Falls the Shadow

Falls the Shadow - Sharon Kay Penman This was an interesting read for me, because most everything else I had read put Simon de Montfort as a demon, a person who was only self serving, looking after himself and hoping to gain a crown from his endeavors. Instead Sharon Kay Penman paints him as a man who was a champion for those who had no voice in government, but who were burdened by the King and the government at large. These base-born invidivuals wanted their rights as well, but they were overshadowed by the Lords of the land, and their voice was diminished because of it. I will admit though, there were times that I was afraid I might never keep all the names straight! I finally conjured up mental images of what I thought each would look like and that did help some in remembering the names when I would come across them again.

Simon de Montfort was quite an enigma of his time. He fought to free those oppressed, and also sough to temper the government and to bring about reforms that would protect the lower classes while reigning in the upper classes. This man lived about 650 years to early for his time, and had he been born later, he might have accomplished all he hoped and dreamed. This novel was written in a way where it was hard to put down. It also painted the King and Queen in quite a different light. I read "The Sister Queens" by Sophie Perinot before this one, and it was quite a contrasting light to these individuals. One painting them as looking for the well being of their country, and the other as dis-associative and only looking out again for their own well being. I haven't done enough research myself to draw my own conclusions, but I find the differences quite interesting. I will look further into it for my own satisfaction, but I do recommend this book for a good read! Its long but dont let page numbers fool you, its one that you wont want to put down! As you turn the pages you feel as though you are riding along side these men as they go into battle, or standing beside the Countess as she digs in her heels and refuses to give way to anyone who might cross her. I think it would have been quite interesting to live along side these individuals and gain a first hand look into their lives, two people, a husband and wife, who dared to defy what the established view was of the day, and for one, to go against her own brother, the King of England!