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Sharon Kay Penman biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Sharon Kay Penman
Photo: © William Penman Jr

Sharon Kay Penman

Sharon Kay Penman Biography

Sharon Kay Penman is the author of nine critically acclaimed historical novels: The Sunne in Splendour, Here be Dragons, Falls the Shadow, The Reckoning, When Christ and his Saints Slept, Time and Chance, Devil's Brood, Lionheart, and A King's Ransom. Her tenth historical novel, The Land Beyond the Sea, was published in March of 2020.  She has also written four medieval mysteries. Her first was The Queen's Man, the queen in question being Eleanor of Aquitaine, a finalist for an Edgar Award for Best First Mystery from the Mystery Writers of America. Her other mysteries are Cruel as the Grave, Dragon's Lair, and Prince of Darkness. A lawyer by training, she was a full-time novelist by her mid-thirties. She has lived in England and Wales and currently resides in Mays Landing, New Jersey.

Sharon Kay Penman's website

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Interview

Sharon Kay Penman talks about what drew her to write The Land Beyond The Sea, and it's relevance to the contemporary world.

Many things drew me to write The Land Beyond the Sea. What first struck me was how timely and relevant the kingdom's last years seemed. A clash of cultures, suspicions aroused by conflicting religious beliefs, and the different ways in which people responded to these challenges will sound very familiar. Little has changed in the ensuing eight centuries; peace in the Middle East remains as elusive today as it was in the 12th century and tensions continue between Christianity and Islam.

This is a story of high drama, triumph, and tragedy and the battle of Hattin is viewed as one of the most significant military confrontations of the Middle Ages, drastically changing the history of both the Levant and Christendom. I felt great sympathy for Baldwin, stricken with leprosy as a child, forced to fight two wars—one he cannot afford to lose against Saladin and one he cannot hope to win against the lethal disease ravaging his body.

The role of women in the kingdom is also intriguing. Unlike France, which prohibited a woman from inheriting the crown, and England, which would not willingly accept a queen until the 16th century, Jerusalem would be ruled in turn by three queens, Baldwin's sisters Sybilla and Isabella and Isabella's ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Sharon Kay Penman at BookBrowse
The Land Beyond the Sea jacket Lionheart jacket Devil's Brood jacket
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Sharon Kay Penman but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Umberto Eco

    Umberto Eco

    Umberto Eco was born in the city of Alessandria in the Italian region of Piedmont,  right in the middle of the Genova, Milan, Turin triangle. His novels include The Name of the Rose, Foucault's Pendulum, The Island of ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Land Beyond the Sea

    Try:
    Baudolino
    by Umberto Eco

  • Anthony A. Goodman

    Anthony A. Goodman

    Anthony A. Goodman, M.D, F.A.C.S., is an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Montana State University WWAMI Medical Sciences Program and an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Biological Structure at the University of ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Land Beyond the Sea

    Try:
    The Shadow of God
    by Anthony A. Goodman

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