Editions. Here be Dragons . Sharon Penman · Paperback. Buy from Buy from – arrow icon. Hive · Waterstones · Amazon. An absorbing. Set in the 13th Century, Here Be Dragons is the story of King John and his England. A paradoxical man, he was charming, generous, clever — and he was. Thirteenth-century Wales is a divided country, ever at the mercy of England’s ruthless, power-hungry King John. Then Llewelyn, Prince of North.

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Much has already been said about this excellent novel, so suffice to say that I enjoyed reading it, and that I look forward to completing the trilogy. Check out the top books of the year on our page Best Books of A wonderful book, Here Be Dragons is definitely one of my favourite novels ever.

Definitely one of the best mediaeval historical novels out there-a real page turnerthat you won’t be able to put down. Penman draws the reader into the world of the thirteenth century so thoroughly that it is difficult to leave it.

Penman does not give John the hero’s halo she awarded to Richard, but still this is a convincing portrait of a fascinating and fictionally, at least often neglected king.

At 14, he began a civil war; by 21, he held all North Wales. It also brought back memories of Daughter of the Forestyet with more sex and much more violence.

Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman – Burton Book Review – Leafing through history

England’s power-hungry King John arranges a marriage between his youngest daughter, Joanna, and his rival, Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, a young leader who intends to unite all of Wales, in a saga set against the vivid backdrop of thirteenth-century Wales.

My friend Jill told me the romance between Llewelyn and Joanna was one of her top favorites.

Retrieved from ” https: Joanna’s character is easily likable, until she commits a sin so grievous that I penmaj an issue with even continuing the book. Imagine Outlander with less sex hey, where are you going?


If you truly want to learn history, this is the book. Despite a time period anchored and defined by war, Penman does a good job of giving you a few snippets of exciting war strategies instead of lengthy descriptions of tedious war so she could focus the bulk of her pages on the conflicting passions and motives that drive war, particularly those of King John of England, Llewelyn the Great of Wales, and Johana, John’s daughter and Llewelyn’s wife.

Despite the piles of glowing reviews for SKP’s medieval books, I kept my expectations low — but alas. To tell the story of John and his times, and scan sragons 12th-century muddle of wars, uneasy alliances, fragons shifts and inter-dynastic marriages, Penman highlights the career of John via the life of his illegitimate daughter, Joanna, whom he married off to Prince Llewelyn, overlord of northern Wales.

I’ve already bought the next 2 books in the series Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning. So far, I Let’s just say I lost sleep to keep reading this page-turner of a historical novel.

Llewellyn spends years battling and conquering his uncles to become Prince of Wales and none of it is shown. Now, I have to confess that, as well constructed as Joanna was, I didn’t like her much. View all 7 comments.

Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman

You can always see the situations through everyone’s eyes, so you can sympathize with everyone. You need to be able to emerge yourself into Penman’s saga to enjoy it to it’s fullest.

Maintaining historical accuracy in how these people thought, spoke and lived makes their vivid reality even more amazing.

This is one of my favorite books But if you prefer your historical fiction to be painstakingly accurate, with a complex love story, and just plain awesome, this is the book for you. Joanna, John, Llewelyn, and the other big players are the real deal. The setting, the customs and laws, the details, the attitudes – it’s all been splendidly researched I’m sure. Refresh and try again. We still use power and ignorance to fuel our wars and pride and wounded egos to justify them.


The saga of the Plantagenets was much better known, but not many people were familiar with medieval Wales or its princes. Retrieved February 17, I have learned the hard way that life goes on hold when I am in the grips of this magnificent story. Languages Cymraeg Edit links. I found them all ultimately sympathetic, but there’s a lot of gray area and controversial decisions, just what I like in fiction. Most authors start off talking about their writing process. Regardless, I did get into the story and I did enjoy it.

It is also the story of his young wife, Joanna, King John of England’s beloved but bastard daughter, and her struggle to be loyal to be her husband and her father – both of whom she loved.

The character development is excellent, with nuanced portraits of each. I loved this book about one of my historical heroes Llewellyn Fawr when I first read it but on this re-read I was much irritated by the writing forsoothly, by the repetition of all the worst gossip about John and by the manifest acceptance of Richard I as a homosexual when there is no actual evidence that this was so nor did the concept of sexual orientation exist in the Medieval world.

Although somewhat anachronistic in tone and diction, Penman’s book neatly untangles a portion of the crisscross politics of the time.

I was so sorry to reach the last page. I have never read a book with better bs. Joanna and Llewelyn’s marriage is marred by resentment from Llewelyn’s illegitimate son, Gruffydd.