Book Reviews

Book report; The Queen’s Man by Sharon Kay Penman copyright 1996

First edition dustcover of "The Queen's M...

First edition dustcover of “The Queen’s Man” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I found “The Queen’s Man” in a group of books that my son’s friend Jamie was bringing back to the library. She and I haven’t really talked a lot about books so we don’t really know what each other like. But just by looking at the dozen or so books she had I can see she likes to read. She had a series of 6 books that she had just finished and when I picked another she mentioned that I should probably start at the beginning with that one. Meaning it was in the middle of a series. I found “The Queen’s Man” and she gave me the nod. All women know the nod, it is amazing.  Jamie and Ben like to go to renaissance festivals and LARP (live action roll play). I don’t understand it but they like it so, I guess that is OK. That may be the reason most of her books were set in Medieval times. Can’t say anything wrong with that. I read some of Follett’s books that take place in the same time. Maybe I’ll suggest some to her.

The front cover proclaims that “The Queen’s Man” is a Medieval Mystery. It is. Set at the end of the 12th century, Eleanor of Aquitaine is on the throne, Richard the Lionhearted, Eleanor’s oldest son,has been listed as missing on his way home from the Crusades and John, Eleanor’s youngest son, is thinking that the crown would look good on his head.

Justin , the hero of the story, is leaving Winchester and heading for London to make his fortune.  Justin hears a cry for help and rushes to aid another traveler. In time to chase the bandits away, but not before the traveller has been stabbed.  Justin does his best to provide comfort to the fallen man while he dies. In his last efforts the dying traveller begs for Justin’s assistance in delivering a letter addressed to the Queen. With the responsibility of a dying request our hero heads toward London with a quest to see the Queen and deliver the letter.

When I first started the book I was sceptical, used to my usual books with current technology and up to date communication it was hard at first to get into the read. It seemed like I was at a renaissance fair listening to people try to talk like they were from Old England. I kept thinking of the movie “Role Models” and a characters language. “Pip pip,Good Morrow, friend”. Well once you get past the verbal barrier, it is not a bad book. This is a novel with bits of historical fact dropped in to give the reader an idea of where the author, Sharon Kay Penman, is coming from.

Reading about the author I find that she has written five other books in the same area and this could be the first of a trilogy. Now I have to read the rest to see what happens to Justin. (instant update) Just looked at the book again for the copyright date and realized it was 1996. The book from the library was a first edition. Common sense would have it that Sharon Kay Penman has written more books and probably finished the trilogy. If you are familiar with the other books let me know what you thought and I’ll put them on the list.

“And now for something completely different” A memoir Sailing Grace, by John Otterbacher.
This was suggested by my friends at Booked for the Season in Grand Haven. I was looking for the next in the Starvation Lake series and telling them that it was set in Upper Michigan when they found this for me. Otterbacher is from Western Michigan. I can’t be sure, I haven’t started it yet but in the book he mentions Grand Haven. So, the chances are good. I will let you know.

Until next time; Live your dreams, then dream more dreams. (I am sure someone else said that before me, but it sounds good, eh!


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