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helenliz

helenliz

Falls the Shadow

Falls the Shadow   - Sharon Kay Penman A re-read, first read this as a teenager. In fact, I suspect Mum thinks she owns the copy I have. Kind of the middle of a trilogy, but they stand alone pretty well. Follows the life & times of 2 amazing men, Simon de Montfort & Llewelyn ap Gruffyd, grandson of Llewelyn the great. The characters are all clearly defined and brought to dazzling life, their strengths and weaknesses laid bare. The conflict between Simon and the King over his leadership (or lack of it). It is so clearly depicted that you find yourself backing Simon to the hilt. But you know, ahead of time, that it ends badly, and so it does. Last few chapters are a trial to read and (yet again) reduced me to a quivery mass of tears. It's a rivetting read, rolling along through france, England & Wales, through small country interludes and great state occasions with pace and the pages whizz by beneath your eyes. The Welsh chapters are equally eventful, but in a different way, they don;t have the glamour of the de montforts, but they have a charm of their own. The stories merge and mingle throughout, with Simon's wife, Nell, being the half sister of Llewelyn the Great, where we start the story. By the end, Llewelyn and Simon's daughter have been betrothed, but this has bene broken off after the battle and fall from grace. Some lovely vignettes that don't necessarily advance the story, but go a long way to flesh out the main protagonists. it's a story of dreams - a fair society and a united Wales. Neither come to pass in this book, but you can't help feeling that both dreams were dazzling enough to take the breath away, certainly worth fighting for - but to fight and fail? how terrible can a dream become.