This week I’m into historical fiction. My current reading is a book titled Devil’s Brood by Sharon Kay Penman. It is the third in the authors Eleanor of Aquitaine series. It is the story of King Henry II and his family. This family is tearing itself apart as his three sons reach adulthood. Henry sees Eleanor first as his wife and Queen. Then as the Duchess of Aquitaine. She sees herself as the Duchess first and then as his Queen and wife. Their sons Hal, Richard, Geoffrey and John each have their own ambitions and desires. For those not familiar with this great King, Queen and their dysfunctional family. Henry built the mighty Angevin Empire and locked his beautiful and dynamic Queen in a castle for decades when she joined or led her sons in a rebellion against their father. I highlighted Geoffreys love of jousting in my previous post. Richard, of course is the famous "Lionheart" and John the evil King of the Robin Hood stories and signer of the Magna Carta. It is a family tragedy writ large around marriage, child-parent relationships, sibling rivalries, ambition, betrayal and just plain greed. The historical facts and descriptions of the 12th century ring true to me. Even more compelling is the authors psychological fine tuning of the main characters motivations. The dialogue is often riveting.
Years ago I had enjoyed watching Katherine Hepburn win her third Oscar as Eleanor in the film The Lion In Winter. This book exceeded my expectations in bringing that story once again to life. I loved Devils Brood and must say the first two in the series were just as good….