Sharon Kay Penman is probably my very favorite author of historical fiction. Her books are generally quite long (the exception is the shorter books in her mystery series starring Justin de Quincy), and so effortlessly create whole worlds that I just love to fall into. I turn to her books when I’m looking for a comfortable, engrossing read that won’t be over in a day or two! I’m slowly working my way through all her work; I’ve only read a few so far but have collected most of them. In chronological order, they are…
The Sunne In Splendour (1982) – reading now
The Welsh Trilogy
Here Be Dragons (1985) – own it (edit: read it)
Falls The Shadow (1988) – own it
The Reckoning (1991) – this was my first Penman, and I reread it several times before branching out, I loved it so much. Now I guess it’s time to go back and read the first two in this trilogy!
The Justin de Quincy Mysteries
The Queen’s Man (1996) – enjoyed it
Cruel As The Grave (1998)
Dragon’s Lair (2003)
Prince of Darkness (2005)
The other aspect of Penman’s work (which I’ve discussed before) is that she does meticulous research. I consider her to be an excellent example of a responsible author of historical fiction; the author’s notes at the back of each of her books details where history ends and where fiction begins, so that the responsible reader can be careful about how much she takes away from these books as fact. I definitely recommend her work.