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Publisher's Summary

A rich tale of power and forbidden love revolving around a young medieval queen...
In 1002, 15-year-old Emma of Normandy crosses the Narrow Sea to wed the much older King Athelred of England, whom she meets for the first time at the church door. Thrust into an unfamiliar and treacherous court, with a husband who mistrusts her, stepsons who resent her and a bewitching rival who covets her crown, Emma must defend herself against her enemies and secure her status as queen by bearing a son.
Determined to outmaneuver her adversaries, Emma forges alliances with influential men at court and wins the affection of the English people. But her growing love for a man who is not her husband and the imminent threat of a Viking invasion jeopardize both her crown and her life.
Based on real events recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Shadow on the Crown introduces listeners to a fascinating, overlooked period of history and an unforgettable heroine whose quest to find her place in the world will resonate with modern listeners.
©2013 Patricia Bracewell (P)2013 Penguin Audiobooks
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Customer Reviews

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By S. Wells on 02-18-13

The Year 1000--To Be Continued

Interesting fictionalized presentation of the politics of post-Alfred (and pre-Norman) England. This is a time period of which I have read little historical fiction, but I would like to hear more. Details of daily life (especially for nobles) seem to be portrayed well. There is enough suspense, some gore, no gratuitous sex. It gives a pretty good sense of what it must have been like to live under the shadow of fear of Viking raids. Aethelred "Unred" Is shown as waffling and increasingly mentally unstable; but the story also gives a good feeling for what it must be like to hold power in a world where power-grabbers abound, and the way to power is violence. The way to power for women, make no mistake, is in relation to a man, and there is little enough even then. Overall, although not outstanding, I found it entertaining and somewhat informative. My main complaint is that it ends abruptly, and the next story is not yet available..

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful


By Andrea on 08-03-14

Well-done Saxon historical fiction

What stood out most was character development, most notable Ethelred; while not being a necessarily wise king, he is at least shown as one of action, which does not necessarily hold with the historical characterization. The spectre of Edward haunting him and prompting him to act was a really interesting dynamic, and also to a degree explains why Edward (who will ultimately become Saint Edward the Confessor) was named as heir above the older Aethelings--typically Emma is blamed for that.

The change in character perspective was really nice to see, and the point-of-view of more minor characters was really interesting also. The only complaint I have is about the story or plot is the romance between Emma and Ethelstan. It's a bit contrived and predicable; I read a fair amount of historical fiction (much of it involving royalty), and it's a plot point in two out of three.

The narrator was great. A strong and steady voice, and inflection was such that no superfluous accents were necessary. I would listen to more narrated by Katie Firth.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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