Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Christ and His Saints Slept
The woman was Maude, daughter of Henry I, who dies without a male heir. He annoints and trains his daughter for the job. She is smart, courageous and yes stubborn. The problem is many of the English barons (this is a feudal system) will not submit to a woman. Mauds cousin usurps the throne and the battle is on, as some of her barons and relatives remain loyal.
Never quite fullfilling her quest, she becomes the "mother" of kings. In effect, through the child she bore to the abusive Count Geoffrey of Breton, a son, the future Henry II, founds the Plantagenet Empire and dynasty. What a remarkable story. What a remarkable woman! I loved it.
This book is the first in a series of eventually to be four volumes, in author Sharon Kay Penman's "Eleanor of Aquitaine" series. If you like historical fiction this is a real good stuff. Penman combines excellent historical background knowledge with realistically drawn characterizations.