The Sunne In Splendour

The Sunne In Splendour

Book - 1990
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"The reader is left with the haunting sensation that perhaps the good a man does can live after him--especially in the hands of a dedicated historian."SAN DIEGO UNIONIn this stirring historical novel, Sharon Kay Penman redeems Richard III from his villainous role in history as the hulking, evil hunchback. This dazzling recreation of his life is filled with the sights and sounds of battle, and the passions of the highborn. Most of all, it brings to life a gifted man whose greatest sin was that he held principles too firmly for the times in which he lived, and loved too deeply to survive love's loss.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 1990, c1982.
Edition: 1st Ballantine Books ed.
ISBN: 9780345363138
0345363132
Characteristics: 936 p. :,ill. ;,25 cm.

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k
ksilverbears
May 28, 2014

Penman's work brings to life all the central York and many of the Plantagent nobility during the reigns of mad king Harry, Edward II, Richard III, and the start of Henry VII's. She excels at everything from boardroom to bedroom, making this a fabulous choice for both sexes interested in historical fiction.

e
eloisatown
Oct 07, 2013

Almost done this fabulous book. Well written in a steady pace that is both engrossing and interesting. History lovers like myself will really enjoy Penman's good balance of battles and drama! I highly recommend this novel to anyone fascinated by the late medieval/early modern periods.

j
jjcho82
Dec 07, 2012

If you like watching the Showtime TV show The Tudors, you'll love this book. It's a long book, but a serious pageturner packed with suspense and a constant string of overlapping drama-- war, love, hate, battlefields, jealousy, trust, loyalty, deceit, conspiracy, incest, seduction, monogamy, polygamy-- and all this based on real historical accounts. Sunne in Splendour is about the life of Richard III (1452-1485), a long-time controversial character in English history. The book starts with Richard's life at age 7, a civil war that tore his family apart and killed several of his kins, including his father and brother. The House of York (Richard's family) is at civil war with the Lancastrians in pursuit of the crown.

According to the Afterword, all but one major character in the book are real people. The author is a historian who studied the life of Richard III. The book provides an alternative perspective to popular knowledge of Richard's character and life events. Richard's life was widely slandered by his enemies after his death: a great case of victors write history. If you read Shakespeare's account of Richard III, you find a tragic story of a horrible person who lived a horrible life. Reading Sunne in Splendour, you'll find yourself sympathizing with all the characters, and that they lived wretched lives because the world was ill-ordered back then. There's constant ambition to spill blood in pursuit of wealth and power, while trust and true friendship was rare.

j
Jamlady
Mar 14, 2012

I really love this author! Penman makes the characters come alive.

m
madelinemm
Aug 23, 2011

One of my all-time favorite books. Incredibly engrossing, well worth every page. Sharon Kay Penman is my favorite author, this and "Here Be Dragons" are my favorites, worth reading over and over again.

p
petehoover98118
Jul 01, 2011

At 936 pages, book is too long. Would have been better to make it into two books, as first half deals with reign of Edward IV and second half with Richard III.
Not sufficient editorial control, as while the subjects of her sentences is clear to Ms. Penman, they're not always clear to the reader! Some whole pages of the book had to be read several times to find the antecedent of a significant pronoun, and there were times when the antecedent of a pronoun followed the sentence by quite a bit!
In addition, with multiple characters having the same name, it's quite frustrating to be thinking you're reading about one person, only to find out halfway through a chapter that you're reading about that person's granddaughter!
By the time book was over, I was almost ready to kill Richard III myself, and his end was anti-climactic and over-drawn-out.

SB2000 May 04, 2011

Perhaps the best historical fiction written abou thtis period ever!

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j
jjcho82
Dec 07, 2012

If you like watching the Showtime TV show The Tudors, you'll love this book. It's a long book, but a serious pageturner packed with suspense and a constant string of overlapping drama-- war, love, hate, battlefields, jealousy, trust, loyalty, deceit, conspiracy, incest, seduction, monogamy, polygamy-- and all this based on real historical accounts. Sunne in Splendour is about the life of Richard III (1452-1485), a long-time controversial character in English history. The book starts with Richard's life at age 7, a civil war that tore his family apart and killed several of his kins, including his father and brother. The House of York (Richard's family) is at civil war with the Lancastrians in pursuit of the crown.

According to the Afterword, all but one major character in the book are real people. The author is a historian who studied the life of Richard III. The book provides an alternative perspective to popular knowledge of Richard's character and life events. Richard's life was widely slandered by his enemies after his death: a great case of victors write history. If you read Shakespeare's account of Richard III, you find a tragic story of a horrible person who lived a horrible life. Reading Sunne in Splendour, you'll find yourself sympathizing with all the characters, and that they lived wretched lives because the world was ill-ordered back then. There's constant ambition to spill blood in pursuit of wealth and power, while trust and true friendship was rare.

Stylistically, this book is beautifully written. Not only is it a great fictional pageturner, but the author also did a great job giving readers a vivid picture of how life was like back in the medieval times. The streets, the buildings, sounds, smells, people's clothes, their gender roles, even their body size and stature are depicted in this story. The dialogs between characters give you a sense of just how treacherous and deceitful people were back then, and how competitive and tough life was for the people who took part of defining the world and government we have today.

If you like to travel in Europe, it's fun to visit the places mentioned in this book. Recommendations: Visit the City of York. Find a comfortable bench across the River Thames in front of the Tower of London. Visit Westminster. Sit down with a beer in a cozy cafe in Brugge or Antwerp (current day Belgium, but in the book it's Burgundy). If you're in Northern England, visit castles and major battlefields mentioned in the book, including Fotheringhay, Middleham, Pontefract, Sheriff Hutton, Towton, Tewkesbury, and Bosworth Field.

In terms of the physical aspects of the book, I like the Kindle version better than paperback, because the print is really small. I'm a bit of a font snob-- I think everything should be at 11pt font and 1.5 spacing. With a book this thick, it's hard to publish it with larger print, but the print is so cramped on the page it takes away the joy of reading.

Spoiler alert: Do not look up Richard the III on Wikipedia until you finish the book. If you want to see what he looks like, do an image search, but beware of text descriptions of his life, otherwise you'll spoil the ending of the story for yourself.

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