A.D. 1135. As church bells tolled for the death of England’s King Henry I, his barons faced the unwelcome prospect of being ruled by a woman: Henry’s beautiful daughter Maude, Countess of Anjou. But before Maude could claim her throne, her cousin Stephen seized it. In their long and bitter struggle, all of England bled and burned.
Sharon Kay Penman’s magnificent fifth novel summons to life a spectacular medieval tragedy whose unfolding breaks the heart even as it prepares the way for splendors to come—the glorious age of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Plantagenets that would soon illumine the world.
Sharon Kay Penman is the author of historical novels. Among writers who admire her work are Margaret George, Steve Berry, George R. R. Martin, and Bernard Cornwell. Her readers are passionately committed. A lawyer by training, with the publication of her… More about Sharon Kay Penman
People Who Read When Christ and His Saints Slept Also Read
Inspired by Your Browsing History
"[A] marvelous medieval pageant of a novel. . .Another jewel in [Penman’s] already glittering crown."—Orlando Sentinel
"Penman once again tells a tale of kings and queens, singular destinies, and double-crosses. . . .[She] inventively animates a large cast [and] continues to base her narrative on the firm ground of fact."—Kirkus Reviews
"A COMPELLING, WELL-WRITTEN EPIC…Penman is an accomplished novelist and certainly has staked a claim to medieval England as her literary fiefdom."—Philadelphia Inquirer
As a publisher I have been lucky to be able to visit bookstores all over the country, independent and chain alike. What interests me first about these stores is what titles are being displayed in the ‘Staff Recommends’ section of the store. It is here that you can find treasured, beloved books quite dear to someone who works in the stores, someone waiting quite eagerly for the chance to hand sell their recommended titles.
It is in these Staff Recommend sections that I kept on seeing our Penman’s titles, HERE BE DRAGONS, FALLS THE SHADOW, THE RECKONING and also SUNNE IN SPLENDOUR and WHEN CHRIST AND HIS SAINTS SLEPT. It’s funny, you can sell something for years before you notice that the author has been quietly making a powerful impact on people everywhere.
I started with HERE BE DRAGONS and I have never looked back. Her trilogy of the decline of the Welsh kings ( DRAGON, FALLS THE SHADOW and THE RECKONING)is a holiday gift I give year after year, and I’m happy to say they have always been embraced and loved. From my 15 year old niece to my 70 year old mother and many ages in between, all readers are enchanted and transported to a land and an age gone forever. But Penman makes them live forever in our minds and hearts with fantastic, unforgettable characters and wonderful history. HERE BE DRAGONS is such a great title–medieval mapmakes would write those words across any part of the map that was unknown.. a wonderful metaphor for how little the Welsh and English knew of each other.
SUNNE IN SPLENDOUR–Warning: This is not Shakespeare’s Richard III. In this novel, Richard is a victim of circumstance and man vilified by the Tudors, but here presented as a decent and normal man, a man of conscience. AND he is not a murderer. Yes, those princes did die, but not by Richard’s hand.
WHEN CHRIST AND HIS SAINTS SLEPT Another wonderful title, for it refers to the 15 years of England’s darkest time-the civil war between the cousins Queen Maud and King Steven. England was deserted, for Christ and his saints were sleeping. I had never even heard of these royals. Queen Maud was the legitimate heir to the throne, but a woman, and there fore not fit to rule. She is also the mother of Henry, who later married Eleanor of Aquitaine . Pretty heady stuff, more incredible men and women, another book to get totally lost in.
Although it has been years since all these books were first published, I can name 5 stores I have been in in the past 3 months that have one of these titles in the Staff Recommends section.