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Lionheart Bibliography

More and more of my readers have been asking me to include a bibliography for my novels.  I have begun listing some of my sources on my website and blog, but that doesn’t help those readers without internet access.  So I am going to cite here the cream of the crop, those books I found to be most helpful and most reliable.  The gold standard for Ricardian biographies remains John Gillingham’s Richard I, published in 1999 by the Yale University Press; he has also written Richard Coeur de Lion; Kingship, Chivalry, and War in the Twelfth CenturyThe Reign of Richard Lionheart by Ralph Turner and Richard R. Heiser does not address the most consequential and fateful event of Richard’s life—the Third Crusade—but it does cover the remainder of his reign and has an excellent concluding chapter called “Richard in Retrospect,?which analyses the way his reputation has fluctuated over the centuries.  Kate Norgate’s Richard the Lionheart, published in 1924, has stood the test of time surprisingly well.  In all honesty, I have not read the second half of Frank McLynn’s Richard and John, Kings at War, but the half of the book about Richard is accurate and insightful.   I also recommend Richard Coeur de Lion in History and Muth, edited by Janet Nelson, The Legends of King Richard I Coeur de Lion, by Bradford Broughton, and The Plantagenet Empire, by Martin Aurell, translated by David Crouch.  

My favorite book about Richard’s mother is Eleanor of Aquitaine, Lord and Lady, a notable collection of essays edited by Bonnie Wheeler.  There are a number of biographies written about Eleanor, more than Henry, which would probably not please him much.  Just to list a few of her biographers: Ralph Turner, Regine Peroud, Allison Weir, Regine Pernaud, Jean Flori, Douglas Boyd, D.D. R Owen,Marion Meade, and Amy Kelly, though the last two authors?conclusions about the so-called Courts of Love are no longer accepted.  I also recommend The World of Eleanor of Aquitaine: Literature and Society in Southern France between the Eleventh and Thirteenth Centuries, edited by Marcus Bull and Catherine Leglu, and Eleanor of Aquitaine, Courtly Love, and the Troubadours, by Ffiona Swabey.

I was blessed with a treasure-trove while researching and writing Lionheart—two chronicles written by men who’d accompanied Richard on crusade, and two by members of Salah al-Din’s inner circle.   I felt very fortunate to have access to Helen Nicholson’s translation of The Chronicle of the Third Crusade, the Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi, and Marianne Ailes’s translation of The History of the Holy War; Ambroise’s Estoire de la Guerre Sainte; these wonderful books make fascinating reading and provide invaluable footnotes about the persons and places mentioned in the texts. Another crusader chronicle is The Conquest of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade, Sources in Translation, by Peter W. Edbury, and then there is Chronicles of the Crusades, edited by Elizabeth Hallam.  Baha al-Din ibn Shaddad wrote a compelling account of his time with Salah al-Din; in Lionheart, I quoted from the 19th century edition, Saladin or What Befell Sultan Yusuf, translated by the Palestine Pilgrims?Text Society, but there is a more modern translation by D. S. Richards, complete with annotated notes, titled The Rare and Excellent History of Saladin.  Other contemporary chronicles are The Chronicle of Ibn al-Athir for the Crusading Period, from al-Kamil fi’l-ta’rikh, Part 2, also translated by D.S. Richards, and a chronicle written by one of Salah al-Din’s scribes, Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani, translated into French by Henri Masse as Conquete de la Syrie et de la Palestaine par Saladin.  There is also Arab Historians of the Crusades, translated by Francesco Gabrieli. Non-crusading chronicles include The Chronicle of Richard of Devizes, translated by J.A. Giles, The History of William of Newburgh, translated by Joseph Stevenson, The Annals of Roger de Hoveden, translated by Henry T. Riley, and History of William Marshal, translated by S. Gregory and annotated by D. Crouch.

Moving on to Sicily and Cyprus, there is The Travels of Ibn Jubayr, translated by Roland Broadhurst, a remarkable account of a pilgrimage to Mecca made by a Spanish Muslim in 1182-1183; his description of a deadly storm in the Straits of Messina was my inspiration for Alicia’s shipwreck in Chapter One of LionheartThe Kingdom in the Sun by John Julius Norwich is a beautifully written book about Norman Sicily, although his “take?on Richard is outdated.  Another outstanding book about Sicily is Admiral Eugenius of Sicily, his Life and Work and the Authorship of the Epistola ad Petrum and the Historia Hugonis Falcandi Siculi, by Evelyn Jamison; it is, however, almost as hard to find as the Holy Grail.  For the history of medieval Cyprus, readers need look no further than Peter Edbury’s The Kingdom of Cyprus and the Crusades, 1191-1374.

The best book about the Crusades, IMHO, is Thomas Asbridge’s riveting The Crusades.  Other books on my list include God’s War, by Christopher Tyerman, Holy Warriors, a Modern History of the Crusades, by Jonathan Phillips, Fighting for the Cross, by Norman Housley, the six volume A History of the Crusades, edited by Kenneth Setton, and The Assassins, by Bernard Lewis.  The definitive study of Salah al-Din is still Saladin; the Politics of the Holy War, by Malcolm Cameron Lyons and D.E.P. Jackson.  I also recommend The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives, by Carole Hillenbrand.  Some social histories are The World of the Crusaders, by Joshua Prawer, The Crusaders in the Holy Land, by Meron Benvenisti, Medicine in the Crusades, by Piers D. Mitchell, and Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World, by James E. Lindsay.  For books dealing with warfare during the Crusades, a classic study is Crusading Warfare, 1097-1193, by R.C. Smail; there is also David Nicolle’s two volume Crusader Warfare.

Lastly, for books that cover medieval warfare in general, I have several exceptional books to recommend:  By Fire and Sword; Cruelty and Atrocity in Medieval Warfare, by Sean McGlynn, Noble Ideals and Bloody Realities; Warfare in the Middle Ages, edited by Niall Christie and Maya Yazigi, Western Warfare in the Ages of the Crusades, 1000-1300, by John France, Tolerance and Intolerance; Social Conflict in the Age of the Crusades, edited by Michael Gervers and James M. Powell, and War and Chivalry; the Conduct and Perception of War in England and Normandy, 1066-1217, by Matthew Strickland.    

A King's Ransom



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Sharon Kay Penman
author of Lionheart, Devil's Brood,
When Christ and His Saints Slept
and Time and Chance
from Penguin Putnam

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