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Shadow on the Crown: A Novel | [Patricia Bracewell]

Shadow on the Crown: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (100 )
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  •  
    Michael Groton, NY, United States 02-22-13
    Michael Groton, NY, United States 02-22-13 Member Since 2015

    Highpattern

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Captivating and intriguing."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Shadow on the Crown to be better than the print version?

    For me? Definitely. That may not be the case for all maybe.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Emma's character.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The chase with the King of Denmark for action! Emma's challenges at court for character!


    If you could take any character from Shadow on the Crown out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    “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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Wells 02-18-13
    S. Wells 02-18-13 Member Since 2015
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    "The Year 1000--To Be Continued"

    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..

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meggin Reno, NV, United States 04-06-15
    Meggin Reno, NV, United States 04-06-15 Member Since 2015

    Speaker, Coach, Author - in Reno, NV (A GREAT place!) I've been an avid Audible fan for several years. Listen on my iPhone many hours each week.

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    "Why Did I Wait So Long to Listen to This One?"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea OMAHA, NE, United States 08-03-14
    Andrea OMAHA, NE, United States 08-03-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Well-done Saxon historical fiction"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-21-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Wonderful Story"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reademandweep 02-19-14 Member Since 2014

    and a penny for your thoughts

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    "So Good but torture to have to wait for part 2"
    What made the experience of listening to Shadow on the Crown the most enjoyable?

    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


    What other book might you compare Shadow on the Crown to and why?

    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,


    Have you listened to any of Katie Firth’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Katie Firth is terrific. I'm fairly new to her narration but will certainly look for her books in the future.


    Who was the most memorable character of Shadow on the Crown and why?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara POTTSTOWN, PA, United States 01-14-14
    Barbara POTTSTOWN, PA, United States 01-14-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Thoroughly enjoyed this book"

    I really enjoyed this book. Katie Firth gave a great performance and the story was inviting and kept me interested.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peggy 08-26-13
    Peggy 08-26-13
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    "Thoroughly enjoyable"
    Any additional comments?

    I really enjoyed listening to this story in the era of Normans, Danes and England in the years from 1001 - 1004. I couldn't stop listening to it once I started. I just came back to see if there was a sequel because of the abrupt ending and didn't find any other books by this author. I'm hoping she has one in the works! The narrator did an excellent job. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves historical novels or who just loves a good read with a bit of mystery and intrigue!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer PHOENIX, AZ, United States 04-24-13
    Amazon Customer PHOENIX, AZ, United States 04-24-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Great Story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Shadow on the Crown to be better than the print version?

    Yes I enjoyed the narrators voice


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Emma. This the 2nd book about her I have read. She is a remarkable woman who takes controls and plays a part in her own destiny during a time so few women could


    What about Katie Firth’s performance did you like?

    character voices


    Any additional comments?

    I like it so much I listened twice!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura A. Mirabito Boston, MA 04-23-13
    Laura A. Mirabito Boston, MA 04-23-13 Member Since 2008

    Laura

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Reads like a Medieval Soap Opera"

    The idea was interesting and I like the ties to Queen Emma's true history. However, it's a bit shallow and at times I felt like I was plodding along just trying to find out what happens in the end. I'm hooked enough to complete the trilogy, but wouldn't rank it among my favorites.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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