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TIME AND CHANCE, the second part of the trilogy about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, opens during the glory years of their reign. While Henry redefined the role of medieval kingship, Eleanor gave birth to their children, founding a dynasty that would endure for 300 years. But even in these happy times, shadows were lurking. Battles on two borders. The disastrous appointment of Thomas Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury. And when Henry took lovely young Rosumund Clifford into his bed, little did he realise that in making an enemy of his proud, passionate queen he was making the gravest mistake of all ...

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780140270778
ISBN-10: 0140270779
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 30mm)
Pages: 496
Imprint: Penguin Books Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publish Date: 24-Apr-2003
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » Since the runaway success of her first novel, The Sunne in Splendour, Sharon Penman has been regarded as one of the foremost exponents of historical fiction. She is a vivacious, captivating storyteller and an enthusiastic historian, whose passion for her subject permeates every line of her complex novels. This is the second part of her ambitious trilogy chronicling the lives and times of Henry II and his formidable queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. These two dynamic characters are realized with insight and sensitivity; they are no longer the two-dimensional figures from the history books, but passionate human beings susceptible to emotions familiar to us all - rage, jealousy, lust and the thirst for power. Their turbulent personal relationship reflects the upheavals in Henry's kingdom; war with the Welsh, constant forays into France to settle old scores with Eleanor's first husband, King Louis VII, but, above all, conflict with Thomas Becket. The power struggle between Henry and the Archbishop of Canterbury, his former ally and Chancellor, proves more damaging to his credibility as ruler than the blood spilt in Wales or France. His decision to elevate the ambitious Becket, with his love of fine clothes and a luxurious lifestyle, to the highest position in the Church is a serious error of judgement. Becket soon casts off his former profligacy, embracing his new role with zeal, donning a hair shirt and regularly practising self-flagellation. Henry places his trust in his closest friend and ally, only to feel cruelly betrayed. Penman, as always, has conducted her research in painstaking detail, and delivers a brilliant novel concerning the devastating effects of the lust for power. She transforms the occasionally pedestrian minutiae of 12th-century political and ecclesiastical intrigue into a fascinating story. These three mighty figures, Henry, Eleanor and Becket, dominate the entire novel, drawing a whole host of other players under their spell. There is Henry's uncle, Ranulf, whose loyalties are torn between the English king, and his passionate love for his adopted country, Wales; the tantalising but naive Rosamund Clifford who lures the king to her bed, thus threatening the stability of his kingdom and his marriage; Hywel, the poetic heir to the Welsh throne, who can wield a pen as effectively as a sword. This is another powerful novel from a writer who brings the past to life by the brilliance of her writing, but never compromises on her search for historical veracity. Avid Sharon Penman fans and dedicated historians alike will find this novel utterly enthralling. (Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - Sharon Penman

Sharon Penman has been hailed by Publishers' Weekly as 'an historical novelist of the first rank'. Her bestselling debut about Richard III, THE SUNNE IN SPLENDOUR (1982) was a worldwide hit, and her acclaimed Welsh trilogy was similarly successful. WHEN CHRIST AND HIS SAINTS SLEPT (1994) is the first part of the trilogy which this book continues.

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