Devil’s Brood

[This is a review of a sequel in a series. Read the review of the previous book, Time and Chance, here, and the first book When Christ and His Saints Slept here.]

Devil’s Brood by Sharon Kay Penman follows the latter part of Henry II’s reign and his downfall by his three sons, known as the “Devil’s brood” – deriving from the legend that the Angevin line was descended from the Devil himself – Henry the Young King, Geoffrey, and Richard, who would come to earn the nickname Lionheart for his reputation as a great military leader. Made discontent over their father’s unrelenting control, they decide to rebel and with the alliance of their mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Unlike Time and Chance, which mostly dealt with Henry II’s feud with Thomas Becket, the threat is closer to home and therefore with more devastating consequences for those involved. The twisted psychology of the Angevins, as written by Ms. Penman, as the brothers constantly manipulate one another and their father for personal gain, deceive, double-cross, and backstab one another and draw others into their web are ingredients for high drama that should also appeal to fans of Game of Thrones (the tv show and or books). The brothers’ bickering among each other and with their father will not only ensure their father’s downfall, but the loss of the Angevin empire.

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