This is the second book in Sharon Penman's trilogy about Henry II of England and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine.
What I particularly enjoyed in this and her previous book 'When Christ and His Servants Slept', is the addition of a fictional character - Ranulf. Torn between his loyalty to the English Crown and his Welsh family his plight highlights the political climate of the era.
Sharon Penman adds flesh and blood to these shady historical figures and the Middle Ages emerge in full three dimensional colour. Her historical content is faultless and is paired with superb writing craft. Every word counts and she can convey so much in so few words. And best of all her characters leap off the page, full of life and breath and complex personalities.
This is an entry for the 2011 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge