Dragon's Lair

Dragon's Lair
by: Sharon Kay Penman

Challenges: TBR

Published: 2003

# of pages: 317

I wasn't really impressed with this one. I read The Queen's Man by Penman several years ago and remember enjoying that. I think that if I had read Dragon's Lair just after the first book I would enjoy it more. Apparently Penman also wrote another medieval mystery in between these two. I'm not sure if it's a part of the series, but I think so. If I had read them all together in order I think I may have been more interested in this novel.

It is a historical fiction/medieval mystery. The story is about Justin, the Queen Eleanor's man. He works directly for her spying and solving mysteries. Eleanor supports her son Richard while John is constantly trying to undermine both of them to get the throne. Justin is caught up in the middle.

The character Justin is a hard one to understand. He's sweet and sympathetic and protects women, but at the same time he sleeps around and doesn't learn his lesson after getting one woman pregnant and ruining her life. I suppose that's how a man would act in those times, but it was frustrating that he seems to be so much better than the average man during that time, but at the same time he isn't. So I didn't know what to think about him or even if I liked him or not. I didn't connect to him or really care what happened to him, which made it harder to enjoy the book.

However, I think historical fiction novels are great ways to learn history lessons. Penman stays close to actual historical events and writes about any changes she made in an author's note at the back of the book. I love it when authors do this because sometimes I will read a historical fiction novel and wonder how much of it is true. At the end of this book I found myself interested in her character of Llewelyn, who is an actual historical figure, a prince of Wales. She said she wrote more about him in her novel Here Be Dragons, so I think I may check that one out to read more about him and his life.

Anyway, the writing is good, but not great, just like the storyline. I recommend this to adults who enjoy historical fiction or the medieval time period. There were some adult situations which is why I don't recommend it to young adults.


Andi said...

I've never read Penman, but I've heard lots of good things about her. Actually haven't heard anything about this book in particular, which might be because no one likes it! lol

If I were to give her a try where would I start?

Nymeth said...

I'd like to ask the same as Andi! The Middle ages as a setting is something that really draws me, so I think I'd be interested in these books.

Andrea said...

The only other book by her that I've read is The Queen's Man which is the first in a series of 4 medieval mystery books. I remember it being good and I would like to re-read it and then read all of them in order. They take place during John's struggle to gain the crown, when Richard is off fighting. I also heard that Here Be Dragons is good and that takes place after John becomes king. Here's a list of her series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharon_Kay_Penman#Books
I think it's best to read them in order since the mysteries refer to things that took place in the previous novels which can be confusing if you haven't read them.

Andi said...

Thanks, Andrea!

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