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Time and Chance

A Novel

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Paperback published by Ballantine Books (Random House Publishing Group)

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About This Book

In When Christ and His Saints Slept, acclaimed historical novelist Sharon Kay Penman portrayed all the deceit, danger, and drama of Henry II’s ascension to the throne. Now, in Time and Chance, she continues the ever-more-captivating tale.

It was medieval England’s immortal marriage—Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, bound by passion and ambition, certain to leave a legacy of greatness. But while lust would divide them, it was friendship—and ultimately faith—that brought bloodshed into their midst. It began with Thomas Becket, Henry’s closest confidant, and his elevation to be Archbishop of Canterbury. It ended with a perceived betrayal that made a royal murder seem inevitable. Along the way were enough scheming, seductions, and scandals to topple any kingdom but their own. . . .

Only Sharon Kay Penman can re-create this truly tumultuous time—and capture the couple who loved power as much as each other . . . and a man who loved God most of all.


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In When Christ and His Saints Slept, acclaimed historical novelist Sharon Kay Penman portrayed all the deceit, danger, and drama of Henry II’s ascension to the throne. Now, in Time and Chance, she continues the ever-more-captivating tale.

It was medieval England’s immortal marriage—Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, bound by passion and ambition, certain to leave a legacy of greatness. But while lust would divide them, it was friendship—and ultimately faith—that brought bloodshed into their midst. It began with Thomas Becket, Henry’s closest confidant, and his elevation to be Archbishop of Canterbury. It ended with a perceived betrayal that made a royal murder seem inevitable. Along the way were enough scheming, seductions, and scandals to topple any kingdom but their own. . . .

Only Sharon Kay Penman can re-create this truly tumultuous time—and capture the couple who loved power as much as each other . . . and a man who loved God most of all.


Product Details
Paperback (544 pages)
Published: February 4, 2003
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 9780345396723
Other books bySharon Kay Penman
  • A King's Ransom

    A King's Ransom
    From the New York Times-bestselling author of Lionheart comes the dramatic sequel, telling of the last dangerous years of Richard, Couer de Lion’s life.   This long-anticipated sequel to the national bestseller Lionheart is a vivid and heart-wrenching story of the last event-filled years in the life of Richard, Coeur de Lion. Taken captive by the Holy Roman Emperor while en route home—in violation of the papal decree protecting all crusaders—he was to spend fifteen months imprisoned, much of it in the notorious fortress at Trefils, from which few men ever left alive, while Eleanor of Aquitaine moved heaven and earth to raise the exorbitant ransom. For the five years remaining to him, betrayals, intrigues, wars, and illness were ever present. So were his infidelities, perhaps a pattern set by his father’s faithlessness to Eleanor. But the courage, compassion, and intelligence of this warrior king became the stuff of legend, and A King’s Ransom brings the man and his world fully and powerfully alive.

    The Queen's Man

    The Queen's Man
    A Medieval Mystery
    Epiphany, 1193: the road out of Winchester was hidden by snow, and Justin de Quincy was making slow progress when he heard the first faint shout.  It came again, louder and clearer, a cry for help.  Spurring his stallion, de Quincy raced toward the source. But he was already too late.  As the two assailants fled, de Quincy cradled the dying man, straining to make out his whispered words.  "They did not get it," he rasped.  "Promise me.  You must deliver this letter to her.  To the queen." Eleanor of Aquitaine sits on England's throne.  At seventy, she has outlived the husband with whom she had once scandalized the world.  But has she also outlived her favorite, her first-born son?  Richard Lionheart, England's king, has been missing these last months.  It is rumored that he is dead.  Many think his youngest brother plots to steal the crown.  Only Eleanor's fierce will can keep John from acting on his greed.  Only a letter, splattered with the blood of a dying man murdered on the Winchester road, can tell her if Richard still lives. With the same sure touch she has brought to her historical fiction, Sharon Kay Penman turns to the mystery form.  Setting her story in a period she captured brilliantly  in earlier novels, she introduces Justin de Quincy.  Bastard-born, de Quincy is the son of a high cleric who never acknowledged him, bestowing on the boy--in lieu of name or fortune--only an education.  As it happens, it is a gift that will take young de Quincy into the very centers of power--and into the heart of danger, making him the Queen's man. Moving from the royal chambers in the Tower of London to the alehouses and stews of Southwark, from the horrors of Newgate Gaol to the bustling streets of Winchester, de Quincy proves his mettle as he tracks a brutal and cunning murderer and uncovers the sinister intrigues of Eleanor's court.

    Devil's Brood

    Devil's Brood
    A Novel
    A.D. 1172. Henry II’s three eldest sons conspire against him and align themselves with his greatest enemy, King Louis of France, but it’s Eleanor of Aquitaine’s involvement in the plot to overthrow her husband that proves to be the harshest betrayal. As a royal family collapses and a marriage ends in all but name, the clash between these two strong-willed and passionate souls will have far-reaching and devastating consequences throughout Christendom. Devil’s Brood, a breathtaking and sweeping epic of a family at its breaking point, shows how two monumental figures once bound by all-consuming love became the bitterest of adversaries.

    Here Be Dragons

    Here Be Dragons
    Thirteenth-century Wales is a divided country, ever at the mercy of England’s ruthless, power-hungry King John. Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, secures an uneasy truce by marrying the English king’s beloved illegitimate daughter, Joanna, who slowly grows to love her charismatic and courageous husband. But as John’s attentions turn again and again to subduing Wales---and Llewelyn---Joanna must decide where her love and loyalties truly lie. The turbulent clashes of two disparate worlds and the destinies of the individuals caught between them spring to life in this magnificent novel of power and passion, loyalty and lies. The book that began the trilogy that includes Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning, Here Be Dragons brings thirteenth-century England, France, and Wales to tangled, tempestuous life.

Favorite QuotesFROM THIS BOOK
  • As the King of England crossed the inner bailey of Chinon Castle, his brother watched from an upper-storey window and wished fervently that God would smite him dead.

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  • Ranuf continued to watch, though, as long as the sails remained in sight.

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