am 2. September 2012
Spanning the period 1271-83 A.D., The Reckoning focuses on the Welsh uprisings and their prince, Llewelyn ap Gruffydd. The story begins five years after the killing of Simon de Montfort, whose story was related in Penman's Falls the Shadow ( LJ 7/88). The betrothal between Simon's 13-year-old daughter Ellen and Llewelyn, which had ended with her father's death, has been reinstated. Now, en route to meet her husband, Ellen is kidnapped by pirates acting at the behest of Edward I, who opposes his cousin's marriage to the warring Welsh lord. The scene shifts from Wales to the scattered de Montforts living in France and Italy and to Edward's court. The action involves religious and political intrigue, battles and plots.
As with Penman's other historical novels, this one is both informative and enjoyable. Settings, events, and individuals are realistic. The players include well-researched historical personages and fictional characters.
am 25. September 1998
Pirates, politics, betrayal and redemption, Penman's final book in her Wales trilogy has all these things but above all it is one of the most beautiful, tragic, and haunting love stories I have ever read. As the Wales trilogy progresses, Penman's writing and character-development just keeps getting better until it culminates in "The Reckoning." At the center of the tale is Llewelyn, fated to be the last native Prince of Wales, who struggles against impossible-seeming odds to unite his countrymen, keep his wily brother Davydd under his thumb, evade the ire of the power-hungry Edward I of England, and to at last be united with his soul mate, the Lady Ellen, exiled daughter of the dead rebel, Simon de Montfort. Finally putting aside her somewhat annoying tendency to get bogged-down with her minor characters, Penman is at last able to concentrate solely on her main characters, and on the world they inhabit. In "Reckoning" Penman follows her characters all over the known world, bringing to life such places as the steaming Crusader fortresses of the Holy Land, a pirate ship on the high seas, soaring cathedrals and humble, ice-encrusted, haunted shrines, and, most of all, the haunting, sweeping, beautiful and, ultimately, doomed land of Gwynedd. Probably the most interesting and compelling character in this novel is Davydd, Llewelyn's charming younger brother who's concept of loyalty is...peculiar, to say the least. Forever straddling the fence, Davydd serves both as Llewelyn's foil and, ultimately, his truest ally. (His "soliloquey" while awaiting his fate at Edward's hands in the second to last chapter is just wrenching.) Of all the characters in the novel, he is the one most concerned with discovering himself and where his heart lies. If it were possible to feel empathy for Cain...Penman does this justice. Read this novel! But like the other two, make sure you stock up on kleenexes, first, because if this novel does not ultimately break your heart, there is something wrong with you, I think.
am 9. Juni 2000
In "The Reckoning", Sharon Kay Penman concludes her Welsh trilogy, begun in "Here Be Dragons" and continued in "Falls the Shadow." This tale chronicles the conflict between Llewelyn ap Gruffydd and Edward I of England. Llewelyn shines here; as in "Falls the Shadow", I found this character to be amazing and utterly fascinating, and the love story between him and Ellen de Montfort was exquisite and poignant. Similarly, Daffydd ap Gruffydd's characterization was marvelous.
Ms. Penman's tendency to allow fictionalized characters such as Hugh and Caitlin center stage, however, only detracts from her novel. This book is not for the faint of heart; the starkness of the ending, fictionalized characters aside, was something that stayed with me a long time. A very good book, if lacking the power of the other two in the trilogy.
am 2. Juli 1998
As with all good things, Penman's trilogy had to come to an end. But what a tragic end. I never expected Ellen de Montort's character to be as strong as it was. While she did not have the political savvy of an Eleanor of Aquitaine or the ambition of a Maude or Marguerite d'Anjou, her strength against Edward's tyranny and her steadfast optimism endeared her to me. The Welsh saga is especially tragic because of the blood rivalries. Nowhere is this more apparent than between Llewelyn ap Gryfudd and Davydd. Unlike in other relationships where Gryfudd and later Owain were imprisoned, Llewelyn and Davydd had a unique dynamic. To know that Davydd's rashness forced an early confrontation seemed even more of a betrayal not just to Llewelyn but also to Wales. And yet, in the end, there was nothing to do but mourn: for the House of Cunedda, the Welsh people, and Wales. On a side note, I enjoy Penman's afterword and author's note. They're as much fun to read as her books.
am 29. Mai 1999
After reading the first two installments in the trilogy, I was primed for the 3rd. I had already lost my heart to Llellwyn Fawr in "Sunne" and felt the paralizing grip of an English Kings displeasure - but "Reckoning" made me realize the helplessness of any two people living in that era, Peasant or Noble, and the true meaning of "at the Kings Pleasure".
A great adventure, romance and historical novel in the tradition of the trilogy. This Welsh Prince is a treasure as is Davydd, his brother & rival who is one of the most interesting characters I've come across in many pages. Ellen is a great heroine, neither inhumanly strong nor weak; she is believeable and that is what makes her travails so heartrending. Please read this book!!!!
am 9. Juni 1999
This book was very good, but is overshadowed by the excellence of Here be Dragons and Falls the Shadow. It ended on a tragic note but is a great book for Penman fans, history addicts and anyone Welsh. Penman's prose is addictive- once you read her, you'll read ALL her novels- they're just plain good. They all contain interesting plot, and characters, which is all the more fascinating because it's all true! Her Author's note and Afterward are very informative and interesting- infact, now I'm so interested I've bought a book on Welsh midevial history and I'm going next for one on Simon de Montfort. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
am 28. Oktober 2008
I had read this fantasic novel some years ago and recently I read it again. I am actually not very often inclinded to re-read books but here I was - like some years ago - absolutely hooked and could not put it down. This is historcial novel writing as it should be. "The Reckoning folows Penman's inititial success "The Sunne in Splendour" and is writing with the same knowledge, passion and superb style of writing. Since her first novel she has never disappointed her readers.. The novel re-awakens medieval Wales and England and a long lost time for today's reader. Simply superb!!!
am 18. März 2000
Sharon Kay Penman is simply the best historical novelist out there. "The Reckoning," like its predecessors "Here Be Dragons" and "Falls The Shadow," is a triumph of incredible writing, a tight (and historically accurate) plot, and a sense of being there that is so strong you forget it's been 600 years since these events. I have recommended Penman to so many people I've lost count. A must for any historical fan (although romance fans will NOT like the less-than-happy ending--but that's life).
am 27. April 2000
Like all of her books, this one depicts more than one main character. She truely gives you the affect of "his side, her side and what really happened." She shows the strength of Simon de Monfort, and the liberal views of his wife. This is a wonderful read for any history buff, anyone researching this era but tired of reading documentaries, or anyone who would like to read good literature. It is an acurate account followed by an author's note to explain any liberties that she took in writting.
am 17. Juli 1999
Like all of the others here, I feel that this is a wonderful book. The entire trilogy was a great read. I enjoyed this book in particular. I couldn't put it down. (It literally went everywhere with me for a day.) There was something about her portrayal of Llewelyn ap Gruffudd that I found captivating. His stuggle to live up to the legacy of his grandfather was classic and beautiful. This is one of the best historical fiction novels I've ever read!