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Summary

Rebel. Leader. Brother. King.

1179. Henry II is King of England, Wales, Ireland, Normandy, Brittany and Aquitaine. The House of Plantagenet reigns supreme.

But there is unrest in Henry's house. Not for the first time, his family talks of rebellion.

Ferdia - an Irish nobleman taken captive during the conquest of his homeland - saves the life of Richard, the king's son. In reward for his bravery, he is made squire to Richard, who is already a renowned warrior.

Crossing the English Channel, the two are plunged into a campaign to crush rebels in Aquitaine. The bloody battles and gruelling sieges which followed would earn Richard the legendary name of Lionheart.

But Richard's older brother, Henry, is infuriated by his sibling's newfound fame. Soon it becomes clear that the biggest threat to Richard's life may not be rebel or French armies, but his own family....

©2020 Ben Kane (P)2020 Orion Publishing Group

Critic reviews

"A rip-roaring epic, filled with arrows and spattered with blood. Gird yourself with mail when you start." (Paul Finch)

"Ben's deeply authoritative depiction of the time is delivered in a deft manner." (Simon Scarrow)

What listeners say about Lionheart

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Stunning narration

I have never been particularly bothered about listening to the audio versions of my books. Philip Stevens, however, has a masterful voice, so I gave this a try. He's done a bl**dy amazing job - truly brings my book alive! Over the moon.

17 people found this helpful

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Kane Goes All Modern On Us!

I've listened to several of Ben Kane's audio books and I can only imagine what his first reaction was when apparently his publisher suggested he go for something a little less ancient. He doesn't quite reveal those initial thoughts in his insightful notes at the end. I must admit I wasn't sure if it would work but it wasn't long before he had me rooting for' Rufus', a faithful hound of a character if there ever was one! An Irish noble hostage taken by the English to ensure the good behaviour of his rebellious father he's definitely one to follow into the remainder of the series!

The narration by Philip Stevens is first class. Lots of big voices, emotion and a great aging King Henry all come together to complete what is a truly vivid performance that helps breathe additional life into Kane's excellent text. There are battles and skirmishes, friendships and betrayals and even love trysts and murder! It's a heady concoction befitting one of England's most iconic of historical characters and it's all tied up nicely with some fascinating author's notes at the end. I do like it when an author takes the time to explain how he drew his inspiration and to an extent where he has taken liberties with his story to give it proper context.

So, an excellent start to a series that I am very much looking forwards to reading. Great characters, great action and a flowing story brought to life by an excellent narrator make this an extremely good way to spend your listening time!

11 people found this helpful

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What a wonderful book!

Just the right amount of history and fiction which makes for a gripping story that you won’t want to put down. I really like the character development in this book, it made me feel invested right from the start. Battle scenes are Ben’s speciality and this book is no different. The performance was also very well done. An easy, enjoyable and at times gripping story. A book for everyone.

4 people found this helpful

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  • CT
  • 22-06-20

A positive change of era

Medieval Europe is a new direction for Kane. Excellent story, looking forward to the next

3 people found this helpful

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Lionheart

I loved this book. Now I want to know what happens next and am not very happy at having to wait a whole year. Please revise your plans. I was expecting Rufus’ arch enemy to be killed off and him to be awarded the hand of Beatrice but neither happened.
I enjoyed the voice of the reader and his academic professionalism with many different languages and correct pronunciation. (This happens rarely in audible books.) Do I detect a fellow classicist?

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Another great story

Great characters woven into a compelling storyline. Please continue to support and write within this historical fictional genre.

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magnificent work

this was a facinating story with vivid characters and it kept me entertained throughout. I would highly recommend it.

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  • N
  • 21-06-20

More Walter Scott than Hilary Mantell

Undemanding easy read only occasionally irksome when french names are mispronounced by the supposedly Irish hero with an english accent.

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Just Brilliant

I’ve read nearly all of Ben Kane’s books. They are truly brilliant. This one does not disappoint. Fascinating as ever. With lots, interesting aspects of the the time of Richard the lion heart which I never knew; his quarrels with Henry his father, and their Warring. It is also fascinating to get a picture of what life was like for a young squire in medieval Britain and France. There is so much to cover, and I think Ben does an fantastic job of this. The story interweaving the different characters - your faithful protagonist Rufus and his trusty companion Rees and how they meet and interacts with William Marshall - previously until this book - an unknown figure in medieval nobility - who now comes to life as a galant, stoic and honourable knight who had to make some very hard and very brave decisions as to who his allegiance is owed to; an aging king, or an aggressive ‘warmongering’ prince.

Give this book a read. You will not regret it. I just hope he writes a sequel!

Thanks Ben for another terrific book.

Archie

1 person found this helpful

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Truly excellent start to this series

I can highly recommend this , the first , of Ben Kane’s series on Richard the Lionheart . Well researched , great characters and rollicking good action and adventure feature prominently . Can’t wait for the second on the Crusades .

1 person found this helpful

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  • Craig
  • 15-01-21

Painfully Droll Historical Fiction

This novel listens/reads like Juvenile Ouija Board Prophecy. The narrator, a squire to Richard the 1st, is a toady, even though he suspects that his allies are implicated in the killing of his family (tangentially at least). Uhhh...this is not a novel of revenge, it is a supernumerary's sideshow, made relevant by the narrator's (an Irish Royal Hostage) loyalty to an important historical figure. His indifference to injustice is overplayed stoicism...totally fake and unbelievable. Bad actors are unrealistically bad and good ones are gruff caricatures of righteous historical icons.

There is nothing new here. A bad Robin Hood novel would tell the same story, The prose and descriptions of 1187 are lacking poetic power or historic relevance. The cliches are painful...wiley vixen to describe a girlfriend, and mornings are crisp and fresh....all the droll cliches and uninterested prose to sell pulp, but not enough to fool a connoisseur of tantalizing British historical fiction.

Don't bother starting this novel unless you are bored and expect little from your text. Two Swords Down!

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  • K. Wilson
  • 27-07-20

History during the middle ages is a dauntingly ...

morass of politics. alliances formed then broken within a couple of years, even months. The physical distances are deceptively small yet even small areas become crucial. then the dimension of time increases the details exponitionally. the USA 250yr history is relatively short compared to 1000 years of very limited written and momentous historical events.
Mr Kane brings areas of conflict into focus especially for the avid amateur history buff. I 'see' them as real people doing extraordinary things, yet born into a world very different from my own. Thank you Mr. Kane

1 person found this helpful

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  • Leonard E. Houston II
  • 28-12-21

NO EXPECTATIONS

When I started this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It took off a little slow, but as the story developed and characters were added, it began to flow beautifully together. Being a history buff, Richard the Lionheart is a larger than life figure to take on. Ben Kane did a good job of not overplaying his hand and although the story came to a rather quick ending, there is so much more left on the table to write about. I am certainly will be looking for more Ben Kane writings in the future.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-07-21

Vivid adventure

I found the book to do a fine job of bringing the medieval world to life. While I thought John was portrayed to obvious a villain, the other family members fit my vision from my own reading. I especially enjoyed the interpretation of William Marshall. I would love if you wrote a book with Marshall as the main character. Great book I highly recommend.

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  • Ksenia Chabarova
  • 04-05-21

Another great story

I love Ben Kane. I've found him from his stories of Romans, and now I'm here with a new subject. Of course I knew who Richard the Lionheart was, but I never dived in this historical period as I did with Rome. And how happy I am I did it with this book!

Kane always strides for historical accuracy (and always discloses where he doesn't), so I listened to the book while checking myself on Wikipedia about who was who. It was a bit challenging, moreover English isn't my first language, so I struggled a bit (my dear English native speakers, what are you doing with all the French words, I'm almost dying here!). But I feel it was worth it. The story was very captivating, and thanks to Philip Stevens all the characters had their own voice and character. Sometimes I felt I was present for the dialogs between the King's sons, and I think I can say this is a sign of a great reading. Listen or read it by yourself, and even if (for some unknown reason) you don't like it you'd definitely have something to think about.

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  • Dany
  • 17-01-21

Can't wait for the next instalment of this gifted author!

Ben Kane is a freak of nature! I couldn't stop listening to this audiobook. I kept having to 'rewind' the book because I was constantly distracted by my day to day commitments.
Fantastic read!

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  • Kevin
  • 04-01-21

Exceedingly entertaining

Outstanding writing and narration. I can't wait for the next book in the (hopefully long) series.

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  • shane
  • 18-12-20

A story greatly told of a time long forgotten

I have 106 historical fiction titles in my library, this one just became my favorite. thank you MR. kane for enthralling in this wonderful story.

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  • goose
  • 21-11-20

thank you

I enjoyed book and narrator. Look forward to June 2021 and hopefully more of the same

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  • me_little_armalite
  • 14-10-20

One of the best of this category

of books. Kept my interest all the way through. Reader was perfect. Book wasn't too long or short.