Day 16: Longest book you’ve read
The Sunne in Splendour – Sharon K. Penman
At 1078 pages, The Sunne in Splendour in a MASSIVE book to read. The sort of book people would choose to read in e-book format these days. Well, as long as they’re reading it.
The Sunne in Splendour is an historical fiction book which depicts the end of England’s Wars of the Roses. The houses of Lancaster and York experienced several instances of fighting between 1455 and 1485. The Wars only concluded when Henry VII took the throne, taking Elizabeth of York (the daughter of one of the previous kings) as his bride. Their son would be known as Henry VIII.
Now that all that back story’s covered… The Sunne in Splendour particularly focuses on the historical figure of Richard III – who was immortalised by Shakespeare in the play of the same name. The basis of Penman’s novel is that Richard III has been historically misunderstood. After all, Shakespeare was writing his plays during the reign of the Stuarts, an offshoot of the York family. As such, this telling is very sympathetic to Richard who is manipulated by those he trusts (and some he doesn’t) throughout the novel, and whose intentions to protect his family and the throne and mistaken for villainy. I really felt for Richard throughout this book – the poor guy just didn’t deserve what he got. Though, that is rather a point of contention…
I really enjoyed this book when I read it some years ago. I’d be tempted to re-read it, but it is a very large book. Maybe I’ll look into that whole, nasty, e-book thing. 🙂
*As a random side note: Richard III was nearly the subject of both the longest and the shortest books I’ve read, but I decided not to include Shakespeare’s play – just to shake it up a bit!