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Lionheart by Stewart Binns

Posted By Claire on November 21, 2013

LionheartThis review is by our regular fiction reviewer Penelope Wright – thanks Penny!

When I had finished this book I was asked “How was it” my reply was “I loved it”!

I knew about Richard the Lionheart from school history lessons, the Robin Hood legends, and various reports about his sexuality, his cruelty etc. over the years. Stewart Binns made the man come to life for me. Yes he was cruel but not for his time. He put down uprisings in Aquitaine, quarreled with his Father, Henry II, and became King of a country he did not know after the age of 8. His Mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, was at odds with his Father and was kept imprisoned for many years. The Middle Ages were brutal and warfare was commonplace. There was no place for monarchs who were not strong and evidenced that strength. The barons would have walked all over them and Anarchy would have reigned even longer.

It was good to meet up with Harold, Binns’ Earl of Huntingdon, again, introduced in his book Anarchy, and he launches Ranulf of Lancaster into the role of Richard’s mentor. The characters of the Grand Quintet, all authentic, are portrayed as they are reported to be from the times. I can find no reference in my research to Richard’s poor treatment during his imprisonment at Durnstein Castle. However I can’t imagine it was luxurious but were any castles luxurious in those days?

Well researched using known history of the period but again Binns weaves his own story into the alliances, quests and intrigues of the Middle Ages and the Crusades.

Amazon Blurb

Lionheart is the latest historical adventure novel from Stewart Binns, covering the extraordinary life of King Richard the Lionheart.

Richard of Aquitaine, the third son of King Henry II, is developing a fearsome reputation for being a ruthless warrior. Arrogant and conceited he earns the name Richard Lionheart for his bravery and brutality on the battlefield.

After the death his brothers, Richard’s impatience to take the throne, and gain the immense power that being King over a vast empire would bring him, leads him to form an alliance with Philip II, King of France.

After invading his father’s lands on the Continent, Richard Lionheart goes on to defeat the King’s army at the tumultuous Battle of Ballans. Taking his place on the throne he begins his bloody quest to return the Holy Land to Christian rule.

Stewart Binns’ Making of England series features Conquest, Crusade, Anarchy and his latest historical page-turner, Lionheart.

Book Details

Paperback: 576 pages
Kindle edition: 2788 KB
Publisher: Penguin (7 Nov 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1405913606
ISBN-13: 978-1405913607
Available as a paperback and Kindle book from, Amazon UK or your usual bookstore.


2 Responses to “Lionheart by Stewart Binns”

  1. pam curwood says:

    I have never liked the myth of the lion heart as a king, he spent very little time in England and just used it as fund’s to send him on his ego trips to the crusade, A man who did not care about his people just about him self even at his death. In my mind should not be given much time in our history book’s

  2. Gareth Russell says:

    Hi Pam. In Richard’s defence, it’s important to note that although he didn’t spend a lot of time in England, he did spend a lot of time in his realm. England then ruled more of France than the French crown and Richard had spent most of his earlier career co-ruling with his mother as duke of the Aquitaine and doing it very conscientiously. The Crusades cannot really be dismissed as an ego trip, I think, because Richard was conforming to what many of his subjects and contemporaries expected of Christian kings – not only should they fight bravely, which Richard did, but they should also heed the Pope’s call to defend Christian rule in the Holy Land, which he and the rulers of most other Western European kingdoms did. Richard also intervened to alleviate the suffering of Jews who were forced to convert to Christianity in the anti-Semitic pogroms that followed his coronation. So although he may not be judged a successful king by the standards of later Anglocentric patriotic historians, by the standards of the twelfth century, I believe Richard was a very successful monarch.

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