The Sunne in Splendour UK edition - onsale 9/12

This is the cover for the new hardcover edition of Sunne, which gets its rebirth in the UK on September 12th, thanks to my British publisher, Macmillan’s.  As an utterly neutral observer, I think it is spectacular.   Just to jog memories, it will include a new Author’s Note and I have made some changes to the dialogue as well as correcting some typographical errors that infiltrated the original hardback edition.   And Macmillan is issuing a new Sunne e-book to reflect these changes.


132 Responses to “The Sunne in Splendour UK edition - onsale 9/12”

  1. Owen Mayo Says:

    A spectacular cover. It will enhance even further the SPK lineup on my shelf. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy, duly signed on 17th September by our serene lady.

  2. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I do agree with Owen, Sharon! Beautiful cover! Next to US edition of Devil’s Brood (with the image from the Radegonde mural) and UK hardcover edition of Lionheart my favourite.

  3. Janine Morris Says:

    Me too Owen, and if dear Sharon would kindly sign it on 17th well that would really be the icing on the cake. See you then !

  4. skpenman Says:

    It will be my pleasure, Janine and Owen. I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

  5. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    17 august 1153 decided not only about the future of Henry the Young King’s father, the then Henry Fitz Empress, but also about Henry’s own future. On that day Henry the Young King’s brother William was born, the eldest child of Henry, future king of England and Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine and former queen of France. His much-anticipated arrival into this world could not have occurred at the more appropriate moment. The very same day Eleanor was struggling in labour, Eustace of Boulogne, heir to king Stephen, was struggling for breath after choking on a dish of eels, the battle he lost. The death of Stephen’s eldest son was used by the partisans of the Angevins and served as the living- or dead- proof that Stephen’s cause was the lost one. For the contemporaries it became obvious that God and the stars- as the chroniclers report- sided with Matilda’s lineage and the Empress’s eldest son, Henry was the Almighty’s favourite.

  6. skpenman Says:

    Very good post, Kasia, and it matches me–great minds think alike!

    August 17th 1153 was a very significant day on the Angevin calendar. King Stephen’s eldest son and heir, Eustace, died suddenly at Ipswich, apparently choking on a dish of eels. He had just plundered the abbey at Bury St Edmunds and men were quick to conclude God had punished him for his impiety. His death was probably a good thing for England, but it was a sorrow to Stephen, for fathers love even greatly flawed sons. Eustace’s death seems to have taken the heart out of Stephen’s fight for the crown and it was not long before he came to terms with the young challenger, Henry Fitz Empress, agreeing to name Henry as his heir. He could conceivably have lived for another decade or so, but Henry’s Angevin luck held true and Stephen died in October, 1154. A month later, Henry was—at twenty-one—King of England.
    Another event happened on August 17, 1153 besides Eustace’s unexpected death. Back in Aquitaine, Eleanor gave birth to a son, whom she named William. You may be sure that people noted the contrast—that Stephen lost his heir on the very same day that Henry gained one. The fact that she’d given Louis no sons in fifteen years of marriage and then gave Henry one straightaway was noticed, too. Many saw this as proof that Henry had God’s favor, and indeed he did, at least for the next thirty-five years. But fortune is fickle and deserted Henry for his son Richard in the last wretched year of his life, just as it would eventually desert Richard at a small castle in the Limousin known as Chalus-Chabrol.
    Also on August 17th, this time in 1173, Edward IV’s second son was born, named Richard after either Edward’s father or brother, or most likely both. Edward now had his “heir and a spare” and young Richard’s future must have seemed golden to his proud parents. It seems so tragic in retrospect, doesn’t it? We often play the What If game here on Facebook, usually concentrating upon great issues like the fate of kingdoms, speculating what would have happened had Richard reached Henry Tudor at Bosworth or how English history might have been changed had Edward not burned his candle at both ends with such careless abandon. But think of the purely personal; imagine how different his sons’ lives would have been had Edward not died so prematurely. How sad is that?

  7. skpenman Says:

    August 18th is a slow medieval history day. Luckily, I have a story to fill the void. I always use as their arrangements are gorgeous and the service is fast and reliable. But if I was a fan before, now I am an uber-fan, thanks to their superb customer service. I recently went to their website to send birthday flowers to a friend, whose address was stored in My Account. I clicked onto it, clearly suffering a momentary brain freeze, since my friend no longer lives at that address. I did remember this a few hours later and e-mailed their customer service, without much hope. Although this was a weekend and evening, I heard back from them within an hour, telling me they’d contacted Fed Ex with the correct address and actually apologizing if this glitch caused a delay in delivery; they then won my heart by offering to replace the order if need be. Well, Fed Ex joined me on Error Island, for despite their assurances to the nice ProFlowers people, they still delivered the flowers to the wrong address. But a happy ending was had by all, including the surprised recipients of those flowers, for ProFlowers did indeed send another order to my friend at the correct address, at no extra charge. I was so impressed that I decided people need to know about ProFlowers’ good deed, for in our world nowadays, customer service is too often an oxymoron. So the next time you’re searching for an on-line florist, remember ProFlowers!
    Back to medieval news, I should remind my British readers that the Bosworth Field re-enactment of that infamous battle is this weekend; there is still time today if any of you who live in the area would like to attend. You think they might listen if we lobbied them to change the outcome one year and let Richard win?

  8. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Thank you Sharon for your kind words above :-) I love the ProFlowers story and your idea to change the outcome of the battle this year :-) That would be a surprise!

  9. Sharon K Penman Says:

    August 20, 1153 was the death date of Bernard of Clairvaux, the nemesis of the Angevins. It was Bernard who is said to have insisted that from the Devil they came and to the Devil they’d go. The scene below is from Saints, page 580. Geoffrey and Henry have come to the French king’s court and Geoffrey outrages Bernard and Louis by dragging Louis’s seneschal, Giraud Berlai, before them in chains. Since Berlai was a rebel in Geoffrey’s eyes, he was not impressed by the French king’s indignation and says coolly that he showed admiral restraint in not hanging Berlai. When Bernard warns him that his mockery is offensive to God, Geoffrey corrects him, saying his mockery is offensive to Bernard and he is not the sole interpreter of the Almighty’s Will. It rapidly goes downhill from there. When Bernard grudgingly offers to absolve Geoffrey from his “sin of disobedience” and lift the sentence of excommunication, Geoffrey responds:
    “I have no intention of releasing Berlai, my lord abbot. The man is a rebel and brigand, and I see it as no sin to punish him as he deserves. But if it is a sin, then I have no wish to be absolved of it. Since you claim to have God’s ear day and night, you may tell Him that for me, that I seek no absolution for an act of simple justice.”
    When Geoffrey began to speak, Bernard stiffened, righteously indignant that his olive branch should not only have been spurned, but snapped in half. By the time Geoffrey was done, though, he was speechless with horror. So were the French king and most of the onlookers, for Geoffrey’s defiance sounded to them like the worst sort of blasphemy.
    If Geoffrey had an innate sense of the dramatic, so, too, did Bernard. Drawing himself up to his full and formidable height, he thrust out his arm as if he meant to impale Geoffrey upon it. “’Be not deceived, for God is not mocked, and whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.’ You have prayed for damnation and the Lord God has heard you. Repent now, you impious, wicked man, whilst you still can. Heed me well, for I see your death if you do not, and within a month’s time.”
    Bernard’s prophetic trances were known throughout France, and this one sent a frisson of uneasy excitement shuddering across the hall. The French king paled noticeably, some of Geoffrey’s own men began to edge away from him, while others moved in for a better view, just in case the Lord chose to take His vengeance here and now. Henry could not help admiring the abbot’s theatrical flair, but he was suspicious of the prophecy itself, for the timing was too convenient to be credible. Geoffrey looked even more skeptical; one of his eyebrows had shot upward in a familiar gesture of disbelief.
    “A month, you say? Could you be more specific, my lord abbot? If you can give me the exact date, that would make it easier for me to plan Berlai’s public hanging in the time I have left.”
    The abbot stared at the younger man and then slowly and deliberately made the sign of the cross. “It is true what men say, that the counts of Anjou come from the Devil’s seed. You blaspheme as easily as you breathe, mock all that is holy, you have no shame—“
    “And I am doomed, too; let’s not forget that. How good of you to speak up for the Lord like this. Whatever would He do without you?” The abbot sucked in an outraged breath, but Geoffrey gave him no chance to respond. “Well, then, if I have so little time left, I see no reason to waste any more of it here.” And without a warning, without another word, Geoffrey turned on his heel and stalked from the hall.
    * * *
    His abrupt departure created a sensation and even Henry was taken aback, for that had not been in the script. He was not sure if he should stalk out, too, stay and try to salvage the peace talks, or make a measured, dignified withdrawal. He chose the latter, courteously bidding farewell to the French king and the abbot. But then he moved toward the stunningly beautiful woman who’d entered the hall just moments before.
    * * *
    “Madame,” he said gravely, and kissed her hand with a courtly flourish. But then he added, for her ears alone, “If you are not the Queen of France, by God, you ought to be.”
    Her mouth put Henry in mind of ripe peaches. It curved at the corners, not quite a smile, but enough to free a flashing dimple. “My lord duke.” Her voice was as arresting as her appearance, low-pitched and sultry. “And if you are not yet the King of England,” she murmured, “by God, you will be.”
    * * *
    And that, of course, was the first meeting between Henry Fitz Empress and Eleanor of Aquitaine. One of my Facebook readers said he thought that was one of history’s great pickup lines, which amused me enormously. Geoffrey did not storm off as he threatened, and even agreed to some of the concessions demanded of him, at Henry’s urging, for by then he and Eleanor were making their own plans for the future. But none of them could have expected what happened next. On his way back to Anjou, Geoffrey caught a chill after swimming in the river at Chateau-du-Loir, and was dead within days. He was only thirty-nine and I do not doubt it vexed him greatly that Abbot Bernard would be able to claim that he’d foretold Geoffrey’s sudden, premature death. But if the abbot thought Henry would be intimidated by that eerie coincidence, he did not know his Angevins. Henry and Eleanor were made of sterner stuff than that and there is no evidence that even Bernard’s subsequent canonization impressed them very much.

  10. Koby Says:

    This is very odd, Sharon, as today is the 19th, to the best of my knowledge! And indeed, a far more important death occurred today: Geoffrey II Plantagenet, Duke of Brittany died today, after being trampled in a tourney. There is some discrepancy - some say he died on the 21st. I think Sharon solved it by suggesting he was trampled at the tourney on the 19th, and finally died of his wounds on the 21st.

  11. Sharon K Penman Says:

    You are the only one who caught that, Koby! I did indeed get a day ahead of myself. I took Geoffrey’s death date from a Notre Dame source that I cannot remember off the top of my head, working on the assumption that since he was buried there, their date would be the most trustworthy. No guarantee, of course! You should have seen all of us on the Eleanor tour, though, swarming the cathedral to look for Geoffrey’s plaque, which we’d been alerted to by Malcolm Craig. It was a nice moment to look upon it. Geoffrey was lucky to get a royal burial at the magnificent Notre Dame, although Fontevrault Abbey is hardly slumming, either.

  12. Malcolm Craig Says:

    I had noted in February 1974 that the year of Geoffrey’s death on the plaque (mclxxxv) is a year early. Since the error had not yet been corrected in June 2011, it is likely to remain there in perpetuity. Being in Notre Dame de Paris again was wonderful, as was the opportunity to enjoy so many of the other venues we visited. See you in September.

  13. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, Rania and I have caught that too, but on FB :-) I hope you don’t mind, but in my comment- still bearing in mind your last year’s note on Geoffrey’s death- I suggested that 21st might have been the right date.

    Also on 20 August 1173, in the course of the Great Revolt, Henry II’s Brabantine mercenaries defeated the Earl of Chester and Raoul de Fougeres near Dol, Brittany. Earl Hugh and Raoul with the remnant of their army retereated to the castle, only to surrender to the king himself six days later.
    I loved how Sharon described the event in Devil’s Brood. I felt really sorry for her Hugh.

  14. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Thanks, Kasia. I had fun writing that scene at Dol. Henry was famous for swooping down upon his enemies like that, catching them unaware as happened to poor Hugh of Chester. Richard does that in Ransom, too, and of course John’s one great military triumph was when he raced to Mirebeau to rescue Eleanor from Arthur and the Bretons.

  15. Sharon K Penman Says:

    The book world has just lost one of its stars–Elmore Leonard died this morning at age 87. He had a remarkable career and he will be greatly missed.

  16. Sharon K Penman Says:

    Two unhappy events occurred on August 21st. In 1186, Geoffrey, the Duke of Brittany, died of injuries received in a tournament, and we’ll never know how history might have been changed had he not participated in the melee that day. Certainly the lives of his wife, Constance, and their children, Aenor and Arthur, would have been very different, and so, I suspect, would his brother John’s.
    Also, on August 21st, this time in 1165, Louis VII finally got the son he so wanted, and the euphoric father nicknamed him Philippe Dieu-Donne, the God-given. Philippe is considered to be one of the most successful medieval kings by French historians because he was able to wrest so much of the Angevin empire away from John, but I’d never bake him a cake. He is certainly not the worst character I’ve written about, yet there were definitely some dark corners in his soul. The Angevins could testify to that, as could his abused wife, Ingborg, and French Jews, among others.

  17. Koby Says:

    Indeed, Sharon. Also, today Baldwin II of Jerusalem died, making his daughter Melisende Queen of Jerusalem, and her husband Fulk of Anjou, Geoffrey le Bel’s father, King of Jerusalem. There was a lot more intrigue involved, though, and I strongly suggest reading up on Melisende.

  18. Joan Says:

    You’ve aroused my curiosity about Melisende, Koby. Will do that & if you have any particular suggestions, I’d love to hear.

    Sharon, I am hooked on Amelia Peabody….the first page did it actually. I see us spending many many hilarious hours together. Stephen Leacock has come to mind more than once. I’ve started right at the beginning of the series, Crocodile on the Sandbank.

  19. skpenman Says:

    August 22, 1138 was the date of a victory of the English over the Scots at Cowton Moor, known as the Battle of the Standard
    According to Wikipedia, August 22nd, 1358 is the date upon which Isabella, queen of Edward II, died. But the Dictionary of National Biography says she died on August 23rd, and I think that is a more trustworthy source. I suspect that Kathryn Warner will write something about Isabella on her excellent blog, The fourteenth century is not my bailiwick, but I do have two comments about Isabella. She did not have an affair with William Wallace! Mel Gibson cannot be trusted. Wallace was dead by the time Isabella set foot on English soil, so any tryst would have given necrophilia a new twist. And she was not called The She-wolf of France until the eighteenth century.
    August 22nd is also, of course, the day in 1485 when Richard III was slain at Bosworth Field, ending the three hundred year reign of the Plantagenet dynasty. Way too much has already been said about the Tudors—ad nauseam—so I will merely point out that Tudor dated his reign from the day before Bosworth so he could then charge with treason men who’d fought for an anointed, crowned king. That tells us all we really need to know about the sterling character of the first of the Tudors. I often post a passage from one of my novels on a date relevant to the book’s events. But too many readers have told me that they reread Sunne often, yet always stop before they reach the Bosworth chapter. I can understand that; it took me three weeks to get Richard out of his tent and onto the field at Bosworth, and the reluctance was mine, not his.
    So in deference to their feelings, no battlefield scenes from Sunne. And since this is always a sad day for Ricardians, I am going to share with you all a wonderful video that my friend Owen recently sent to me. Take a few minutes away from the grim reality of the medieval past and today’s equally grim present and watch this baby elephant experience his first mud bath. Trust me, you won’t be sorry.

  20. skpenman Says:

    On August 23, 1305, William Wallace was put to death in a truly barbaric fashion by being drawn and quartered. Readers of The Reckoning know about this gruesome, savage form of execution. It is sometimes said that Davydd ap Gruffydd was the first to suffer this fate. There were a few other cases prior to Davydd’s death in 1283, but in Davydd’s execution we see the origins of the state trial, and drawing, quartering, and disembowelment then became the official method of executing those charged with treason. It was Edward I’s legacy to future kings, and while I am sure he wanted to intimidate would-be rebels, I do not doubt that he also wanted Dayvdd and Wallace to suffer greatly as they died—and they did. In the Reckoning, I was faced with the challenge of dramatizing Davydd’s agonizing death. I suspected that my readers did not want to read a detailed blow by blow depiction of his suffering; my mother said if I did that, I was out of the will.  So I chose to write about Davydd’s last hours as he sought to fend off his fears, his ghosts, and his regrets, determined that he would show his enemies how a Prince of Wales died. In some ways, that just as difficult to write.

  21. Koby Says:

    I am sorry for my absence, but I had not time to access the internet for the most part. I am glad to see Sharon has been able to post during my absence.
    As for me, I commemorated the Battle of Redmore Plain yesterday by going to watch Shakespeare in the Park’s rendition of Richard III, after which we had a frank discussion with the spectators and actors about the various lies in the play, and the truth of the matter as we know it today. I am glad to say that I believe I opened the eyes of many who were there, whom I hope will believe better of Richard in the future.

  22. skpenman Says:

    Knowing how articulate you are, Koby, I have no doubts that you were able to dispel some of the Tudor myths that still enshroud Richard’s memory today. Well done! We know how busy you are, and are happy whenever you are able to stop by.

    So many important historical events occurred on an August 24th that I’ll practically have to write a novella to mention them all. In chronological order, here they are
    August 24, 79 BC Mt Vesuvius erupted and destroyed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, on the day after the festival of the Roman god of fire, Vulcan.
    August 24, 410 AD The Visigoths sacked the city of Rome
    August 24, 1113 Geoffrey le Bel, Count of Anjou, reluctant husband of the Empress Maude, father of Henry II, was born.
    August 24, 1200 King John wed 12 year old Isabelle d’Angouleme
    August 24, 1215 Pope Innocent III obligingly annulled the Magna Carta, unwillingly signed by John barely two months earlier
    August 24, 1217 In a sea battle fought off the coast of Sandwich, the English prevailed over the French. The pirate chieftain Eustace the Monk was captured and beheaded on the deck of his own ship. John’s illegitimate son, Richard, an important character in Here be Dragons, was one of the heroes of this battle—and am I the only fascinated by the fact that John would have named not one, but two sons after the brother he’d tried to destroy? An interesting aside; if my memory serves, the English sailors threw powdered lime into the French ships, blinding some of the crew.
    August 24, 1349 In a panic as the bubonic plague swept across Europe, people looked for scapegoats and, sadly to be expected, blamed the Jews. Over six thousand men, women, and children died in the German town of Mainz. In a scenario reminiscent of the massacre of the Jews of York in 1191, the Mainz Jews, trapped in their barricaded houses and knowing they were doomed, set fire to their homes and died in the inferno. It was never easy to be a Jew in the MA, but it was particularly dangerous to be a German Jew, for the worst pogroms occurred in the German cities, starting with the First Crusade.
    Lastly, on August 24, 1572, the St Barnabas Day massacre began in Paris, with the slaughter of at least two thousand French Huguenots. The killing then spread into the countryside; it is impossible to be sure of the number of people who lost their lives, with 10,000 often given as the most likely figure. The man who would become my favorite French king, the 19 year old Henri of Navarre, who’d just wed the king’s sister, Marguerite of Valois, was saved by his bride, although he was then forced to embrace the Catholic faith. He was held at the royal court, but when he was able to escape in 1576, he at once renounced his forced baptism and proclaimed himself still a Huguenot. His marriage to Marguerite failed and ironically he would later voluntarily become a Catholic when that was price of kingship, supposedly saying “Paris is worth a Mass.” These bloody events are dramatized by C.W. Gortner in his novel, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici,, which I recommend.

  23. skpenman Says:

    On August 25, 1192, Richard’s nemesis, the Duke of Burgundy, died at Acre after a short illness. Richard himself was lying gravely ill at Jaffa, stricken with another malarial attack after his remarkable victories on August 1st and 4th. He came close to dying—at one point, the Saracen chronicler Baha al-Din reported a rumor that he had died—but when he was told of Burgundy’s death, he was said to have taken a turn for the better. Of course the French then put it about that he’d poisoned Burgundy. Heinrich threw a laundry list of \accusations against Richard at his trial before the Imperial Diet at Speyer, but he did not raise the poison charge; that was too much even for Heinrich. The mortality rate for crusaders was very high, and most of them died of illness, not on the field of battle. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Count of Flanders, Heinrich’s brother Friedrich, the Count of Perche (Jaufre’s father) among the highborn victims, just to name a few.
    The only French king to be canonized as a saint, Louis IX, grandson of Philippe Capet, also died on August 25th, in 1270 at Tunis, on his second crusading attempt.
    And on August 25, 1482, Marguerite d’Anjou’s life came to a sad end, at age 52. I was not able to dramatize her death scene; by that point, Sunne was over 900 pages. But I did not forget her.
    Sunne, page 860.
    * * *
    On the same day that Edward learned Berwick Castle had surrendered to Richard, Marguerite d’Anjou was breathing her last in the modest chateau of Dampierre in her native Anjou. Her death came eleven years after the battle of Tewkesbury, came for her eleven years too late, and was the occasion for little comment, either in England or in France. Upon hearing of her death, the French king at once wrote and demanded that all her dogs be sent to him. He was her heir, he said, and the dogs were all he’d be likely to get from her estate.
    * * *
    A man known as the Universal Spider was not much given to sentiment, but Louis seems to have genuinely liked dogs.

  24. Koby Says:

    Well, Sharon, luckily you have covered the numerous events of yesterday and today for me, so I will only add that today, Louis IX ‘the Saint’ of France also died - he was the son of Eleanor’s granddaughter, Blanche of Castile. And so did Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, who was the son of Thomas Howard who fought with Richard II at Barnet and Bosworth. He would be famed for the influence he tried to wield through his nieces, Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard.

  25. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    But Koby, Sharon did mention Louis IX’s death :-) You really are in a hurry :-)
    How fascinating you had the afore-mentioned discussion about Richard III. Wish I had been there with you… (sigh).

    As for today’s anniversaries I will only mention the one connected with Henry the Young King and his doomed rebellion against his father: on 26 August 1173 Henry II won a major victory in the course of the Great Revolt, when the castle of Dol surrendered to him in the face of siege-engines erected on the king’s arrival three days earlier, thus ending the rebellion in Brittany. The leaders: Raoul de Fougeres and Hugh of Chester together with sixty-seven other notables, fell into Henry II’s hands. Among the captured was Hasculf de St Hilary, former household knight of Henry the Young King. Hasculf had been dismissed from Young Henry’s court on Henry II’s orders earlier in the year, and with him many other knights responsible for- as Henry the father must have seen it- exerting a bad influence on his eldest son and heir.

  26. skpenman Says:

    I forgot about Dol, Kasia, and I had such fun writing about it, too. I loved the way Henry could swoop down upon his foes like a lightning bolt from an empty summer sky.

    August 26, 1346 was the date of a very important medieval battle, fought at Crecy, which resulted in a victory of King Edward III and his eldest son, later to be known as the Black Prince, over the French. Here is an interesting website for those interested in learning more about it. Among the dead was John, the blind King of Bohemia, whose insistence upon taking part in the battle was undoubtedly courageous if perhaps ill-advised.
    And of course, Bernard Cornwell, who writes battle scenes better than any writer I’ve ever read, has dealt with Crecy in the first book of his Grail Quest novels, published in the US as The Archer’s Tale and in the UK and Down Under as Harlequin.
    I am sorry I haven’t been around much again, but I had another back injury this weekend, nothing serious, I am sure, but painful enough to keep me away from the computer. I am trying to figure out a way to smuggle my chiropractor onto the plane with me next month.

  27. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I’ve just dropped by to say hello and mention that on 27 August 1172 Henry the Young King was crowned for a second time, together with his wife, Marguerite in the first town in England governed by a mayor, in the cathedral that witnessed the most crucial events in the history of the kingdom. Contemporary historians, Roger of Howden and Gervase of Canterbury, considered the Winchester ceremony the young Henry’s second coronation, although it was only Marguerite who was consecrated after the officiants placed the “diadema regni’ on her husband’s head. Because the first coronation of his son was considered invalid, Young Henry’s father, outdid himself in organizing the most elaborate and grand ceremony with Rotrou, archbishop of Rouen officiating. The Princess’s father, Louis VII had expressed the wish that the excommunicated bishops who performed the coronation of his son-in-law in 1170 had been forbidden to participate.

    Sharon, perhaps not everyone knows that John of Bohemia was the grandfather of Richard II’s consort, Anne. I thought I mention it, because my husband and I are interested in the Czech history :-) (it’s so deeply related to Polish that almost inseparable at times).

  28. Koby Says:

    I must thank you all for keeping up the events of the day while I was busy. I am afraid I must continue to impose on you all - I am only dropping in from the base for a quick visit home, before returning there - we are in a state of emergency, and I do not know when I shall return home. In any case, the Siege of Acre began today, headed by Guy de Lusignan - it would eventually be won by Richard I, of course. Also, one of my personal heroes lost his final battle and his life today, Cristóvão da Gama, son of the great Vasco da Gama. Though her was captured and killed by Ahmad Gurey after the battle, his men managed to escape with Queen Sable Wengel, and then joined up with the forces of her son, Emperor Gelawdewos to win the battle of Wayna Daga and kill Ahmad Gurey. As Richard Burton wrote of him, he was ‘the most chivalrous soldier of a chivalrous age’.

  29. skpenman Says:

    Thank you for another fascinating post, Koby. Please take care of yourself.

    Well, King John wed his cousin, Isabel or Avisa or maybe Hawisa of Gloucester on August 29, 1189; there seems to be some confusion about her actual name. They did not get a dispensation so that made it easy for John to replace her with a trophy wife, Isabel d’Angouleme in 1200. She was never crowned and is not counted as one of England’s queens, so I do hope she was happy to be rid of John; otherwise she really got the short end of the stick.
    The Deadline Dragon is still sulking about, the ultimate unwelcome house guest. Not too much else to report, so here is a link for my fellow Game of Thrones fans, recognizing that the mortality rate in Westeros is downright scary, much worse than in my novels.

  30. skpenman Says:

    I want to wish all who celebrate Labor Day a very pleasant, peaceful holiday. I think it is also a Bank Holiday in the UK? True also for Australia or Canada? If not, just have a good weekend.
    I was somewhat surprised that Amazon has A King’s Ransom up for pre-orders already since the publication date is not until March 4th. But this will give the curious a chance to see the Putnam’s cover, another Victorian painting as they did for Lionheart. Here is the link.

  31. skpenman Says:

    Two significant medieval deaths on this date. On August 31, 1218, al-Malik al-Adil, Saladin’s younger brother, died after a successful reign. I had fun writing his scenes in Lionheart as he and Richard amused themselves with some verbal jousting. Clearly the two men were on friendly terms—surprisingly friendly in the midst of a holy war and a jihad—for Richard knighted one of al-Adil’s sons and he gave Richard two Arab stallions after the battle of Jaffa as a tribute to the English king’s courage. This act would later give rise to the legend that Saladin sent a horse to Richard in the middle of the battle after his mount had been slain. I think the truth is remarkable enough, does not need embroidering. This legend would also give birth to another, that Richard’s Cypriot stallion, Fauvel, was the horse slain under him at Jaffa, but I am happy to report this is erroneous, too. In his haste to reach Jaffa once he learned it was under Saracen attack, Richard took no horses with him, one of his chroniclers being very precise about the number of horses his men had at the second battle of Jaffa: only eleven, animals they found in Jaffa or took from Saracens. Fauvel was safely back at Acre, not taking part in yet another Lionheart legend. We do not know his eventual fate, but I find it hard to believe Richard would not have shipped him back home, given how attached he was to the Cypriot stallion; the same is true for al-Adil’s magnificent gift, Arabs being highly prized both by the crusaders and the Saracens. So Fauvel gets to chase after the French in Ransom, as I am sure the real Fauvel did. And of course Al-Adil will be an important character in my next novel, The Land Beyond the Sea.
    August 31, 1422 was the date of death for the English king, Henry V, sometimes called Harry of Monmouth for the place of his birth. He died of dysentery, a great killer in the MA, and was only 35, leaving a nine month old son as his heir. He has never been one of my favorite kings; there is coldness about him that put me off. But his premature death poses a huge What if. What if he had not died when he did? The history of England and France would have been very different; for better or worse, it is hard to say, but definitely different.

  32. skpenman Says:

    A beautiful eulogy to a great poet, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, who died yesterday. If we are all candles, his burned as brightly as the sun, a light we can ill afford to lose.

  33. Joan Says:

    Sharon, we do celebrate Labor Day here in Canada as well. Just back from a great visit with my daughter & granddaughters, I’m now catching up. Re your post on Henri of Navarre, I watched half the film Henry 4 & had no idea if the portrayal was factual. If so, I’ll watch it again, it’s another extremely fascinating era. I didn’t realize he was your fave French king. Will have to read C W Gortner’s novel. And that’s quite an elegant cover on A King’s Ransom.

    Koby & Kasia, you are making your mark in the name of history & that’s wonderful. Kasia, how is your adorable Helen? I hope you are getting a bit more rest?!?

    I sympathize with your back trouble, & am just now recouping from same! I loved Seamus Heaney’s work when introduced to him at univ.

  34. Joan Says:

    Also, take care, Koby!

  35. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    On September 2, 1192, Richard and Saladin came to terms and the Third Crusade ended. The sticking point had been the stronghold of Ascalon, which Saladin had destroyed rather than let it fall into Richard’s hands. Months later, Richard took control of Ascalon and spent a large sum rebuilding it, so he was understandably loath to surrender it. But because they did not see how they could hold Ascalon without Richard there to defend it, Balian and Outremer’s lords felt they had to sacrifice it in order to make peace. Although Richard was very ill at the time with malaria, they approached him in one of his lucid moments and were greatly relieved when he finally agreed. With Ascalon no longer blocking the peace road, progress was quickly made and on Sunday, August 30th, Saladin sent an envoy to Richard with a draft of the peace treaty. But things did not go as expected.
    * * *
    Lionheart, page 560-561
    “No,” Richard said, shaking his head stubbornly. “I did not agree to yield Ascalon without compensation. I would never do that!’
    There was a shocked silence, the other men looking at one another in dismay. “You did, Uncle.” Henri approached the bed, picking up the documents that Richard had crumpled and flung to the floor. “Andre and the bishop and I….we came to you and explained why Ascalon had to be sacrificed—“
    “No! I would not do that.”
    “Richard…it happened as Henri says. You do not remember….not any of it?”
    Richard’s eyes searched Andre’s face, then shifted to Hubert Walter. “No….I agreed to this? You swear it is so?” When all three of them assured him it was, he sank back against the pillows. It was very disturbing, even frightening, to think he’d made such an important decision and had no memory of it. When he glanced up again, he saw that the sultan’s envoy was becoming agitated, asking Humphrey de Toron what had gone wrong. “Humphrey…tell him that if I said it, I will honor my word. And tell him to say this to Saladin—that I accept the terms and understand that if I receive any compensation for Ascalon, it will be because of his generosity and bounty.”
    The envoy was ushered out, obviously greatly relieved that there was to be no eleventh hour surprise. By unspoken assent, the other men left, too; only Henri and Andre remained. “This is my fault, Uncle,” Henri said unhappily. “Andre insisted that we ought not to ask you until your fever broke. But I feared to wait—“
    “It is your kingdom, Henri. It was your decision to make as much as mine.” Richard could not remember ever feeling so exhausted or so disheartened. “I need to sleep now…” He hoped it would come soon, stilling the questions he could not answer, the insidious voice asking what he’d truly accomplished here. So many deaths, and all for what?
    * * *
    The Lionheart chronicles spoiled me for any other sources. This sort of detail just does not exist elsewhere….sigh. I was able to find reliable chroniclers for A King’s Ransom, but the crusader and Saracen chroniclers were in a class of their own, offering a form of time-travel. I really miss that! I missed Henri in Ransom, too, so I couldn’t resist this opportunity to bring him back, if only briefly—at least until the next book. I think Balian will have to be on the alert, though, as I suspect Henri is one of my light-fingered characters who steals scenes with ease and might take it into his head to high-jack the entire book, the way Llywelyn swiped Dragons right out from under John’s nose.
    Oh, and Richard cheered up considerably soon after this, upon being told that the Duke of Burgundy had died at Acre. And his reliance upon Saladin’s generosity was not misplaced, for the sultan voluntarily compensated him for all the money he’d expended upon Ascalon by agreeing that the Christians and Muslims would share the revenues of Ramla and Lydda.

  36. Joan Says:

    The relationship between Richard & Saladin was quite extraordinary, wasn’t it? You did the chronicles justice, Sharon, when you spun your magic with all these details. I’m looking forward to more of Henri as well.

  37. Susan Says:


    I hope your back is feeling better. I am a US reader and am planning to re-read Sunne, for the third time. I’m holding off because I understand that there will be an updated US Kindle version (with UK spelling and edits) available from your UK publisher. Will that version be available in the US on September 12th also? I do not see if for pre-order on Amazon.


  38. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    Carol Sinclair put up this link to a performance of the plaint that the famed troubadour, Gaucelm Faidit, wrote after Richard I’s death at Chalus and I wanted to make sure no one missed it. Gaucelm once wrote a tenso with Richard’s brother Geoffrey and he flits through a few scenes in my books, although I probably vexed his spirit by not giving him any dialogue.
    We are so fortunate to be able to hear the music written by men so many centuries ago. I thought Carol might like to listen to one of my favorite musicians, Owain Phyfe, sing Richard’s Ja Nus Hons Pris, composed while he was held captive in Germany. When I went to YouTube to get the link for her, I discovered that there is a new video up of Owain, this time singing Ddoi Di Dais, the Welsh song that mourns the brutal death of Davydd ap Gruffydd, drawn and quartered by Edward I. So I naturally have to include this link, too. Many of you may know that Owain Phyfe died in September of last year, a sad loss. But what better way to remember him than by listening to him sing? Here then, are the links to Owain performing Richard’s haunting prison lament and then Ddoi Di Dais.

  39. Sara Says:

    Hi, I have a quick question. I’m planning on reading this book for the first time and was wondering whether I should purchase the new version or the older one? I understand that it says some dialogue changes but are they of a significant nature? Any help would be appreciated!

  40. Joan Says:

    Oh how incredibly beautiful…..both songs by Owain Phyfe. And so sad. I found the English lyrics. I’m already in tears & when I read Ransom I will listen to Richard’s lament often. How talented was that man….the Lionheart!!! It never ends. Can’t believe we’re listening to a song he composed in prison.

    Ddoi Di Dai is heartwrenching. Sharon, your name appears in the write-up under the video, with lovely praise. And Owain Phyfe, you are marvelous…..I hope you are breaking bread & drinking mead with Richard & Davydd. Thank you, Sharon.

  41. skpenman Says:

    Sara, they are not dramatic changes at all. I simply corrected some typographical errors that had infiltrated the original British hardback edition, as well as a few of mine that had not been caught, and I made some changes to the dialogue. Sunne was my first book, so it was a learning experience and I later concluded that with medieval dialogue, less is more. I do include a new Author’s Note, though, reflecting the remarkable discovery of Richard’s lost grave.

    I wish I’d met Owain, Joan; we became Facebook friends after I raved about his talents, but I’d have loved to hear him perform in person. His death was such a loss to the music world.

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    September 3rd, 1189 was the coronation of Richard I. It was also a day of ugly violence as Londoners attacked two Jewish moneylenders from York, Benedict and Josce, who arrived with gifts for the new king, not knowing that Richard had forbidden Jews from attending his coronation, most likely to avoid the anti-Semitic pogroms that broke out whenever a crusade had been preached in the past. I don’t doubt that Richard shared the bias against Jews, for virtually all medieval Christians did; it was simply a matter of degree, as I’ve tried to bring out in my books, especially Falls the Shadow. But a king about to leave on crusade would be greatly concerned that his kingdom remain peaceful during his absence. When the unfortunate Josce and Benedict showed up, they were beaten by a drunken mob and Benedict was forced to convert to save himself; the mob then surged into London’s Jewry, burning and looting and killing at least thirty Jews. Richard was angry and ordered arrests, three men being hanged. He permitted Benedict to recant his forced baptism, much to the indignation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who demanded to know why Benedict would prefer to be the Devil’s man rather than God’s.

    Richard then issued writs throughout the kingdom, warning his subjects that the Jews were not to be harmed. Nor were they—as long as he remained in England. But once he sailed for Normandy at year’s end, violence broke out again, spreading from town to town like a virulent pox, culminating in the massacre at York in March, 1190, which has sometimes been called the medieval Masada. I discuss these tragic events in some detail in Chapter Seven of Lionheart. I read a novel about the York horrors some years ago; I believe it was called The King’s Persons and the author was Joanne Greenberg. And of course Alice Hoffman’s brilliant novel, The Dovekeepers, is a riveting, heartrending account of the events at Masada in 73 AD, (or 73 CE, for those who use that designation). I highly recommend this book, which I selected as one of the five best historical novels of 2011 for the article I did for the NPR. The other four were Geraldine Brooks’s Caleb’s Crossing, Bernard Cornwell’s Death of Kings, Paula Mcclain’s The Paris Wife, and Margaret George’s Elizabeth I. I highly recommend them all, too!

  42. Maritza Says:

    Hello, Sharon:
    I just finished The Dovekeepers; I read it based on your recommendation and was one of the most haunting books I’ve ever read. It made me very ambivalent–I pushed on toward the end, all the time dreading the last pages because of what I knew was coming. Surprisingly, though, the end of the book taught me something about Masada I never knew before and it made this account of this sad event in history a bit less soul-crushing (don’t want to spoil it for anyone who is contemplating reading the book, but you probably know what I mean, Sharon). I visited Masada while on a tour of Israel in 1996 and this book has helped me more clearly visualize what I saw and experienced there.
    The new cover of Sunne is quite striking but I miss the tenderness of the old cover with Richard & Anne in a sweet embrace, as well as the familiar symbols of the red & white roses and the White Boar. BTW, I was watching college football this past weekend, (the game between Arkansas & Louisiana Lafayette) & thought that the AK Razorback mascot looks very much like Richard’s White Boar (albeit the AK pig is red with a black stripe down its back!). I’m thinking I’ll purchase a new Sunne and have both copies, since it is my favorite book of all time! Congratulations on the re-issue and it would be so fascinating to see a future film or TV miniseries in the works.
    On that topic–what do you & your readers think about “The White Queen” miniseries? I’m watching because the subject matter so interests me but there are a few things I intensely dislike, like the depiction of Margaret Beaufort as semi-deranged. I’m also not convinced about the actress portraying Elizabeth (FRECKELS on the Woodville beauty????), and I particularly HATE the portrayal of Cecily Neville (the over-the-top headdress & can anyone picture the Duchess of York threatening to replace Edward for George as king???? Preposterous!

  43. Sara Says:

    Thank you for the quick response, it is very much appreciated!

  44. skpenman Says:

    I have not seen it, Maritza, so in fairness, I cannot comment upon it. I did hear that the BBC is not bringing it back for another season.

  45. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, I loved how Elizabeth Chadwick, in The Greatest Knight, set a scene of John Marshal, William’s elder brother’s involvement in the massacre of Jews at York. William and his wife Isabel shocked upon receiving the news, and later confronting John himself… powerful and “shivers-sending”.

    I have a question concerning the exact date of Constance of Brittany’s death in 1201. Wikipedia gives 5 September, two other sources 4/5 September and Judith Everard in her Charters of the Duchess Constance 3/4 September. She is the expert in the Breton branch of the family, so I guess she’s in the right…

  46. skpenman Says:

    We cannot be sure of Constance’s exact death, Kasia; I’d be inclined to go with Dr Everard, too. Her death was sad, especially after she’d finally found happiness again with her new husband, but at least she was spared knowing the tragic fates of her children by Geoffrey.

    Below is today’s Facebook post; unfortunately I can’t post Holly’s spectacular portrait here. It is up on all of my Facebook pages and when I can, I’ll also include it in one of my blogs. She looks like such a star that I ought to hire her an agent.

    Happy Rosh Hashanah to all of my Jewish friends and readers.
    My friend Paula gave me one of the most amazing birthday surprises I’ve ever had. She commissioned a brilliant artist named Sharon Anderson to do a portrait of my little spaniel, Holly. It was a huge surprise to open the package and see Holly gazing back at me. Sharon captured Holly in all her cuddly glory, from her freckles to her long, golden lashes. She even brought out Holly’s cheerleader personality. I just had to share it with everyone, for it is a remarkable painting and Holly looks utterly adorable. I am also putting up Sharon’s website so anyone interested can check out her work; I know 99% of us are devoted pet lovers here!

  47. Koby Says:

    I apologize for my absence; in spite of my return from the army following the cessation of the emergency state, I was consumed by other events and much catching up, and now I must leave you once more for three days, the three days of Rosh HaShana and Sabbath. My calendar tells me that today Joanna Plantagenet, Queen of Sicily died, though I cannot confirm this; it also says this happened on the 24th.
    In any case, may the Year and its curses end; May the Year and its blessings begin. May we all have a good year, and be written in the book of life, the book of memory, and the book of forgiveness.

  48. Joan Says:

    Sharon, I think your Holly would love my hairstylists dog, Odie, a short-legged Jack Russell. He loves dressing up, esp in his pirate’s costume. In one pic, he’s looking straight at the camera, he knows he’s posing, & knows he’s got the IT factor. Dressing up came quite by accident……after getting used to a walking sweater, he started picking up bits of clothing & hats laying around, running to his mistress with the stuff in his mouth, imploring her to dress him up.

    Thank you Koby for the beautiful blessing & I wish you the same. I’ll be thinking of Joanna today.

  49. skpenman Says:

    We all wish you a happy Rosh Hashanah, Koby. I love that phrase, “to be written in the book of life, the book of memory, and the book of forgiveness.”

    Happy New Year, too, to all of my other Jewish friends and readers.

  50. skpenman Says:

    I am doing a few early posts this week since I won’t be able to do so on the proper dates. On September 7, 1151, Geoffrey le Bel, the Count of Anjou, died suddenly upon his return from a Paris conference with the French king; it must have vexed him greatly that his death would be seen as validation of the prophecy of Bernard of Clairvaux, who’d warned he would die within a month. September 7th was the date of another Angevin event of significance; for in 1191, Geoffrey’s grandson Richard defeated Saladin at the battle of Arsuf. And on September 7th, 1533, the only good Tudor was born, Elizabeth, who would become a great queen.
    And here are two very touching stories of random acts of kindness. I found the first one on a news website, so you may have read about it already. I found the second story because I came across the mention of a writer with the name Sharon Kay, and that was rare enough to arouse my curiosity. If you read these stories, it will make you feel better about the human race and remind us all that we don’t always know how deeply we can impact the lives of strangers.

  51. skpenman Says:

    I am posting this early, since on September 8th, I will be in York.  On this date in 1157, Eleanor gave birth to her third son, the only time that Henry was on hand for one of her lying-ins. Since I miss writing about Henry, I am going to put up an excerpt from the childbirth scene. Time and Chance pages 51-53
    * * *
    Henry swung away from the window with an explosive oath. “By the blood of Christ, enough of this! For all we know, she gave birth hours ago and the fool midwife has forgotten to send word!”
    As he headed for the door, Will scrambled to his feet. “Harry, do nothing rash! You’ll just upset the women if you go charging in, and what good will that do Eleanor?”
    “The lad is right,” Becket observed calmly. “You cannot hasten the birth. The babe will be born in God’s time, no sooner, no later.”
    Seeing Henry’s hesitation, Will hastily groped for further persuasion. “The child might come even faster if you’re not there,” he insisted. “Everyone knows that hovering over a pot will not make it cook any faster.”
    Henry gave his brother a look that was incredulous, irked, and amused in equal measure. “That is not an analogy I’d suggest you make in Eleanor’s hearing,” he said dryly. “What would the two of you have me do, then?”
    “You can pray,” Becket said and Henry scowled, unwilling to entrust Eleanor’s safety to another higher power, even the Almighty’s. But it was then that they heard the footsteps out in the stairwell.
    When the messenger came catapulting through the doorway, Henry’s spirits soared, for no man would be in such a hurry to deliver dire news. Skidding to a halt in the floor rushes, the messenger dropped to his knees before his king. “God has indeed smiled upon you, my liege. He has given you a fine son.”
    * * *
    Petronilla poured a cupful of wine, carefully carried it back to her sister’s bed. “Here, Eleanor, drink this. God knows, you’ve earned it.”
    Eleanor thought so, too. “You’d think this would get easier. I’m getting enough practice, for certes.”
    She heard laughter beyond her range of vision and a low, throaty voice teased, “Well, dearest, what would you tell a farmer who had an overabundant harvest? To plant less, of course!”
    Eleanor was amused by that impudent familiarity, for no daughter of Aquitaine could be offended by bawdy humor. Moreover, she was quite fond of the speaker, Henry’s cousin Maud, Countess of Chester. “I am not complaining about the frequency of the planting,” she said. “I’d just rather not reap a crop every year.”
    Maud retrieved the wine cup, setting it on the table within Eleanor’s reach. “After four crops in five years, I’d think not!”
    “It proves,” Petronilla chimed in, “that letting a field lie fallow truly does make it more fertile.”
    Maud’s eyes shone wickedly. “Nigh on fifteen years fallow, was it not, Eleanor?”
    Sometimes it astonished Eleanor to remember that she’d actually endured fifteen years as France’s bored, unhappy queen. “But you may be sure I was blamed for those barren harvests,” she said, with a twisted smile. “As if I could cultivate soil without seed!”
    “Does that truly surprise you? Women have been taking the blame ever since Eve listened to that fork-tongued serpent, who most assuredly was male.” Maud turned then toward the door, smiling. “To judge by the commotion outside, either we are under siege or Harry has just arrived.”
    Somewhere along the way from the castle, Henry had found a garden to raid, for he was carrying an armful of Michaelmas daisies. These he handed to Petronilla, rather sheepishly, for romantic gestures did not come easily to him. (omission)
    “Are you hurting, love?”
    Eleanor’s smile was tired, but happy. “Not at all,” she lied. “By now the babies just pop right out, like a cork from a bottle.”
    Henry laughed. “Well….where is the little cork?”
    A wet-nurse came forward from the shadows, bobbing a shy curtsy before holding out a swaddled form for his inspection. Henry touched the ringlets of reddish-gold hair, the exact shade as his own, and grinned when the baby’s hand closed around his finger. “Look at the size of him,” he marveled, and as his eyes met Eleanor’s, the same thought was in both their minds: heartfelt relief that God had given them such a robust, sturdy son. No parent who’d lost a child could ever take health or survival for granted again.
    “We still have not decided what to name him,” Henry reminded his wife. “I fancy Geoffrey, after my father.”
    “The next one,” she promised. “I have a name already in mind for this little lad.”
    He cocked a brow. “Need I remind you that it is unseemly to name a child after a former husband?”
    Eleanor’s lashes were drooping and her smile turned into a sleepy yawn. “I would not name a stray dog after Louis,” she declared, holding out her arms for her new baby. She was surprised by the intensity of emotion she felt as she gazed down into that small, flushed face. Why was this son so special? Had God sent him to fill the aching void left by Will’s death? “I want,” she said, “to name him Richard.”
    * * *
    Will, of course, was their first son, born in 1153, who died in 1156. That is another interesting historical What if. Had he lived, the history of the Angevins and England would have been quite different, although it is impossible to say if the changes would have been for better or worse. I found something vaguely sad about this scene, for all was golden at that moment in Henry’s world. He was very happy with his queen, who’d now given him the “heir and a spare,” had his young brother at his side, and his trusted chancellor and good friend, Thomas Becket, to guard his back. I doubt that he’d have believed it had he been warned that it would all sour in coming years, with his brother dead, his queen alienated to the point that she became involved in rebellion, and the friend he loved transformed into an obstinate enemy. He even found that it was possible for a king to have too many sons.

  52. Joan Says:

    Sharon, I didn’t realize you were leaving so soon! I wish you & all in the tour a fantastic & exciting time! I’m not an envious person by nature but have to say I feel a small twinge just now.

    Safe travels, feast well, & cheerio!!!

  53. Joan Says:

    PS: let me know if you see “Yarn Bombs” in York….the fantastic street art (knitting) that’s all the rage. I already have an idea for London, but will do another for York.

  54. skpenman Says:

    Are Yarn Bombs covering public items in yarn, Joan?

    While my Kindle Fire will let me access my blog, it will not allow me to post any comments. So I will be off the radar for the next three weeks here unless you want to pop by Facebook, for it does let me post there.

  55. Joan Says:

    Yes, Sharon. If you have a sec to google it & click images, you’ll see the creative & colorful art. The cities don’t seem to mind the yarn-soft intrusion of these “cosies”. Not Cristo’s Gates Project, which was magnificent, but a feast for the eyes nontheless.

    Have fun!!!!

  56. Koby Says:

    Thank you, Sharon!; it’s a traditional blessing among my people on these days. You’ve already covered most of today’s events; I’ll only add that Frederick II landed in the Holy Land today, finally starting his successful yet non-bloody crusade.

  57. Teka Lynn Says:

    Koby, may a good year be inscribed and sealed.

  58. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Happy New Year, Koby!

    Joan, I finally managed to fill in your e-mail box with a letter (including a photo) :-)

  59. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Oh, and I’m reding in my notebook that on 9 September 1087 Henry the Young King’s great ancestor, William the Bastard (aka William the Conqueror) died at Rouen.

  60. Koby Says:

    Thank you, Kasia and Teka. Amen, may it be so.
    Today, as Kasia notes, William I the Conqueror did indeed die. In addition, The Battle of Flodden took place today, where English forces under Thomas Howard (who fought with Richard III at Barnet and was wounded there) decisevly defeated the Scots, leaving over 14,000 dead on the field, among them James IV of Scotland, the Earls of Argyll, Lennox, Bothwell and Montrose, as well as Alexander Stewart, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Lord Chancellor of Scotland, and the Bishop of the Isles. Lastly, Mary Queen of Scots was crowned today.

  61. Koby Says:

    Today, Empress Matilda of England died. I think we all know what her epitaph was. In addition, Henri of Champagne, Richard’s nephew and King of Jerusalem died today after falling from a window, leaving his wife Queen Isabella as sole ruler, later marrying Amalric de Lusignan, King of Cyprus. Lastly, another great English victory over the Scots occurred today, in the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, with some 8,000 dead on the field. But it was ultimately no help for the English - the Scots refused to surrender, the English did not manage to advance much, and Mary Queen of Scots was later smuggled out the country to France.

  62. Joan Says:

    Koby, I had no idea Henri came to his end that way!! I’m shocked…..& he seems such a nice man. It couldn’t have been accidental?!? Thanks for taking over for Sharon.

  63. Koby Says:

    Well, Joan, there is no evidence to suggest it wasn’t wholly accidental. Most versions suggest he was leaning on a window lattice or a balcony that gave way. In some versions a servant there tried to catch him, but Henri was too well built for the servant to help, and he fell after him, dying with Henri.
    Today, Melisende, Queen of Jerusalem died - she was Fulk of Anjou’s wife, and so Geoffrey le Bel’s stepmother. In addition, today another battle between the Scots and the English took place, this one for once ending in a Scottish victory. William Wallace defeated a superior force at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, leaving some 5000 English dead on the field.

  64. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Joan, here’s what Gislebert of Mons, the chancellor of Hainaut and the author of the Chronicle of Hainaut, who was very well-informed about Champagne wrote about Henri:
    ‘… virtuous knights and many chosen princes with them… achieved almost nothing in recovering the kingdom of Jesus Christ, because they recovered the city of Acre alone. Some of them were killed by Saracens, some dead from their own intervening illness, many, both greater and lesser, and almost all, returned to their own lands, leaving the holy city of Jerusalem to the pagans. Among them, one who was a most wealthy and powerful prince in the kingdom of France, namely Count Henry of Champagne, very young, utterly offered to the martyrdom of Christ, took upon himself the burden and labour of staying in those regions. Therefore he deserves to have praise and glory before other princes of this world and before other men, both clerks and laymen.’ Let Giselbert’s words become Henry’s epitaph.

  65. Joan Says:

    Well said, Kasia. I don’t even know that much about the man but seems to have had an outstanding character.

  66. Koby Says:

    Today, the Battle of Marathon took place, where the Greeks defeated a superior Persian army, forcing them to retreat and giving Greece 10 years free of Persian invasion, and the great Battle of Vienna took place, after some 17 hours culminating in the greatest cavalry charge in history comprised of some 20,000 cavalry, led by Jan III Sobieski and 3,000 Polish Wined Hussars, completely smashing the besieging Ottoman Army.

  67. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Just dropped by to mention that 14 September 1141 was a bad day for Henry the Young King’s grandmother, Empress Matilda. During her desperate escape from Winchester, her half-brother, Robert of Gloucester, in a successful try to cover the fleeing party, was captured by Queen Matilda [of Boulogne] forces uder William of Ypres. It was a severe blow, for Robert was the empress’s most staunch and loyal supporter and the leader of her forces. He was released later in the year, but only after Matilda agreed to free King Stephen, who had become her prisoner after the Battle of Lincoln (2 February 1141).
    Just read about Matilda’s predicament and Robert’s capture in Lady of the English by Elizabeth Chadwick. Thrilling! You read it, Joan? Or am I wrong?

  68. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Koby, sheepishly I admit that I have neglected the Polish history recently :-) Hope I’m forgiven due to a certain young lady, named Helen, constantly demanding my attention :-)

  69. Joan Says:

    Yes I read it, Kasia. Loved the book. It’s interesting to get a different perspective of all these figures from the various portrayals. I’m now reading CW Gortner’s The Confessions of Catherine de Medici & swept up by it. He took on a formidable task when he attempted to salvage her maligned reputation, & so far, it’s working for me. I find him a wonderfully creative writer who has some pretty incredible insights into the minds & hearts of women.

    I send a kiss for darling Helenka & also your other children.

  70. Joan Says:

    For anyone who has access to the PBS Detroit TV station, here’s something interesting in the fall lineup……..

    GREAT PERFORMANCES “The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare’s History Plays”

    This ambitious four-part miniseries assembles four of Shakespeare’s history plays — Richard II, Henry IV Parts I & II, and Henry V — into a single chronological narrative. The original “Game of Thrones” has inspired bold film adaptations with a cast of leading British and Hollywood talent including Jeremy Irons, Tom Hiddleston, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Patrick Stewart, John Hurt, Julie Walters, David Suchet, Michelle Dockery and David Morrissey. Fridays, September 20-October 11, 9:00 p.m. ET
    “The Hollow Crown – Richard II” – September 20
    “The Hollow Crown – Henry IV, Part I” – September 27
    “The Hollow Crown – Henry IV, Part II” – October 4
    “The Hollow Crown – Henry V” – October 11

  71. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Joan, thank you for the kiss :-) All children already kissed for you…
    I’ve seen Richard II with Ben Whishaw. Outstanding performance. And the costumes… Cannot express my admiration.

  72. Joan Says:

    Kasia, this will be the 4th series on Shakespeare this year! Don’t know what’s happening but I’m soaking it all up.

  73. Koby Says:

    No need to worry, Kasia; the future is more important than the past at times like these. Give my regards to young Helenka!
    Today, Henry V [VI] was born.

  74. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Koby, Helenka has just received your regards :-)

    On 18 September 1180 Louis VII died. We, I mean Henry II’s ardent admirers, may laygh at Louis, but it has just occured to me that weak ruler or not, Louis, at least, managed to achieve what Henry- with all his political acumen- failed to achieve: a peaceful succession of his heir.

  75. Octavista Says:

    Sharon, i am a big fan of all your books which took me on the road to loving history. I have one question though, which is-Have you ever considered writing a novel about the Norman conquest? It is a time period which i find very interesting but also is one in which i have not read books which present both Harold and William as actual humans who are more complicated then their stereotypes.

  76. Koby Says:

    Well, Kasia was once more gracious enough to cover for me on Sukkot eve - it began at sundown yesterday (the 18th) and I had no time to write… in any case, today, the Battle of Poitiers took place, where Edward the Black Prince defeated a French Army twice the size of his under Jean II of France. Jean was captured along with his youngest son Philip, 17 lords and 13 counts, among them Arnoul d’Audrehem, Marshal of France, the Counts of Eu, Marche, Ponthieu, Étampes, Tancarville, Dammartin, and Joinville and the Archbishop of Sens. Geoffroi de Charny, carrier of the Oriflamme, the Duke of Bourbon, Count Walter Brienne, Constable of France, and Jean de Clermont, Marshal of France, died on the field.

  77. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Today marks the anniversary of Geoffrey’s birthday. He was born on 23 September 1158, being the fifth child of Henry and Eleanor. Today he is the most underestimated of their sons.

    To read Sharon’s wonderful blog post on her favourite of the Devil’s Brood go to the Blog Archive, September 2011. Fascinating read.

  78. Joan Says:

    Kasia, what’s the easiest way to access that blog…..I tried googling it but haven’t found it yet. Thanks.

    Has anyone read Stuart Carroll’s “Martyrs & Murderers: The Guise family & the making of Europe”? I’m thinking of ordering it. CW Gortner’s novel on Catherine de Medici has me craving more of that history. Mack P Holt’s “The French Wars of Religion 1562-1629″ also sounds like great reading.

  79. Koby Says:

    Today, the last Viking Invasion of England ended at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, where, Harold Godwinson defeated Harald Hardrada, with some 6000 Viking, among them Hardrada and Tostig Godwinson, Harold’s brother, dead on the field. In addition, William d’Aubigny, Earl of Arundel, who married Adeliza of Louvain died today.

  80. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I just looked for it in the blog archive, Joan. BTW, I love William d’Aubigny in Elizabeth Chadwick’s Lady of the English. I wish the real William was just as the author created him.

    Rania recommended a novel on Harald Hardrada entitled Byzantium (by Michael Ennis).

  81. Joan Says:

    Kasia, is d”Aubigny the French name for d’Albini? I don’t know about his real life. I’m leafing through the novel again & must reread the entire book…..Elizabeth Chadwick is my 2nd fave historical novelist, after Sharon. Do you think Matilda & Brian Fitzcount held that kind of attraction for each other? I love this, page 125…….”Their cloaks billowed against each other, performing a wild mating dance.” Her imagery is brilliant. I will eventually get back to the Vikings, thanks for mentioning the novel.

  82. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Yes, it is, Joan. And I do agree, Sharon and Elizabeth are my favourite historical fiction authors :-)

    On this day in 1066 Henry the Young King’s great-great-grandfather, William I (c1028-1087), better known as William the Conqueror, landed in Pevensey Bay, England. In sixteen days he would be celebrating the victory that would change the course of British history forever.

    And exactly forty years later, in 1106, the Conqueror’s sons, the eldest and the youngest met on the battlefield at Tinchebrai, Normandy. The youngest [later great-grandfather of Henry the Young King] won a decisive victory and captured the eldest. Henry I, king of England and Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy, for these were the men, had been fighting over their inheritance for twenty years. Henry’s victory ended the strife and reunited England and Normandy under a single ruler.

  83. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, we miss you. When will you be back? <3

  84. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    The <3 thing was supposed to be the “heart”. This is, at least, how it works on FB :-)

  85. Joan Says:

    Ditto! I can hardly wait to hear all the stories of the tour. Do hope some of it will be posted, just as the Eleanor tour was.

  86. Ken john Says:

    Koby. Got your message on FB. Will try posting this myself.

  87. Stephanie Says:

    I’m just test posting to see if my posts are accepted here as Koby seems to be having trouble getting his posts to show up.

  88. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Just to check if my comment appears, Koby!

  89. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    It’s here, so I have no idea what is the problem.

    I just want to mention that on this day in 1173, n the course of the Great Revolt, Robert earl of Leicester, one of Henry the Young King’s chief allies, together with his formidable wife, Petronella and a large force of Normans and Flemings ‘both horse and foot’ landed at Walton in Suffolk after having received the news that the city of Leicester had fallen into Henry II’s hands.

  90. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    Well, I am back on my side of the Atlantic, still seriously jet-lagged. I had a wonderful time, although three weeks was probably too long to set such a hectic pace for someone with my chronic back problems. I plan to blog about the Richard III Tour, of course, and about my other adventures on the second half of my trip. But the deadline dragon has already pounced and is moving in for the kill, as I have to go over the copy-edited manuscript and do the Author’s Note ASAP, and if I do not give them priority, I would have to give serious consideration to joining the Witness Protection Program. I will pop up here when I can; even deadline dragons need to nap occasionally, after all.
    In other news, I was very happy to come home just as a judge ruled that same-sex marriages should be legal in New Jersey; I see this as an important civil rights issue. I was happy, too, to snare a copy of the new Bernard Cornwell novel, The Pagan Lord, which won’t be published in the US until January, although I was baffled to see that it has been given some unfavorable Amazon reviews simply because these readers felt it was not long enough, being “only” 300 pages. Someone even called it a novella!
    The controversy over Richard III’s burial continues, now focusing upon the tomb design proposed by Leicester. Our tour members agreed that our visit to Leicester was the high point of the tour, so I’ll have lots more on all of this in the future.
    Oh, and Holly managed the impossible, gaining a full pound even though she’d been on a strict diet while I was gone.
    Meanwhile, please wish me luck in this unending war with the deadline dragon. I suspect I will be needing lots of luck in my current jet-lagged state.

  91. Joan Says:

    Welcome back, Sharon! I’m looking forward to hearing of the tour. Especially since I’ve just received my hardcover copy of the gorgeous new edition of Sunne & already engrossed in it. I find it incredible that this is a debut novel, such brilliance. I hope you recoup soon….take care.

  92. Koby Says:

    Welcome back, Sharon. I hope my comment reaches you this time… continuing out of habit, today Eleanor of Provence gave birth to Margaret Queen of Scots, daughter of Henry III [IV]. Also, Frederick II ‘Stupor Mundi’, Holy Roman Emperor, was excommunicated today by Pope Gregory IX for not fulfilling his crusading vow. He would go on crusade excommunicate, and win back Jerusalem through negotiation.

  93. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Wonderful to have you back, Sharon! Good luck with the dragon :-)

  94. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I have already posted this on Sharon FB Fan Club Page, but just in case it gets lost somewhere amidst the other posts :-)

    Today marks the anniversary of a meeting that brought the Great Revolt of 1173-74 to an end.The victoriuos Henry II held a conference at Mountlouis, between Tours and Amboise, which began the day before, on Michaelmas, being one of the traditional days for peacemaking in the medieval calendar. Henry the Young King and his younger brothers had no other choice but to accept their father’s terms. The young Henry received two castles in Normandy and £ 15,000 in Angevin currency per annum, but he was to allow his youngest brother John to have Nottingham, Marlborough, and estates in Normandy and Anjou to the value of £ 2,000 annually, plus five castles. Richard received two castles and half the revenues of Poitou, and Geoffrey received half the inheritance of his future wife, Constance, the heiress to Brittany. A general amnesty was granted, with the notable exceptions of William I of Scotland, the earls of Chester and Leicester, and a Breton lord Ralph de Fourages.

    I love how Sharon described the meeting in Devil’s Brood, pp.268-272, UK hardback edtion. No one will ever capture the young Henry’s character as perfectly as she did. Thank you, Sharon!

  95. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Koby, I’m to have you back too :-)

  96. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Gee, I missed “happy” somehow. I beg your forgiveness :-)

  97. Koby Says:

    Well, yesterday did not work… Maybe today will?
    Thank you Kasia, though unfortunately it seems I am not fully back…
    Today, Alexander of Macedon won the world by defeating Darius III at the Battle of Gaugamela, Henry III [IV] of England was born, and Mary I of England was crowned.

  98. skpenman Says:

    Kasia, thank you so much for such a lovely compliment.
    Koby, has my blog been refusing your comments? I did not see any of yours held hostage in the Approve Folder?

    The deadline dragon has me backed into a corner, breathing so much fire that the house is shrouded in smoke. So I will be MIA again for a while. I did want to share a photo of a wonderful day at Dover with John Phillips, Stephanie Churchill Ling and her husband, Steve. Unfortunately, I cannot do so here, but I have posted it on my Facebook pages if anyone is interested. They have renovated the castle so that the interior looks as it would have done in the time of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. I would not have missed this for the world! Needless to say, I won’t be able to do any new blogs till the copy-edited ms is done; wish me luck.

  99. skpenman Says:

    This has surely been the best year in over five centuries for the last Plantagenet king. Happy Birthday, Richard III, born at Fotheringhay on October 2, 1452. John and I were at the church in Fotheringhay last week and I was pleased to see that a celebration was planned in Richard’s honor on this day.

  100. Joan Says:

    I’ll join you in wishing Richard greetings of the day. I have finally made a breakthrough in trying to understand the relationships of the vast cast of characters involved in the 2 Houses and how the situation developed in the first place. I chart my own family trees with bits of helpful info, but the real pleasure is finding everyone fleshed out in Sunne & getting to know them on a personal level.

  101. skpenman Says:

    Melusine is evil. No other explanation for her latest sabotage, which involved erasing all of the work I’d been doing on the electronic version of the copy-edited manuscript. I’ll spare you the gory details, will say only that her time is coming, and it will involve an encounter with an asphalt street and a bulldozer. Only the computer gods know when I can surface again, so here is an interesting article about a favorite medieval king of most of us. Who knew he spoke with a lilt????

  102. Koby Says:

    My comments are still not working; but perhaps the affliction has moved on to Melusine? Let us try again, and hope both the comments here and Melusine return to normal:
    Today, Alys, Countess of the Vexin was born. She was betrothed to Richard, rumored to have had an affair with Henry II, offered to John. In the end, she was released and married the Count of Ponthieu. Ironically enough, her daughter Marie, Countess of Ponthieu was Eleanor of Castile’s grandmother, so she got her descendants as Kings of England in the end…

  103. skpenman Says:

    She has several scenes in Ransom, Koby. Philippe seems to have wed her in great haste to the young Count of Ponthieu–he was only 17 so she was old enough to be his mother–with the crafty idea that she was not likely to give him an heir and his lands would then have reverted to the Crown. She did give him a daughter, though, so if that was indeed his plan (it does sound like Philippe), she thwarted it. I have always hoped she found some happiness in motherhood. The fates owed her that.

  104. Malcolm Craig Says:

    Kasia, regarding your Sept. 30 summary, the Breton lord was Ralph (or Raoul) de Fougères. In Devil’s Brood, Sharon set the marriage of Geoffrey and Constance at Fougères. If you are ever in eastern Brittany, that city is well worth a visit. The castle is impressive, though I have always found its location odd. (Sorry for the delay to this small correction. This is a busy time with work, baseball, opera, etc.)

  105. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Malcolm, thanks! I was in a hurry and later did not check the spelling. De Fougeres, of course. So there still the castle to be seen! Dating back to the times when Raoul was its lord? Why have you found its location odd?

  106. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    There is a great deal to be seen of Fougeres, Kasia. It is well worth a visit. I am guessing Malcolm thinks its location is odd for the same reason that I do. Castles were almost always built on elevated sites for strategic reasons. But Fougeres is a rare exception. This may be one reason why Henry II took it in just one day and razed it to the ground. Raoul de Fougeres rebuilt it, though, and on the exact same spot!
    Fougeres figures in several scenes in my mystery, Prince of Darkness. Here is Justin’s first sight of the castle:
    * * *
    Fougeres was less than twenty miles to the northeast of Vitre, and by pushing their horses, they reached it just before dusk. At first glimpse the castle appeared to be one of the most formidable strongholds Justin had ever seen, a rock-hewn fortress surrounded by miles of marshland and moated by the serpentine winding of the River Nancon. But as they approached, something struck him as odd about those massive defenses. Durand, with a more experienced eye, needed but one look.
    “What sort of dolt would build a castle down in the valley instead of up on the heights?” he said incredulously and Justin realized he was right; he’d never before seen a castle located on low ground.
    * * *
    I was scolded by a British reader, though, for saying that. He wrote that since Justin grew up in Shropshire and Cheshire, he’d have been familiar with Whittington Castle, which is also located on flat ground! Justin’s second visit to Fougeres is much more unpleasant, for he and Durand find themselves cast into one of its underground dungeons.

  107. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    I have finished the copy-edited ms for Putnam’s, now need to go over it for my British publisher. Then the fun really begins—the Author’s Note, which is always the most challenging task for me, often harder than the book itself. But the solitary confinement ought to be over and I hope to be able to drop by now and then. It is likely to be a while, though, before I can start blogging about the Richard III tour. Meanwhile, here is a bittersweet story about a chimpanzee who spent sixteen years in a cage and who has now been set free in a sanctuary in Cameroon. What is so amazing is that he did not know how to communicate with other chimpanzees because of his long isolation, and that often triggers aggression. But they seem to understand that he is “different” and the dominant male has taken Bazou under his wing. So there is a happy ending, albeit sixteen years late.

  108. skpenman Says:

    On October 9, 1192, Richard I sailed from Acre for home, or so he thought. It was probably just as well that he did not know what lay in store for him—savage storms at sea, two shipwrecks, an encounter with pirates, a wild dash across the heart of the Hohenstaufen empire, capture in an Austrian village, and imprisonment that violated both the laws of war and the laws of the Church. But having the high moral ground was not much help when dealing with a sociopath. All this, of course, will be dramatized in A King’s Ransom. So here is the ending paragraph of Lionheart, a crusader chronicle reporting that he did indeed pray fir Outremer’s survival until he could return to fulfill his holy vow.
    * * *
    They’d chosen to depart at dusk so they could sail by the stars. Earlier that day, it had been overcast, but brisk winds had scattered the clouds. As the buss raised anchor and headed out of the harbor, most of the men on deck were looking toward the horizon, where the sky was streaking with the dying rays of the setting sun. But Richard kept his eyes upon Acre, slowly disappearing into the distance. “Outremer,” he said softly, “I commend you to God. May He grant me the time I need to come back to your aid.” He stayed where he was, not moving until darkness swallowed up the shore and all he could see was the endless, rolling sea and the glittering stars, brilliant and cold and eternal.
    * * *

  109. Koby Says:

    Indeed, Sharon. Also today, Isabella of Angouleme was crowned Queen of England.

  110. skpenman Says:

    I am sure there were some important medieval happenings on this date in medieval history; the marriage of the Black Prince to the Fair Maid of Kent comes to mind. But for me, October 10th matters most as the entrance upon the world stage of my friend Paula Mildenhall. Happy Birthday, Paula!

  111. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, it seems that we have all missed one important anniversary. On 10 October 1241, Eleanor of Brittany died probably atBristol and was buried at St.James Convent, Bristol, whence her body was transferredto the convent of Amesbury, Wiltshire.

    In 1268, her cousin, Henry III, gave the manor of Melksham, Wiltshire to Amesbury for hers and her brother’s Arthur’s souls.

  112. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Oops, I may be in the wrong. I have just come across the info that she died on 10 August 1241. Which is the right date?

  113. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I’ve checked in Falls the Shadow, for I remembered that Llelo learned about Eleanor’s death while in Shrewsbury. Now, I know my notebook has been in the wrong :-) My apologies.

  114. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    I got a shock yesterday. Several of my American readers had told me they’d been unable to buy the new British hardcover edition of Sunne, that they kept getting an “out of stock” message. When I checked, the same thing happened to me, so I e-mailed my editor at Macmillan. She was away but she got back to me as soon as she returned, and I was utterly taken aback by her response. She said that Book Depository will not sell British books to American readers! Now we all know that with e-books, geography is destiny, but real books? My editor said that Macmillan does not have the legal right to sell their books in America and if Book Depository was selling in defiance of borders in the past, they should not have been doing that.

    Like many of you, I’ve bought British books from Book Depository without any problem, but now they seem to be enforcing this insane policy. And Sunne is not the only victim. Americans cannot buy the new Bernard Cornwell, the Pagan Lord, either. They show only the American edition for pre-order; when I searched for the UK edition, which came out in September, even including the ISBN number, I was told there was no such book! And to add insult to injury, Book Depository is hiding behind weasel words like “out of stock,” instead of being honest and saying they won’t sell the books to us. I assume they will not sell American books to British readers, either.

    So this is bad news for my non-British readers who’d hoped to buy the new Sunne. To compound the lunacy of this, Sunne is not taking sales away from my American publisher. There has not been a hardcover edition in the US since 1982! is still selling Sunne to American readers, but I suppose that could change at any moment; and of course, the mailing costs are quite high for these transatlantic sales. So once again the ants are crushed when the elephants fight, and guess who are the ants? Us, of course, the book-buying public.

  115. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    This is a test to see if I can post this. For several days now, I’ve been frozen out of my own blog. How insulting is that?

  116. Koby Says:

    We’ve all (or at least Kasia and I) been suffering the same, Sharon, so at least you are in good company, if I may say so myself.
    Today, John I lost his crown jewels and much of his equipment in the Wash. Sick, he spent this night at Swineshead Abbey, and would die a week later. Also, Edward VI [V] of England was born today.
    I will not be around for the next fortnight; I am going off to Officer’s Training in the morning, and I will not (or at least, should not) have access to the internet, nor indeed the time for it. In any case, all best wishes to all of you; I am certain Kasia, Rania and Sharon will cover for me.

  117. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    We’ll miss you, Koby. Good luck; I think you’ll make a superb officer!

    The University of Leicester is offering a free six-week on-line course about England in the time of Richard III, beginning in late November. Here is the link.

  118. skpenman Says:

    October 13th was an incredibly busy day from a historical standpoint. So fasten your seat belts for this one.
    On October 13, 54 AD, the Roman emperor Claudius was poisoned. I am sure that thousands are like me, having gleaned most of what we know about Claudius from the brilliant television series, I, Claudius, based upon the equally brilliant novel by Robert Graves. The wonderful actor Derek Jacobi played Claudius as a very sympathetic character who was extraordinarily unlucky in his choice of wives, including the notorious Messalina and Agrippina, who is believed to have murdered him to gain the crown for her son, Nero. The series is available on DVD for those who’ve never seen this classic.
    On October 13, 1162, Leonora, the second daughter of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, was born. She would become Queen of Castile, winning the affection of her husband and his subjects. She is one of the two children who outlived their mother, the other being John. She seems to have had a happy marriage, but there was much tragedy in her life due to the deaths of so many of her children. The abbot of Mont St Michel was her godfather. Like all of Henry and Eleanor’s children, she was said to be very attractive, and a later Spanish chronicle described her as having dark hair.
    On October 13, 1278, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd wed Ellen de Montfort at Worcester Cathedral. They’d actually been wed by proxy but Edward I then had the bride kidnapped by a pirate in his pay and held her prisoner for 3 years as he sought to extract as many concessions as possible from Llywelyn. Edward paid for the wedding and then blackmailed Llywelyn into making even more concessions on the eve of the wedding. Knowing his sense of humor, I do not think it was coincidence that he scheduled it on October 13th, which was the feast day of St Edward. Llywelyn and Ellen’s marriage appears to have been a happy one, but I doubt that they enjoyed the wedding itself.
    On October 13, 1307, the grasping, unscrupulous French King, Philippe IV, ordered the arrest of the Templars. You will occasionally see October 13, 1244 give as the birthdate of the last Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, but there is no evidence for that as we are not even sure of the date of his birth year.
    On October 13, 1399, Henry IV was crowned at Westminster as the first Lancastrian king, having deposed and probably murdered his cousin Richard II, his usurpation laying the seeds for the Wars of the Roses. Brian Wainwright has written an excellent novel about Henry’s reign, Within the Fetterlock.
    On October 13, 1453, the only child of Marguerite d’Anjou and the hapless Henry VI was born, Edward of Lancaster, who would die at seventeen at the battle of Tewkesbury.
    It is sometimes claimed that October 13, 1537 was the birthday of the Nine Days Queen, Jane Grey, but that is open to dispute, with some historians believing that she was born earlier than that, possibly even in 1536. Susan Higginbotham has written a novel about Jane, Her Highness, the Traitor. I’ve always had great sympathy for Jane, the ultimate political pawn.

  119. Koby Says:

    It appears as though I have soem free time and interenet access here in trainigng, which has been interestign and not too hard so far. Today, the Battle of Hastings took place, where William the Bastard became William the Conqueror, with Harold Godwinson and his two brothers dying on the field.

  120. Koby Says:

    It appears as though I have soem free time and interenet access here in trainigng, which has been interestign and not too hard so far. Today, the Battle of Hastings took place, where William the Bastard became William the Conqueror, with Harold Godwinson and his two brothers dying on the field.

  121. skpenman Says:

    I hope you can still “chat” with us, then, Koby, from time to time.

    October 14, 1066 was the date of one of the Middle Age’s most significant battles, as William the Conqueror’s triumph at Hastings over the Saxon king, Harold, dramatically changed the history of several countries, among them England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and France. And on October 14, 1322, Robert the Bruce inflicted a humiliating defeat upon Edward II at the battle of Byland Moor, forcing the English king to recognize the independence of Scotland.
    Now onto England’s golden age, the reign of Elizabeth. Grace Tiffany, a Shakespeare scholar, university professor, and author, has a new novel out, Paint, set in Elizabethan England. I have not had a chance to read it yet, but I read an earlier novel by Grace, My Father Had a Daughter, about Judith Shakespeare, and I enjoyed it enormously, so I have high expectations for Paint. Grace also has a very entertaining blog, And for readers who’d like to find out more about her books, here are links to Paint and My Father had a Daughter.

  122. jackie clarke Says:

    just received my new copy of Sunne in splendour love the new paper back very battered after thirty years. I will now start to enjoy a new read.already reserved Kings Ransom.what shall we do without the plantagenets after all these years

  123. jackie clarke Says:

    just received my new copy of Sunne in splendour love the new paper back very battered after thirty years. I will now start to enjoy a new read.already reserved Kings Ransom.what shall we do without the plantagenets after all these years

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