My Review of DEVIL'S BROOD by Sharon Kay Penman
The end of the trilogy of Sharon Kay Penman's dearly loved books of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine is a marvelous reading experience. Owing to their coalition and associations, theirs is a kingdom that includes a vast and extensive Christian realm. Although fans will be heartbroken seeing the trilogy end, they won't be disappointed. As always, Penman brings characters that lived hundreds of years ago to life today. One can't help but empathize with Eleanor and her king, Henry II, as they desperately attempt to show the love they share for their children while trying to also balance the needs of the people and their respective kingdoms.
Henry is focused on holding on to, as well as expanding, his kingdom, to pass it on to their eldest son, Hal. Meanwhile, Eleanor is obsessed with maintaining her duchy of Aquitaine for their second son, Richard. Eleanor and their three eldest sons turn against their father, husband, and king, by siding with Louis of France who is Henry's most ruthless enemy. Tragically, when two of their sons die, it puts all they have in grave danger, most especially their tempestuous but passionate personal relationship. Henry's greatest loss, even more than his sons' turning against him, however, is the fact that his wife would be disloyal to him. It is often the familiar query readers ask in so many great love stories, when we wonder how two people who love each other so deeply, could at the same time be such ruthless rivals?
Anyone who likes historical fiction will love this book. This is a book of the struggle in a complex family. The tale of a great leader whose brilliance forged an empire but who turned an eye and led him to the biggest mistake of his life. Its more than 700 pages will keep the reader enthralled until the very end. Regardless of the fact that you know the historical outcome, you still find yourself captured by the drama of the times and the personalities of this family and its friends and enemies.
Submitted Originally to Curledup.com by Karen Haney, September, 2008