A rich tale of power and forbidden love revolving around a young medieval queen...
In 1002, 15-year-old Emma of Normandy crosses the Narrow Sea to wed the much older King Athelred of England, whom she meets for the first time at the church door. Thrust into an unfamiliar and treacherous court, with a husband who mistrusts her, stepsons who resent her and a bewitching rival who covets her crown, Emma must defend herself against her enemies and secure her status as queen by bearing a son.
Determined to outmaneuver her adversaries, Emma forges alliances with influential men at court and wins the affection of the English people. But her growing love for a man who is not her husband and the imminent threat of a Viking invasion jeopardize both her crown and her life.
Based on real events recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Shadow on the Crown introduces listeners to a fascinating, overlooked period of history and an unforgettable heroine whose quest to find her place in the world will resonate with modern listeners.
©2013 Patricia Bracewell (P)2013 Penguin Audiobooks
For me? Definitely. That may not be the case for all maybe.
The chase with the King of Denmark for action! Emma's challenges at court for character!
“Margot” ! I was deeply touched by the way Margot becomes the embodiment and extension of the voice and hands of Emma’s mother. When Emma doesn’t know what to do, her "voice" is there. When Emma would give up in the midst of stormy seas, her "voice" is there. It’s the voice of her mother.
Bravo Katie! Great job reading this with the pronunciations and inflections! I hope you are there when the next book comes out!
This book has sex.
Interesting fictionalized presentation of the politics of post-Alfred (and pre-Norman) England. This is a time period of which I have read little historical fiction, but I would like to hear more. Details of daily life (especially for nobles) seem to be portrayed well. There is enough suspense, some gore, no gratuitous sex. It gives a pretty good sense of what it must have been like to live under the shadow of fear of Viking raids. Aethelred "Unred" Is shown as waffling and increasingly mentally unstable; but the story also gives a good feeling for what it must be like to hold power in a world where power-grabbers abound, and the way to power is violence. The way to power for women, make no mistake, is in relation to a man, and there is little enough even then. Overall, although not outstanding, I found it entertaining and somewhat informative. My main complaint is that it ends abruptly, and the next story is not yet available..
What stood out most was character development, most notable Ethelred; while not being a necessarily wise king, he is at least shown as one of action, which does not necessarily hold with the historical characterization. The spectre of Edward haunting him and prompting him to act was a really interesting dynamic, and also to a degree explains why Edward (who will ultimately become Saint Edward the Confessor) was named as heir above the older Aethelings--typically Emma is blamed for that.
The change in character perspective was really nice to see, and the point-of-view of more minor characters was really interesting also. The only complaint I have is about the story or plot is the romance between Emma and Ethelstan. It's a bit contrived and predicable; I read a fair amount of historical fiction (much of it involving royalty), and it's a plot point in two out of three.
The narrator was great. A strong and steady voice, and inflection was such that no superfluous accents were necessary. I would listen to more narrated by Katie Firth.
Meggin McIntosh, Ph.D. 'The Ph.D. of Productivity'(tm)
I bought this one over 6 months before I listened to it and I once I started, I wish I had listened immediately. Every part of this book was excellent and from the reviews, the next book is one to read not listen to and I'm VERY SAD that they didn't continue with the same narrator. She was superb.
Audible really needs to put some of these books in the Romance section only. I'm not averse to a little sex scene occasionally in a novel but sometimes it's just irritating and boring. This one just goes on and on and on and veers into soft porn. Disturbingly it also has a 15 yr old getting groped by a nearly 40 year old king. Yeesh. No thanks. I was hoping for a little light historical fiction of the Phillipa Gregory variety, not yet another sex scene about the heroine and her "lush lips that look like overripe fruit." Yawn.
I like historical fiction with female characters. But I hate this book. Can't even listen to the rest of it.
She was fine.
I really don't care enough about the book to cut any of them.
Well, this is a book I am still confused about. The story is good, but most of the characters have names that are very, very much alike which, made it hard to follow at certain times. Given that it is a historical novel, I wonder if perhaps it might have been a good idea to give the characters names that, at least, began with a letter other than the 'A'. Perhaps it was hard for me because I am not familiar with the history of England -and Europe, in general- so far back in time.
I found the ending to be a bit abrupt and leaving an unresolved story; perhaps it was intentional to give way to a sequel. In that case, I would like to read it.
The narrator was very good and even though the accent was quite heavy, It was nice to listen to her.
All in all, I enjoyed it; I will have to 'read' it again to see if I can actually grasp a little more of this interesting historic passage but, I will study a bit about it in order to understand it.
Very compelling, well paced story about a relatively unknown heroine and the destiny of England during the Middle Ages. Narration was pitch perfect. Highly recommend (especially for historical fiction fans!).
This is a wonderfully narrated story that is beautifully written and I was hooked entirely within an hour. My only wish is that there were more by this author available in audiobook form. The narrator did an amazing job I thought of bringing all the characters in to their own.
and a penny for your thoughts
Narration is always a big factor for me and Katie Firth does not disappoint. I like how she quotes from accepted historical documents and then fills in the blanks using her research to paint a picture of life as it was then. I learn more about history than dates and times. I get a sense of the people, how they lived and what they lived through during those times. It helps understand and remember who's who during the complicated Viking/Saxon period of history
Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory only because both women seem to be cut from the same cloth. Practical yet sentimental, survivors ahead of their time in more ways than one. Women who went against convention, listened to their intuition,
Katie Firth is terrific. I'm fairly new to her narration but will certainly look for her books in the future.
The most memorable character was Queen Emma's eldest step-son. The only name I can remember is Queen Emma's. The others are too complicated to remember without the book in front of me. I need flash cards.
PLEASE HURRY with Books 2 and 3 ! I didn't realize it was a trilogy when I started and was so disappointed to be left hanging. My history books tell me how it turns out but your story is so compelling, I'm having withdrawal.
A great listen! Enjoyed the story and the narrator made the story come alive! This was my first book from Patricia Bracewell and I am a fan!
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