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Simon de Montfort was a man ahead of his time in the thirteenth century, a disinherited Frenchman who talked his way into an English earldom and marriage with a sister of the English king, Henry III. A charismatic, obstinate leader, Simon soon lost patience with the king’s incompetence and inability to keep his word, and found himself the champion of the common people.

This is his story, and the story of Henry III, as weak and changeable as Simon was brash and unbending. It is a tale of opposing wills that would eventually clash in a storm of violence and betrayal—an irresistible saga that brings the pages of history completely, provocatively, and magnificently alive.


When I first started reading this book, I quickly discovered it had little to do with Wales and everything to do with Simon de Montfort, who wasn't Welsh by any stretch of the imagination. I almost put it aside for good, but then I caught the author's note at the back wherein she explained why she chose to dedicate all of the book to de Montfort's life. It made sense so I stuck with it and found de Montfort to be a very admirable man and his wife someone I would have loved to meet. Of course reality might not have been as 'fab' as history makes her out to be. LOL

As always, Penman is able to bring to life history's saints and sinners in a vibrant way. She breathes new and refreshing life into what many consider a boring topic.


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