal power in the Provisions of Oxford, which they saw as a natural corollary of the Magna Carta. When civil war loomed, both sides agreed to submit to the arbitration of the French King, Louis, who was also Henry’s brother-in-law. Simon was unable to attend, having broken his leg in a fall from his horse, and he was recuperating at Kenilworth Castle when he got the decision. Louis had ruled against the barons and in favor of his fellow king on all counts, even annulling the Provisions of Oxford although this went well beyond the scope of his authority. The Mise of Amiens was so one-sided that it made rebellion all but inevitable and four months later, the king’s army would meet Simon de Montfort and the barons on the battlefield at Lewes.
    I dramatize this event in Chapter 29 of Falls the Shadow. Here is the closing scene of that chapter, on page 395, after Simon has gotten the bad news and asks for a moment alone with his wife, Nell, who was, of course, the sister of the English king.
    * * *
    Dusk was fast falling; the last of the candles had guttered out and only a hearth fire now held the dark at bay. “Shall I send for a cresset lamp?” Nell asked, and Simon shook his head, held out his hand. She came slowly from the shadows, sat beside him on the bed. Taking her hand, he brought it to his lips, pressed a kiss into her palm. After a time, he said:
    “Henry may be God’s greatest fool, but he is still your brother. And Richard…he will likely oppose us, too, Nell.”
    “I know,” she said softly. She’d never truly thought it would ever come to this, never thought the day might dawn when her husband and sons would face her brothers and nephews across a battlefield. She shared Simon’s confidence, but not his darker moods. Hers was a world of sunrises, not sunsets, a world in which hope flourished and faith was rewarded, and she clung to that comforting certainty all the more now that her need was so great.
    “I trust in you, Simon,” she said, “and I trust in god. Whatever happens, it will be for the best, for us and for England.”
    * * *

  132. Stephanie Says:

    Ha, Donna! I am the same way about wanting to cover the book cover if I am reading something with a headless woman on the cover. Only serious historical fiction here, thank you very much!

  133. skpenman Says:

    I’m escaping from Le Mans reluctantly–for it was a hot August day there–to report that on January 24, 1328, Edward III, age 16, wed the 14 year old Philippa of Hainault, though I believe there is some uncertainty about her actual birth date and she could have been younger. They would have 13 children and the marriage seems to have been a happy one, despite his notorious affair with Alice de Perrers.
    Here is an amazing story sure to bring smiles to faces–even for those of you, like me, who have been transported to Little Antarctica by this recent cold siege. A diver was approached for help by a dolphin in trouble. He removed a fishhook and cut away fishing line from its fin–and it was all caught on video!

  134. skpenman Says:

    Here is my Facebook post about a dog in dire need of a home, either temporary or permanent. I wish I could post his photo here; he is a beautiful black and tan shepherd.

    This is such a sad story. Doc is a ten year old neutered, male German shepherd, who is in good health for his age; he has dry eye, which affects his vision somewhat, but no other problems. He is housebroken, affectionate, and acts much younger than his years. He is protective of his home and family as shepherds are, and as you can see from the photo, he is a big boy and a beautiful one. He is very good with other dogs, no experience with cats. He was a rescue, adopted by his family in 2006 after spending his first years in a kennel. His family lost their home to Hurricane Sandy and have to move into an apartment. Their new landlord had said two dogs would be allowed—they also have a sixteen year old Australian shepherd. But the landlord has now changed his mind and they need to find a home for Doc by January 31st.
    They are heartbroken at having to give him up and desperate as time is running out. They live in New Hope, PA, about thirty minutes from Philadelphia. This is tragic on so many levels. These people lost their home and now they are losing their dog and are frantic to find him a refuge, either permanent or temporary. I can’t take him, having injured my back again; at this stage of my life, given my back problems, I am not up to having a large shepherd again. I am hoping that some of my readers might know someone who’d be interested in adopting Doc or in fostering him until he can find a permanent home. He had an unhappy life before his current owners adopted him, kept in a kennel. But once he had his own family, he blossomed, as most rescue dogs do. His owners are distraught; giving up a beloved pet can be traumatic, as I am sure many of you know. Will all of my fellow animal lovers please post this wherever you think it will do the most good? If enough people learn about Doc’s plight, maybe someone can come to his rescue. You can contact Roseann at if you think you can help.

  135. Koby Says:

    Today, Anne Bloeyn and Henry VIII [IX] married in London. And tomorrow will be Tu b’Shvat, the Jewish celebration of trees.

  136. skpenman Says:

    I think it is a wonderful idea to celebrate trees, Koby. Good to have you back, too!

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    I’d like to thank all of you who expressed sympathy for the plight of Doc, the shepherd victim of Hurricane Sandy in desperate need of a home. There are a few glimmers of hope on his horizon, and I will be sure to share whatever I learn.
    Anyone contemplating January 25th for a wedding might want to think twice, for this date has a rocky track record. On this day in 1308, Edward II wed Isabella, daughter of the King of France; there has been some uncertainty about her birth date but historians now believe it was in late 1295, so she was twelve at the time. Many royal marriages did not end well, but few imploded as spectacularly as theirs did. At least not until the sixteenth century, when Henry VIII secretly wed Anne Boleyn on January 25th, 1533. He proclaimed her the love of his life and broke with the Church of Rome in order to have her. Three years later, of course, she would die on Tower Green at his command.

  137. Joan Says:

    Sharon, I loved the dolphin story. I’ll never forget the spinner dolphins that “danced’ for us for half an hour in Hawaii. While surrounded by humpbacks!

    Koby, thanks for the post. I celebrate trees too….they’re very wise. My son, nieces & nephews planted trees in BC for several seasons running, sometimes being airlifted into the remoter parts. He loved the whole subculture around it & it was a good “Iron John” experience, bears and all (a mom’s shudder). This next is a metaphor, but thought I’d post it too, a fave of mine.

    In the film, “Before Night Falls” about the Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas…..

    ……the movie begins with this powerful metaphor, narrated by the poet. The camera is on the tall forest trees looking upward toward the sky……..”trees have a secret life—that is only revealed to those who are willing to climb them.”

  138. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Poor Doc! What he must have been through! It seems all too much for one poor dog. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for him!

    As for Isabella, Edward II’s queen I highly recommend the article baout her and her ancestors on Kathryn Warner’s brilliant blog. Very informative and fascinating reading.

  139. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Joan, take your time with the review. No pressure :-) Just let me know when it appears on Amazon and will work out the details (we all have to think about the proper title :-)).

  140. Joan Says:

    Kasia, they finally allowed me to write the review, which I did yesterday but now I have to wait another 48 hrs to see if it’s approved! Do they really read every review on every product, or maybe random picks? I’ll let you know. I’m off to Kathryn Warner’s blog now, & Isabella.

  141. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    I highly recommend Kathryn Warner’s blog, too, Kasia.

    Here is today’s Facebook Note.

    The only event of medieval note happened on January 26th, 1340, when Edward III claimed the French throne. The history of this claim is so murky and convoluted that I don’t feel up to dealing with it so early in the morning, so I’ll leave it to the curious to Google it. It was one of those happenings that I’d like to go back in time and change if I could, though, for it launched the One Hundred Years War and caused deaths and suffering beyond counting.
    I hope everyone under assault by this arctic blast is staying warm and safe. It has been so cold here that I half-expect to see polar bears strolling down my street. Thank God for central heating; my hearts go out to all those frozen souls who had to depend upon fireplaces to keep from freezing down through the centuries.
    Below is a link to an interesting article about the names that parents are now choosing for their children. You’ll be surprised (or maybe not) to see how the list has changed over the years; fifty years ago, there were no Aidens, no Madisons, no Brittanys. But the two names currently atop the list would have been approved by our grandparents—Jacob and Sophie. There are some countries where parents are not permitted to follow any whim in naming their children, and although I am a staunch supporter of the First Amendment, I can see their point. What is more personal than a name? And it’s been proven that names influence our impression of a person. Just think of the names that celebrities have foisted upon their innocent little babies. You think Nicholas Cage’s son will one day thank him for being named Kal-al after Superman’s dad? Calling a baby Tiffany Trump skirts close to child abuse IMHO. Would any of you want to go through life named Banjo, Sparrow, Rocket, Apple, Zuma, or Heavenly Hiraani Tiger? The list is—sadly—endless. But surely the worst is the one Bob Geldorf burdened his daughter with—Fifi Trixibelle; I wouldn’t even name a poodle that. The champ, though, has to be Frank Zappa, who named three of his children Dweezel, Diva Muffin, and Moon Unit. Shouldn’t there have been a law against that? Or a statute to stop the parents who wanted to name their baby “Like” after the Facebook option? The only thing to be said in favor of such creativity is that future historical novelists will be spared the ordeal that I face on a daily basis—trying to sort out the multitude of Edwards, Henrys, Richards, and Eleanors in my books.

  142. Joan Says:

    What a hilarious post, Sharon. I’m in stitches. And when I saw the name “Moon Unit” I had to include this for anyone who loves Brits at the thing they do best & has the patience for it. On youtube…….”David Mitchell’s Soapbox….naming your child”. I cracked up first time I saw it & haven’t tired of it yet.

    It occurred to me that it’s a good thing long names weren’t in style when the Dick & Jane books came out. Can’t you just see it……

    See Maximillion run
    Run Maximillion, run
    Look Alexandria, look
    See Baby Wilhelmina
    See Baby Wilhelmina watch Maximillion run

  143. Koby Says:

    Very interesting, Sharon. I suppose it is easier in Hebrew, when all the names have already been used in the Bible, or use words that have meaning.

    Today, Constance of Sicily married Heinrich VI Hohenstaufen, who would be Holy Roman Emperor after his father, Frederick I Barbarossa. We all know the results of this marriage on Sicily thanks to Lionheart, and of course, their son was Frederick II ‘Stupor Mundi’, of who’s birth Sharon has written.

  144. skpenman Says:

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    On January 27th, 1186, Constance de Hauteville, aunt of the Sicilian king William II, was wed to Heinrich von Hohenstaufen, King of Germany, and heir to the Holy Roman Empire. She was thirty-one, he was twenty, and I think we can safely say that theirs was not a happy marriage. Heinrich was well educated, fluent in Latin, a poet like his enemy, the English king Richard, and very intelligent. He was also a sociopath. Wives of sociopaths rarely lived happily ever after. But Constance was a remarkable woman, courageous and resourceful. The more I learned about her, the more I found myself wanting to write about her, for her life was filled with incredible drama. I did not expect to do it, though. But then I was asked to write a short story for George R.R. Martin and Gardner Debois’s anthology, Dangerous Woman. Once I stopped laughing at the idea of me doing a short story, I started to give it serious consideration, and the result was The Queen in Exile. Constance appeared briefly in Lionheart and she has several scenes in A King’s Ransom. I was very pleased to have this opportunity to give her more time on center-stage. We’ve been waiting for George to complete his story, a novella, actually, and it has now gone to the publisher. Here is a link to read what George has to say about it. He has involved some very gifted writers and I am looking forward to reading their contributions. And of course, as a huge fan of the Ice and Fire series, I know I will turn to his story first!

  145. Joan Says:

    I can hardly wait to get my hands on this anthology….very very exciting! And my interest in Constance was also roused in Lionheart. Re Heinrich, I’m always baffled by those strange personalities that have cruelty & poetry living in the same body. But that’s the sociopath, very dangerous, nature’s human chameleon.

  146. skpenman Says:

    I totally agree, Joan; they are very scary people, for they lack empathy.

    Here is a post I just put up on Facebook about an Echo dog being driven to his new foster home. Of course three of my favorite people on my blog are all too far away to help–Joan in Canada, Kasia in Poland, and Koby in Israel! But I’ll post it here anyway in case there are animal lovers in Emmett’s path.

    Echo White Shepherd Rescue is doing another rescue run, sending a young shepherd, Emmett, from Georgia to his foster home in Allentown, PA. I know some of my dog-loving readers have volunteered to do this when an Echo dog is passing near them, so I am posting this in case anyone is interested in driving Emmett for an hour or so next weekend. Emmett will be traveling through GA, SC, NC, VA, MD, and PA. I’m sure a lot of you remember following Tristan’s pilgrimage to me from FLA back in March, 2011; I posted about his progress on Facebook and my friend Glenne said it was like passing the Olympic Torch. If any of you think you can help, you can contact the Echo transport coordinator, Amy Lusty at or you can let me know and I’ll pass it on. I’ll see if I can’t post a photo of him, too. He is a handsome boy, but painfully thin—just like Tristan was back then.
    Dog Name: Emmett
    Breeds, weight, age: White German Shepherd, 65 pounds, 1.5 yrs old
    Health Condition: Healthy to travel, but pretty thin
    Heart worm Status: Negative
    Vaccinations: Up to Date
    Health Certificate: Yes
    Spay/Neutered: Yes
    Special needs: No
    Name of Sending Rescue/Parties: Local shelter, Dacula GA
    Name of Receiving Rescue/Parties: Echo Dogs White Shepherd Rescue
    Foster Home Receiving: Cheryl Terranova


    Run Information
    Saturday, February 2nd

    Leg 1 - Ground
    Dacula GA to Lavonia GA
    60 miles, 1 hour 5 min
    Leave: 8:00 am
    Arrive: 9:05 am
    *** Needed ***

    Meeting Spot: McDonald’s, 13786 Jones Street, Lavonia, GA 30553

    Leg 2 - Ground
    Lavonia GA to Greenville SC
    58 miles, 55 min
    Leave: 9:20 am
    Arrive: 10:15 am
    *** Needed ***

    Meeting Spot Greenville: Cosco Gas Station, 1021 Woodruff Road, Greenville, SC 29607

    Leg 3 – Ground
    Greenville SC to Gastonia, NC
    74 miles, 1 hour 10 min
    Leave: 9:35 am
    Arrive: 10:45 am
    *** Needed ***

    Meeting Spot: Pancake House, 1700 North Chester Street, Gastonia, NC 28052

    Leg 4: Ground
    Gastonia NC to Union Grove NC
    71 miles, 1 hour 10 min
    Leave: 11:00 am
    Arrive: 12:10 pm
    *** Needed ***

    Meeting Spot: Burger Barn, 1431 West Memorial Highway, Union Grove, NC 28689

    Leg 5: Ground
    Union Grove NC to Max Meadows VA
    70 miles, 1 hour 5 min
    Leave 12:25 pm
    Arrive 1:30 pm
    *** Needed ***

    Meeting Spot: Kangaroo Express (Gas station) 152 Major Grahams Rd., Max Meadows, VA

    Leg 6: Ground
    Max Meadows VA to Roanoke VA
    67 miles, 1 hour 10 min
    Leave: 1:45 pm
    Arrive: 2:55 pm
    *** Needed ***

    Meeting Spot: McDonald’s, 8115 Plantation Road, Roanoke, VA 24019

    Leg 7: Ground
    Roanoke VA to Staunton VA
    80 miles, 1 hour 10 min
    Leave 3:10 pm
    Arrive: 4:20 pm
    *** Needed ***

    Meeting Spot: Days Inn, 273 Bells Lane, Staunton, VA 24401

    Leg 8: Ground
    Staunton VA to Strasburg VA
    72 miles, 1 hour 5 min
    Leave 4:35 pm
    Arrive: 5:40 pm
    *** Needed ***

    Meeting Spot: Sullivan’s Country House Antiques, 1395 John Marshall Highway, Strasburg, VA 22657

    Overnight: Strasburg VA
    *** Needed ***

    Resume Sunday Feb 3rd

    Leg 9: Ground
    Strasburg VA to Hagerstown MD
    62 miles, 1 hour
    Leave: 9:00 am
    Arrive: 10:00 am
    *** Needed ***

    Meeting Spot: McDonald’s, 17601 Garland Groh Boulevard, Hagerstown, MD 21740

    Leg 10: Ground
    Hagerstown MD to Carlisle PA
    59 miles, 1 hour
    Leave: 10:15 am
    Arrive: 11:15 am
    *** Needed ***

    Meeting Spot: Bob Evans, 1400 Harrisburg Pike, Carlisle, PA 17015

    Leg 11: Ground
    Carlisle PA to Hamburg PA
    67 miles, 1 hour 5 min
    Leave: 11:30 am
    Arrive: 12:35 pm
    *** Needed ***

    Meeting Spot: Cracker Barrel, 21 Industrial Drive, Hamburg, PA 19526

    Leg 12: Ground
    Hamburg PA to Allentown PA
    27 miles, 25 min
    Leave: 12:50 pm
    Arrive: 1:15 pm
    *** Needed ***

    End – Foster home in Allentown

  147. skpenman Says:

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    On January 28, 1316, a Welsh nobleman, Llywelyn Bren, rebelled against Edward II. His revolt was short lived; he was forced to surrender two months later, winning respect by asking that he alone be punished and his men be spared. He was taken to the Tower of London and his captors, the Earl of Hereford and Roger Mortimer, urged Edward to pardon him. But two years later, he became the prisoner of Edward’s ruthless favorite, Hugh the younger Despenser. Hugh took him to Cardiff and there had him hanged, drawn, and quartered without benefit of trial; he also arrested Llywelyn’s wife and sons. This unlawful act aroused much resentment and was one of the grievances charged against Hugh when his own downfall came and he met the fate he so richly deserved, the same one he’d inflicted upon Llywelyn Bren. After Edward was deposed, Llywelyn’s sons were allowed to inherit his lands and the Earl of Hereford continued to give their mother a pension until her death.
    In other happenings, Charlemagne died on this date in 814, and we have to give those ubiquitous Tudors a shout-out, I guess. Henry Tudor was born on January 28th, 1457 and his son, Henry VIII, died on the same date in 1547.

  148. Koby Says:

    Very interesting, Sharon. Of course, but doing so, Henry VIII [IX] made his son Edward the first protestant monarch of England.
    Speaking of religion, then, I’d like to note that today, Henry Iv, Holy Roman Emperor, was finally allowed entry into Canossa and his excommunication was lifted. This is notable not just because it was first concrete triumph of the the Holy See against the Holy Roman Emperors, but also because a woman made it all possible, Matilda Countess of Tuscany, who supported the Pope and protected him from Henry’s aggression by bringing him to Canossa.

  149. Koby Says:

    And though this is not of our period, I feel it should be mentioned, if only because Sharon would: Charles I was beheaded today, and Oliver Cromwell was ritually executed, two years after his death.

  150. Stephanie Says:

    Interesting about Cromwell, Koby. I didn’t know that.

  151. skpenman Says:

    I didn’t, either, Stephanie. But my knowledge of non-medieval history is admittedly sketchy.

    Today’s belated Facebook Note.

    I am sorry for the disappearance, but the next month is going to be very challenging for me. Even with my publisher’s generous extension, I cannot afford to slack off even for a day if I want to do my best by Ransom and to meet that deadline. And I am about to be hit by the perfect storm, if you’ll forgive me for relying upon that overdone but evocative descriptive phrase. While continuing to work on Ransom, I have to get my income tax records ready for my accountant, a time-consuming task I consider penance for my sins, and I also will have to go over the 1000 page galley proofs for Sunne, which will be having its British rebirth in hardback form come September. And those are just the highlights of my month. I will try to surface for air whenever I can, but I hope you all will understand if I am not on Facebook as frequently as in the past, and carry on without me.
    I missed two significant Angevin events yesterday, so I’d like to catch up now. On January 30, 1164, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, yielded under intense pressure by the outraged English king, and agreed to accept Henry’s Constitutions of Clarendon, which attempted to give the Crown a greater say in the punishment of priests accused of crimes. But this was merely a brief truce in the war between the archbishop and the king, for Becket had no intention of giving in, telling his fellow bishops that he would take the oath Henry demanded, then purge the sin of perjury by penance.
    Meanwhile in Rouen, Henry’s youngest brother, William died on that same day. He was only twenty-seven and many blamed Becket for his sudden, unexpected death, for William had been devastated by the archbishop’s refusal to grant a dispensation for William’s proposed marriage to the great heiress, Isabelle de Warenne; Henry’s supporters believed that Becket had denied William the marriage he wanted as a means of getting back at Henry. One of Becket’s assassins would shout “For my Lord William!” as he struck a blow. As for Henry, there is no doubt that the death of his brother added yet another drop of bitterness to the already toxic feud between these former friends.

  152. ken john Says:

    I can sympathise on the tax front Sharon. In my long career, I worked for UK, German and French employers, each with their own unique tax/pension arrangements. I have to pay my UK ‘World Wide’ tax dues on or before the 31st January of each year and each time it involves, not only complex calculations, but the gathering of all the necessary records. I am quite good with my filings etc. but there is ALWAYS something missing..! Got the ****** thing in yesterday with one day to spare..!

  153. skpenman Says:

    My deepest sympathies, Ken. Mine are always complicated because of my British connection. It invariably takes me a few weeks to get everything ready for my accountant and I can no more spare a few weeks right now than I can fly to the moon and back. BTW, how are things with Othon? Did he happen to be in Outremer in 1291 when Acre fell to the Turks?

    Today’s Facebook page.

    A quick escape from Deadline Doomland to report that on February 1st, 1327, Edward III was crowned King of England; he was only 14 and the government remained in the hands of his mother, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer. Jumping forward a few centuries, on February 1st, 1587, a conflicted Elizabeth I finally signed the death warrant for her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots. And on a much happier, albeit non-medieval, occasion, Abraham Lincoln signed the Thirteenth Amendment on February 1st, 1865 after it had been approved by the House and the Senate, and then sent it to the states for ratification. It would eventually be ratified by the requisite number of states in December of 1865. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States, completing what had begun with Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. This is covered in Steven Spielberg’s powerful film, Lincoln.

  154. skpenman Says:

    Today’s Facebook Note

    I am making another quick foray out of Deadline Doomland. (I’m glad so many liked that phrase!) Too much happening on this date to ignore. February 2nd was an important day on the medieval Church calendar—Candlemas. And this date resonated in several of my novels. February 2nd, 1141 was the battle of Lincoln, in which Stephen was defeated and taken prisoner by Robert, the Earl of Gloucester, on behalf of his sister, the Empress Maude. At the risk of seeming blood-thirsty, I like writing of battles and this was a good one, filled with high drama and suspense. February 2nd was also the date of an important Yorkist battle, at Mortimer’s Cross in 1461. Edward, who’d become Duke of York and head of his fractured family upon the death of his father at the battle of Wakefield barely a month ago, was trying to prevent Owen Tudor and reinforcements coming out of Wales from joining the Lancastrians, and he forced a battle not far from Wigmore. Even before the fighting began, he faced a challenge when a parhelion appeared in the sky, a phenomenon that made it look as if there were three suns overhead. Naturally this frightened his soldiers, but the quick-witted Edward cried out that the suns represented the Holy Trinity and was an omen of victory; he would later adopt this as his cognizance, the Sunne in Splendour. Having staved off disaster, he then proceeded to defeat the Lancastrians, captured Owen Tudor, and had him executed—not surprising, since the heads of his father and brother and uncle were even then on poles above Micklegate Bar in York. Edward then went on to receive a hero’s welcome by the city of London and shattered the Lancastrian hopes in a savage battle fought in a snowstorm at Towton on Palm Sunday. What is truly remarkable is that Edward was not yet nineteen years old.
    I thought of Edward’s parhelion when I was reading a chronicler’s account of the building of Richard I’s beloved “saucy castle, “ Chateau Gaillard. I was familiar with the exchange between the kings over Chateau Gaillard. Philippe, fuming at seeing this formidable stronghold rising up on the Vexin border, vowed that he would take it if its walls were made of steel. When he was told this, Richard laughed and said he’d hold it if its walls were made of butter. But there is another story about Gaillard not as well known. In the spring of 1198, Richard was personally supervising the construction, as he often did, when a shower of blood suddenly fell from the skies. Naturally, this freaked out everyone—everyone but Richard. The chronicler reported that “The king was not dismayed at this, nor did he relax in promoting the work in which he took so great delight.” Now I confess my first reaction to this story was an uncharitable one, wondering if the chronicler, William of Newburgh, had been hitting the wine when he wrote this. Shower of rain and blood? But when I googled it, I discovered that red rain has indeed fallen at various times, and there were even some unsettling photos of a red rain in India that really did look like blood. Clearly strong-willed men like Richard and Edward were not as superstitious as their brethren.
    For me, though, February 2nd has another, sadder meaning, for on this date in 1237, Joanna, daughter of King John and wife of Llywelyn Fawr, died at Aber and was buried at Llanfaes, where her grieving husband established a friary in honor of her memory. Below is that scene from Falls the Shadow, page 26
    * * *
    Joanna closed her eyes, tears squeezing through her lashes. So much she wanted to stay, but she had not the strength. “Beloved…promise me…”
    Llywelyn stiffened. She’d fought so hard to gain the crown for their son. Did she mean to bind him now with a deathbed bow? He waited, dreading what she would ask of him, to safeguard the succession for Davydd. Knowing there was but one certain way to do that—to cage Gruddydd again. And how could he do that to his son? How could he condemn him to a life shut away from the sun? But how could he deny Joanna? Could he let her go to her grave without that comfort?
    “Llywelyn…pray for me,” she gasped, and only then did he fully accept it, that she was indeed dying, was already lost to him, beyond earthly cares, worldly ambitions.
    “I will, Joanna.” He swallowed with difficulty, brought her hand up, pressing her lips against her palm. “You will have my every prayer.”
    “Bury me at…at Llanfaes…”
    His head jerked up. He had an island manor at Llanfaes; it was there that Joanna had been confined after he had discovered her infidelity. “Why, Joanna? Why Llanfaes?”
    Her mouth curved upward. “Because…I was so happy there. You came to me, forgave me…”
    “Oh, Christ, Joanna…” His voice broke; he pulled her into an anguished embrace, held her close.
    * * *

  155. Joan Says:

    You did it again Sharon, sending us back in time, all teary-eyed. It’s those last words that kill me….”Oh, Christ, Joanna….” Llywelyn & Joanna are one of my favorite couples of all time.

    Stephanie, any ideas on why my review hasn’t appeared on Amazon yet? There are longer ones than mine so that can’t be it. And I’ve heard that there’s no point wasting time trying to get in touch with them.

  156. Stephanie Says:

    Joan, I agree about the those last words. Those are the ones that catch the hardest!

    As to your review, I have no idea! If you look in your profile somewhere you can see all of your reviews. Maybe it will give a status there?

  157. Koby Says:

    That was beautiful, Sharon. Of all your death scenes, I think that was the one that touched me the most. It was no glorious battle, just two people parting from each other with the memory of the time they found each other again, and hoping to meet again in the next world.

    Today, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lanacaster died, and Bartolomeu Dias landed in Mossel Bay, the first European to do so, having rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and discovered the first sea route to India.

  158. skpenman Says:

    I was wondering why they were still holding your review hostage, too, Joan. Maybe you could just start from scratch and resubmit it? Or would that break some sacred Amazon commandment?
    Joan and Stephanie and Koby, thank you so much for your praise of Joanna’s death scene, not an easy scene to write, as you’d expect.

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    On February 3rd, 1399, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, uncle of Richard II, lover and then husband of Katherine Swynford, father of the first Lancastrian king, Henry IV, died at Lancaster Castle just a month shy of his 59th birthday. I’d once given serious consideration to doing a novel about John, but reluctantly concluded that his life did not lend itself well to a fictional treatment; he was easier to write as a supporting character as Anya Seton did in her classic Katherine.
    Tomorrow is the big day for those who love history, the House of York, or just enjoy a good mystery, when the results of the DNA testing will be held. I’ve never had the slightest doubt that they found Richard. For any who prefer to let the suspense drag out till tomorrow, don’t read this article in the Daily Mail.
    Lastly, go San Francisco!!!

  159. Joan Says:

    Sharon, I’m thinking of resubmitting. Yes, they seem to have many commandments. Companies that become not only institutions but cultures! (Mind you, I did get to watch the 2005 Pride & Prej….for 5 bucks…last night because of them….such a gorgeous film). I checked my profile, Stephanie, & the order isn’t even recognized yet. I’ll give it another few days & blare the trumpets if it appears.

    Koby, what beautiful words! You expressed the essence of this touching scene.

    And thanks for posting the above, Sharon. Very exciting! I really do hope that we will someday see Richard Armitage in that role. Interestingly, he comes from Leicester! And he was named after Richard III.

  160. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Hi, everyone! Forgive me my prolonging silence but I had to spend a few days in hospital due to the minor surgery. Fortunately nothing serious and I’m glad to be back with you again. So many Sharon’s fascinating posts to read and the big day concerning Richard! I can see I’m going to be quite busy these days :-)

  161. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Joan and Stephanie (especially Joan :-)), what about our post? :-) I’m going to have my own concerning Hal’s queen, Marguerite ready for Wednesday. If you don’t mind I will post the text and our joint review will follow in a couple of days when Joan is ready. What do you think?

  162. skpenman Says:

    Welcome back, Kasia!

    Today’s Facebook Note, about a certain dead medieval king.

    I slept well last night, never doubting that I would arise this morning to hear the DNA results had confirmed what all Ricardians knew—that Richard III’s lost grave had been found. It will be fascinating to see the reconstruction done from his skull, too. I am sorry his reburial in Leicester Cathedral won’t occur in time for our Richard III tour in September, and there is a lingering regret that he cannot be buried in his beloved York, in the city that courageously mourned his death in the city records. But Leicester made this happen, so there is a certain justice that Leicester Cathedral will be his final resting place. Now…..would it be too self-centered to hope that the news sends Sunne sales soaring like our hopes? Below is an American story about the discovery; we been posting only British media accounts ever since the news broke in September, mainly because the American press ignored it. But Richard made headlines today on both CNN and MSNBC, a good sign of things to come. The BBC link gives much more details, including his height—five feet, eight inches tall, and the gruesome fact that he suffered ten wounds.

  163. skpenman Says:

    Will wonders never cease? This article just appeared on CNN, which usually gives as much time to the Richard III Society as they do to the Flat Earth Society.

  164. Danielle Says:

    Going to start re-reading Sunne In Splendour today in honour of the news. Amost feel like putting on cotton gloves in order to treat that beloved old copy as gently as possible; I first read it decades ago on a holiday that included several days in lovely, lovely York. It will be retired (not gotten rid of) when the new edition appears. Can’t wait to see the new cover, by the way!

  165. Joan Says:

    Sharon, thank you for all the sites. The DNA research is so fascinating…..I’ll have to have a chat with my brother-in-law who’s a geneticist….I’m sure he’s been following the story. It really is shocking to see a spine afflicted with scoliosis…the actual bones, not just an Xray. Richard had good teeth, but it sounds like his diet was optimum for the times….we never know how many greens they ate, most likely few.

    Kasia, I had no idea you were laid up in hospital & happy to see you back & in good health. Re my review, do you want me to send it to you if it doesn’t appear on Amazon in the next few days? Then you can choose between it & the one I posted on the blog. Or just choose parts that would serve your purposes? I’m looking forward to your post on Marguerite…..I’m enjoying all of them.

  166. ken john Says:

    Sharon, A great day for us all. Let us now hope that we do him justice as an anointed king of England. I for one will want to be present at his re-interrment and hope it is not restricted to reserved seating for VIP’s.

    As for Othon, he has recently taken a back seat while I concentrated on my portraiture of my famile subsequent to my visit to Australia. I have re-started his story and plan to leave for France in March when I will go all out on it.

    He was not only ‘there’ at Acre, he played a major part. The ‘Osprey’ series features his exploits in ‘Acre 1291.’ During the siege by the Mamluks, Othon commanded the English contingent as ordered by Edward; while the French forces were commanded by Jean de Grailly, his fellow Savoyard. When Jean was wounded Othon took command of the eastern wall and ordered the Venetian ships to take the wounded on board, including Jean. He then fell back to the Templar HQ and finally escaped to Cyprus after the Master of the Templars was killed.

  167. Teka Lynn Says:

    Kasia, best wishes for your recovery.

    I was so thrilled when I read the confirmation of Richard’s body, that I actually clasped my hands and shouted “Deo gratias!” I’m not usually quite that medieval in my daily reactions. :D I do wish they’d decided on York as his final resting place, but I can understand the decision for Leicester (though “York” is easier to type!).

    In addition to the head wounds which probably caused his immediate death, the poor man suffered “humiliation wounds”. Butchers. May he rest in peace.

  168. Joan Says:

    I just saw some news on Turi King, head geneticist, & thought that you must be absolutely bursting with pride too Sharon. I think you should have a special invite to the ceremony. Lucky you Ken, if you do get there. To correct my typo, it’s my son-in-law who’s a geneticist. I agree, Teka Lynn, the poor man, & it’s very sad (not to mention jolting) to see the violence done to his body. (ergo, my little aside on less emotional matters such as good teeth & diet!) All in all, it gives one pause, doesn’t it?

  169. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Thank you, Sharon, Teka and Joan! I’m fine :-)

    It’s all so fascinating about Richard that I’ve been suffereing from permanent gooseflesh since yesterday :-) It seems (judging by the photo) that his back was pretty much deformed after all.
    Some time ago I had a heated argument over Richard with one of my friends which made me think that the real Richard must have been somewhere in the middle :-) then I read a brilliant article by the author David Pilling. And I liked his somehow balanced view (David, as he himself told me the other day, is a Lancastrian at heart, so I appreciate his impartiality). Here’s the link

  170. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Joan, do send your review. Here’s my address
    Thank you!

  171. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, could you free my comment? I’ve included a link to a brilliant text concerning Richard :-) Thank you in advance.

  172. ken john Says:

    I watched the Channel 4 documentary programme on Richard’s discovery on UK television and while it was fascinating, the somewhat over emotional Philippa Langley of the Richard III Society (and the covering of the box of bones with Richard’s standard in particular) detracted from the archaeology. The programme was also discussed on late night radio by archaeologist Win Scutt who shared some of the misgivings of how Channel 4 and the Richard III Society went about the task.
    He summarised some of the main points ‘proving’ it is indeed Richard:

    The historical evidence: that he was taken to Greyfriars and buried there, naked in a shallow, hastily dug grave - the head was at a slightly higher level, showing that the grave was not actually long enough.

    The skeleton: That of a male between 25 and 35 (Richard died age 32), showing severe adolescent scoliosis (started when he was probably aged 10), of slender build and being 5ft 8ins tall (probably taller if spine had been straighter), and showing injuries that could have been sustained in battle.

    He offered a suggestion for the apparently tied hands, being that the story goes that Richard’s naked body was thrown across a horse and paraded around the town before arriving at Greyfriars. To keep him on the horse, Richard’s hands would have been tied and a ‘girdle strap’ would have passed under the horse connected to his feet.

    On the DNA evidence Scutt then went on to say: “However, stating that the DNA matching has ‘proved’ that the body is that of Richard is possibly premature, as Anne and her descendants probably all had large families which can multiply each generation to a large number of people, including the people who went before Anne and who would have passed down the mitochrondial DNA from previous generations. So, there could be living lots of people with the same DNA.” He then added that tracing down with the Y chromosome would help clarify the situation.

    So, in summary he said that the wider archaeology community accepted that in all likelihood, giving all the evidence above, this is the body of Richard III. He regretted only that the team had been driven by commercial interests and had not subjected their results to Peer Reviews before going public.

    As he didn’t conclude his line of thought on the DNA results, I guess what he was trying to say (or what I was trying to understand he was saying) was that Michael Ibsen had been traced genealogically back to Richard and was therefore chosen to be the DNA donor match. However, many people alive today with the same DNA would not have a direct genealogical link back to Richard as their lines had been corrupted through the various generations.

    Am I talking nonsense? I’m more than happy to be put right.

  173. ken john Says:

    The above post was also posted on FB and received the following comment from Janet Dunne along with a link to the university of Leicester’s line of descent from Anne of York to Ibsen.

    Janet knows far more about human biology than I!

    “Ken, your spelling of ‘mitochondrial’ is correct. With DNA they deal with probabilities, not certainties. A lot of people around the time of Richard III would have shared Michael Ibsen’s and Richard III’s mtDNA as Cecily had 3 sisters and her mother, Joan Beaufort, had 2 half-sisters through her mother. The descendants through the female line of from any of these would have the same mtDNA as Richard III. As far as I am aware some research was done in Leicester to attempt to find descent in the female line from another of Joan Beaufort’s daughters, to corroborate what was found when Richard III’s mtDNA was checked against that of Michael Ibsen. I don’t know whether they were successful in establishing this.However only one of Cecily Neville’s 3 daughters - Anne - left a daughter who went on to have descendants, one of whom is Michael Ibsen.
    You can see Michael Ibsen’s descent from Anne of York on this page put up by the University of Leicester”

  174. ken john Says:

    Hi Sharon

    Will you let my above post and link in please?

  175. Stephanie Says:

    Hello everyone… Just checking in. I have just dug out of a pile of laundry, am swimming in a Lego infested living room, and am trying to keep my sanity amidst the sounds emanating from a rather exuberant 5 year old boy playing with said legos, but I finally made it to my computer and thought I’d say hello.

    Kasia, hope you are feeling better.

    Ken, thanks for that interesting post. Was this the one you copied over from Facebook? I admit that I have been quite overwhelmed by the plethora of information posted on Richard yesterday, so it was nice to see this succinct description of the channel 4 program.

  176. skpenman Says:

    I am delighted that Richard is getting the sort of attention in the British media that is usually reserved for Will and Kate. And to my surprise, Richard is making a splash in the American media, too, even the New York Times. I confess, though, that every time a story has been promoted about the “king in the car park,” I hold my breath, waiting for them to say something stupid. And they often do. But my local newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, ran a story today on the front page that will not cause Yorkists to shudder. To the contrary, it might have Tudor fans (there are such people, right?) gnashing their teeth.

  177. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, together with Joan and Stephanie we have finally ‘produced’ our joint review of Lionheart on Hal’s blog. We would be delighted if you could pay a visit to us there and see for yourself the fruit of our cooperation :-)

    Forgive me, but I have used the image of the British edition of Lionheart in the text. I wanted to ask your permission, but there was no time. From today till the end of the week I won’t have the access to the Internet, that’s why I wanted to post the review first thing in the morning. I hope I haven’t violated the law using it without asking your permission first?

  178. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, if you want me to remove the image I will do it. Hope I will be on time. Before I’m cut off from you all.

  179. skpenman Says:

    Kasia, I will visit Hal’s blog as soon as I can. I had bad news last night, the death of a dear friend, so things are a bit rocky today. I am quite happy with you using the British image, not to worry. I am looking forward to seeing it.

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