January 9, 2016

Prince of Darkness by Sharon Kay Penman

Title:  Prince of Darkness
Author:  Sharon Kay Penman
Pages:  327
Genre:  Historical Fiction / Mystery
Publisher:  Berkley, 2006
Series:  Justin de Quincy, Book 4
Justin's hesitation was barely noticeable. "I serve at the queen's pleasure," he said.
Synopsis: Justin de Quincy hastens to Paris at the request of his former lover only to discover that she was acting on behalf of his nemesis, Prince John. The prince has been implicated in a plot to kill his brother, King Richard, and wants Justin to prove the incriminating document false.

Realizing that John's suspected treachery may also risk the welfare of the woman he serves, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Justin reluctantly agrees to help. But his investigation unravels a sinister conspiracy that might change the course of English history.

Review:  Ever since reading this author's 900+ page book The Sunne in Splendour years ago, I've known she was one of the foremost writers of historical fiction set in the Medieval period.  I read book three of this series way back in 2008 and was a little afraid I'd be lost.  But, these stories are so easy to get into and the characters so memorable, that I had no trouble at all.

Justin de Quincy is the 'Queen's man'.  The Queen being Eleanor of Aquitaine.  Her son, Richard the Lionheart, is the King of England (although he's being held for ransom).  Another of her sons, John, wants to be sitting on that same throne.  The conspiracy and mystery surrounding the false accusations against John and the murder of an innocent woman take Justin to well over a dozen places and into danger and intrigue at the highest levels.

My favorite part of reading Ms. Penman's work is knowing that the majority of the characters were real and the places existed as she describes them.  Her research alone must be incredibly time consuming.  I learn so much about this time period from her books and since I truly love this era, it's always a pleasure.  And she takes such care with her writing, it seems these people live and breathe and love on her pages.

Rating:  9.5 / 10


  1. Not heard of this one but it sounds interesting. :)

  2. This is a new to me author - and her work sounds amazing. It's been a long time sine I've gotten lost in a period book and you've really brought back to me the reason why I loved them so much.

    Tanya Patrice

    1. If you love period books, please give The Sunne in Splendour a try. It is truly great historical fiction.


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