Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review: Devil's Brood by Sharon Penman

Title: Devil's Brood
Author: Sharon Penman
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Michael Joseph, 2008


This is the final book in Sharon Penman's trilogy of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. The other titles in the series are:
When Christ and all His Saints Slept and Time and Chance.

The story begins after the death of Thomas Becket and focuses on the breakdown of Henry's relationships with his wife and sons. When Eleanor encourages her sons to rebel against their father it destroys their marriage and leads to her imprisonment while her sons continue to plot and intrigue against their parents and each other.

Meticulously researched , Sharon Penman doesn't glamorise or romanticise people and events and she presents her characters objectively, showing the good and bad in each of them. I find this makes them very human and far easier to identify with - romantic figures of long ago become no different than a contemporary dysfuntional family and one feels the sorrow and anger of both Henry and Eleanor.

There is a list of characters and a map included and an author's note at the back explaining why she took certain liberties with some facts.

What more can be said ? This is as good as historical fiction gets!

Loved every word!

Historical Tapestry ABC Challenge

D is for Devil's

Also for A Tournament of Reading Challenge


  1. Sounds interesting--I always prefer historical fiction where the characters seem relateable despite their presence in history texts :)

  2. I have often wondered about this book. Thanks for the review!

  3. This sounds excellent. Thanks for the great review!

  4. I put off reading the first two books in this series in anticipation of this book coming out. In the end I have read the first one, but not the second or third ones! I really should.

  5. I'm reading the first in the trilogy right now and looking forward to getting to this. No one is ever demonised in an SKP book - she doesn't play favourites but has understanding for all her characters.

  6. SKP is definitely a great historical writer and I enjoy her books so much.

  7. I got to meet SKP when she did the book tour for Devil's Brood. She's the best!

  8. Lucky you - she must be a fascinating person to talk to.