Sharon Kay Penman

American historical novelist

Sharon Kay Penman (born August 13, 1945, in New York – January 22, 2021) is an American historical novelist, of Anglo-Irish ancestry. She is well known for her novels and mysteries about English and Welsh royalty during the Middle Ages.



Book 1

  • In the year of Christ 1183, the House of Plantagenet was at war against itself.
  • John: If disliking Richard be grounds for accusing a man of conspiracy, I daresay you could implicate half of Christendom in this so-called plot. Richard endears himself easiest to those who've yet to meet him.
  • Servant: My lord! My lord, the Queen has just ridden into the bailey!
    John: That cannot be! My mother is in Normandy.
    Servant: No, my lord, she's in the great hall.
    Eleanor: You both are wrong. I'm out in the stairwell.
  • Eleanor: I'm tired, John, am asking you to keep this charade mercifully brief... for my sake if not for your own.
    John: For your sake? There was a time when I'd have done anything on God's Earth for you, just to get to acknowledge I was even alive! But now? You're too late, Mother, years too late!
  • Eleanor: It is a pretty fiction that mothers love each child in equal measure... a fiction, no more than that. There is always a favorite. With me, it was Richard. With Henry, it was you.
    John: No. I was not his favorite. It was rather that I was the only son he had left. Have you forgotten? My brothers sided with you.'
  • Joanna (Queen of Sicily): Richard's arrival at Messina was a godsend, in truth, and I will ever be grateful to him. Yet I do not doubt you'd have done as much for me too, Johnny. So would our brother Henry. Even Geoffrey, provided it did not inconvenience him unduly. Any one of you would have come to my aid, I know that. and yet none of you would ever have come to the aid of each other.
  • Joanna (Lady of Wales): Mama... why do I not look like you? Why do I have hair black like a crow?
    Clemence: Because you take after him. That was all I asked of God, that I need not see him each time I looked into your face. Little enough to ask, I should think. But we do pay and pay for our sins, it seems, and you grow more like him with each day that passes.
  • You're proving to be a merciless ghost, Papa. I should have expected it, knowing you as I do, Joanna said. Her tears were coming faster now. "What do you mean to do, Papa? Shall you haunt me for the rest of my days?" Her voice broke; kneeling on the icy tiles before John's coffin, she wept bitterly.
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