We are proud to announce that BookBrowse has won Platinum in the 2024 Modern Library Awards.

Reviews of The Land Beyond the Sea by Sharon Kay Penman

The Land Beyond the Sea

by Sharon Kay Penman

The Land Beyond the Sea by Sharon Kay Penman X
The Land Beyond the Sea by Sharon Kay Penman
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2020, 688 pages

    Paperback:
    Mar 2021, 688 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

From the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Sharon Kay Penman comes the story of the reign of King Baldwin IV and the Kingdom of Jerusalem's defense against Saladin's famous army.

The Kingdom of Jerusalem, also known as Outremer, is the land far beyond the sea. Baptized in blood when the men of the First Crusade captured Jerusalem from the Saracens in the early twelfth century, the kingdom defined an utterly new world, a land of blazing heat and a medley of cultures, a place where enemies were neighbors and neighbors became enemies.

At the helm of this growing kingdom sits young Baldwin IV, an intelligent and courageous boy committed to the welfare and protection of his people. But despite Baldwin's dedication to his land, he is afflicted with leprosy at an early age and the threats against his power and his health nearly outweigh the risk of battle. As political deception scours the halls of the royal court, the Muslim army--led by the first sultan of Egypt and Syria, Saladin--is never far from the kingdom's doorstep, and there are only a handful Baldwin can trust, including the archbishop William of Tyre and Lord Balian d'Ibelin, a charismatic leader who has been one of the few able to maintain the peace.

Filled with drama and battle, tragedy and romance, Sharon Kay Penman's latest novel brings a definitive period of history vividly alive with a tale of power and glory that will resonate with readers today.

Chapter 1
April 1172
Jerusalem, Outremer

It was a great destiny to be a queen, but it was not an easy one. Maria Comnena had been only thirteen when she was wed to the King of Jerusalem, a man almost twenty years older than she, a man who spoke not a word of her Greek while she spoke not a word of his native French. Even religion had not been a bond between them, for he followed the Latin Church of Rome and she had been raised in the Greek Orthodox faith. And she soon discovered that her husband's past was inextricably entwined with her present, for Amalric had two young children and a former wife, a woman very beautiful and very bitter.

Her new kingdom was not a welcoming one. Known as Outremer, French for "the land beyond the sea," it was a country cursed with pestilent fevers and the constant shadow of war. Nor were her husband's subjects enthusiastic about the marriage; she'd soon discovered that the Franks scorned Greeks as untrustworthy and effeminate and were suspicious of this ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The Land Beyond the Sea is a big, sprawling work of historical fiction sure to please Penman's existing devotees, and this latest opus will likely attract new readers to her oeuvre. In spite of the book's length and complexity, it is an easy, captivating read—not quite a page-turner, but close. Historical fiction aficionados looking for a book to engage their time and attention need look no further...continued

Full Review (682 words)

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Media Reviews

Historical Novel Society
True to form, Penman again demonstrates her impeccable attention to historical detail….[she] has created a saga of epic proportions. She has given us insight into the inner workings of the minds of the great men and women of the time. There is a lot here to savor, and this book can't be rushed through.

Booklist
From fierce battle maneuvers to the emotional corridors of an unexpected love story, readers will feel intimately drawn into the characters' dramatic lives in Penman's splendid historical novel. Historical saga fans will pounce on best-selling and always thrilling Penman's latest, which offers a particularly alluring setting.

Kirkus Reviews
The religious and tribal conflicts, among both the Christians and Muslims...certainly have echoes for today. This book amply illustrates the extent to which fortune and personality dictated victory, détente, and defeat on both sides. A teeming 12th-century tapestry which Penman renders coherent, even eloquent.

Library Journal
Penman develops several nuanced Muslim characters...and presents both sides of the conflict with care, though her focus on political maneuvering means any religious motivations of her characters get somewhat short shrift. Recommended for Penman's many fans, and readers seeking out fascinating lesser-known figures not often covered in historical fiction.

Publishers Weekly
[A] riveting page-turner...Penman's well-honed skill for weaving deeply researched details into epic tales is on full display. Fans of medieval historical fiction won't want to miss this.

Author Blurb Margaret George
Penman brings the teeming—and scheming—world of the brief, blazing Crusader kingdom to vibrant life, with a cast of characters that includes the royal houses of Europe, the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller, the lords of the Church, Crusader nobility, and the surrounding Saracens. With her shining gift of storytelling, she makes this tapestry a colorful one, one that weaves all the richness of its setting and striving personalities into a stunning and meaningful whole. Elegant, detailed, and panoramic—like the world it describes.

Author Blurb Priscilla Royal
As one of Ms. Penman's oldest and most ardent fans, I believe The Land Beyond the Sea ranks as one of her three most accomplished and compelling books. Her books should never be gulped, only savored, and readers will be thrilled to both read and reread her latest.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Crusader States of Outremer (1087-1272)

The Near East in 1135 CE Sharon Kay Penman's novel The Land Beyond the Sea is set in the Middle Ages in a region known as Outremer (pronounced OO-tray-mare). This collection of European-held city-states was formed during the First Crusade and comprised of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the County of Edessa, the County of Tripoli and the Principality of Antioch.

Jerusalem is revered by the three major Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) as a holy city, and has been important to all three for millennia. Historically, various groups have fought for control of it and the surrounding territory. From the 7th century to the end of the 11th century CE, the area was under Muslim rule. The series of wars referred to as the Crusades were set in motion when...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Land Beyond the Sea, try these:

  • Revelations jacket

    Revelations

    by Mary Sharratt

    Published 2022

    About this book

    More by this author

    A fifteenth-century Eat, Pray, Love, Revelations illuminates the intersecting lives of two female mystics who changed history - Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich.

  • Baudolino jacket

    Baudolino

    by Umberto Eco

    Published 2003

    About this book

    More by this author

    Fuses historical events of the twelfth century with myths and fables, juicy romance, real political issues, and deep questions of faith--the result is dazzling fireworks.

We have 4 read-alikes for The Land Beyond the Sea, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
More books by Sharon Kay Penman
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: One Hour of Fervor
    One Hour of Fervor
    by Muriel Barbery
    Set during multiple decades across the turn of the 21st century, One Hour of Fervor follows Haru, a ...
  • Book Jacket: The Ascent
    The Ascent
    by Adam Plantinga
    Adam Plantinga's brilliant debut novel, The Ascent, introduces readers to former Detroit police ...
  • Book Jacket: The Curse of Pietro Houdini
    The Curse of Pietro Houdini
    by Derek B. Miller
    Derek B. Miller's sixth novel, The Curse of Pietro Houdini, opens in the town of Cassino, Italy, in ...
  • Book Jacket: Our Moon
    Our Moon
    by Rebecca Boyle
    In Our Moon: How Earth's Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Mockingbird Summer
by Lynda Rutledge
A powerful and emotional coming-of-age novel set in the 1960s by the bestselling author of West with Giraffes.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Leaving
    by Roxana Robinson

    An engrossing exploration of the vows we make to one another and what we owe to others and ourselves.

  • Book Jacket

    Strong Passions
    by Barbara Weisberg

    Shocking revelations of a wife's adultery in 19th New York explode in an incendiary trial exposing the upper-crust and its secrets.

Win This Book
Win The Cleaner

The Cleaner
by Brandi Wells

Rarely has cubicle culture been depicted in such griminess or with such glee."
PW (starred review)

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I Wouldn't T H W A T-F P

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.