Devil’s Brood – Sharon Kay Penman

Every once in a while, I read a book that is so gripping I don’t want it to end – even when it’s more than 750 pages long.  I had that experience recently when I picked up – and couldn’t put down – Devil’s Brood by Sharon Kay Penman.  This is the third installment in her Henry II Trilogy.  I read the first two, When Christ and His Saints Slept and Time and Chance, several years ago and, frankly, I’d forgotten how much I liked them.

The reign of King Henry II, his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the conflict between the members of this extraordinary family may be the most compelling of all the story lines since William the Conqueror arrived at Hastings in 1066.  Devil’s Brood picks up where Time and Chance left off: with King Henry II’s self-imposed exile in Ireland after the murder of Thomas Becket.  It takes us through a fascinating journey leading up to the betrayal of Henry II by his sons followed shortly thereafter by his humiliating death.

If you have any interest at all in this period of English history, I can’t recommend highly enough Devil’s Brood.  As has been well-documented on this blog, I’m a huge fan of reading books in order.  This is one of the rare times, however, where I’d be OK with it if you weren’t up to the challenge of reading all three and skipped right to this one (I’m pretty sure you’d end up going back and reading the others anyway).

Oh, yeah.  With the turning of the last page of Devil’s Brood, I’ve officially begun the countdown until the October 4 release of her next book, Lionheart.  Depending on where I am in my professional life, I may not even wait for it to make its way onto the shelves at Half Price Books.

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