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The Fatal Crown: A Novel (The Queens of Love and War Book 1) by [Jones, Ellen]
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The Fatal Crown: A Novel (The Queens of Love and War Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this cumbrous historical novel, Jones postulates a turbulent love affair between the English princess Maud (born 1102) and her cousin and rival to the throne, Stephen of Blois--their passion complicated by political strife. Granddaughter of William the Conquerer, the historical Maud was wed at nine to an aging Holy Roman Emperor, later recalled from Germany as a widow of 25, named heir to the crown of England and married to 14-year-old Geoffrey Plantagenet. The novel dramatizes Maud's purported adulterous liaison with Stephen, who, despite their passionate involvement, angrily challenges her right to the throne when her father dies: their rivalry did in fact erupt into a devastating civil war; Stephen won, reigning until his death in 1154, whereupon Maud's son acceded to the throne, becoming the skilled administrator Henry II, husband of Eleanor of Aquitaine. As depicted here, Maud is a temperamental romance heroine, manipulated by male chauvinists--feudal barons; her father, Henry I; her domineering, priggish husband, Geoffrey. Jones packs her fiction debut with factual passages that read as turgidly as a textbook, brightening the narrative with lust-filled interludes in royal bedchambers and a rustic forest lodge. The many hunting descriptions indicate inadequate research--a huntsman on the field would never feed his dogs raw boar meat--yet the period color and romance carry the tale to its bittersweet ending. 100,000 first printing .
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“Jones packs her fiction debut with factual passages . . . brightening the narrative with lust-filled interludes in royal bedchambers . . . the period color and romance carry the tale to its bittersweet ending.” —Publishers Weekly

Product Details

  • File Size: 1689 KB
  • Print Length: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Romance (January 29, 2013)
  • Publication Date: January 29, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AYRI4TI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,991 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richard R. Carlton on November 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
It's entirely possible to love or hate Ellen Jones' "The Fatal Crown." This is historical fiction in the tradition of Margaret George's great novels like "The Memoirs of Cleopatra" and "The Autobiography Of Henry VIII". ...mostly it stays true to the facts of this horrible period in English history ...As with any historical novel, Jones makes up nearly all of the dialogue and she does do some wild speculation about the birth of the future Henry II. However, she is very careful to make sure her speculation coincides with facts that are unexplainable otherwise.
I am a fairly good student of Eleanor and Henry II and there is not much doubt that the very popular books on Eleanor pretty much enhance her life beyond what really occurred. This does not stop me from enjoying a good historical novel about either of them. In this case, the speculation about the Empress Maude and King Stephen is probably fantasy, but Jones does a credible job of making sure that all the wild events fit into the known historical facts. In fact, she is the only novelist I have yet read who came up with a plot that actually explained the bizarre swings of fortune that occurred during the long civil war between Maude and Stephen. She keeps a very positive narration on both sides (something that so many novelists just can't seem to pull off - most just *have* to demonize one party or the other). She has decent explanations for Maude's actions in London as well as Stephen's crazy releases of both Maude and the adolescent Henry as well as his final act of making Maude's son his heir instead of his own son Eustace.
When history is insane (and it certainly was during this period), I can find enjoyment in a crazy plot designed to explain the insanity. ...
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Format: Kindle Edition
The whole premise of this book is so bogus, the writer ought to be embarrassed. It isn't even close to being historical fiction. It is historical rubbish. The concept of a relationship between Maud (Matilda) and Stephen is absolutely preposterous. The period when they warred with each other is one of the darkest days in British history. If you really want to read a novel about this period read Sharon Kay Penman's "When Christ and His Saints Slept." While it is a novel, Penman doesn't stray from the truth, but she does use fiction to flesh the story out.
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By A Customer on January 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Very well written and fast paced. 500+ pages that just disappeared--I didn't want it to end. Wonderfully drawn characters that you come to know and care about. Action, adventure, history and some very good sex. Jones does play a bit fast and loose with the history--but after all it is ficiton and the book is so good that it really doesn't seem to matter. While suggesting that Henry II might actually not be a Plantagenant (did I spell that correctly?), might send some to screaming--Jones is not the first author (in fiction or non-fiction) to make reference to an attraction and admiration existing between royal rivals Maud and Stephen. Even the beloved Sharon Kay Penman makes some reference to this in "When Christ and His Saints Slept." Anyway, Jones does get most of the rest of the history right and I always find it enjoying to read anything about Stephen of Blois and Maud, especially books that paint Maud in a favorable light. It seems to me she was unfairly manipulated to the extreme throughout her life and then abused by the historians as well. As historical romance goes, this is one of the best I've read. I can't wait to read the sequel.
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Format: Paperback
A badly written historical romance trying to disguise itself as an historical novel. Ellen James takes a defining moment in English history--the struggle between Maude of Germany and Stephen of Blois for the English throne--and turns it into a love story, even implying that Maude's son Henry was fathered by Stephen and not her husband Geoffrey of Anjou! Readers who know nothing of history may enjoy this, but for a much better overview of these events read Sharon Kay Penman's "When Christ and His Saints Slept."
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It has been over a year since I read this book. The reason I pulled up Amazon today was to look for the promised sequel. As someone who enjoys both European history and romance novels, and who has passing familiarity with the real stories of the characters in this novel, it proved a deeply satisfying blend of fact and fiction. I will go so far as to say that this title started me reading Regency romances...of which I've now read about thirty. (Yes, I realize The Fatal Crown does not take place in the Regency period; rather, it is set in the century following William the Conquerer.)

Another reviewer implied that it is more of a "romance" than a literary novel. Does that make it lack prestige, in his opinion? If he's right - and I'm not sure that everyone would agree with him - labeling it a romance doesn't bother me one bit. Romances happen to own a huge share of the book market!

Ms. Jones, please hurry up with that sequel!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
the first book in the trilogy of the rise of the plantagent this book takes us to England at the death of henry I and the struggle for the throne between his daughter Maud (whom he designated as his heir) and her cousin Stephen of Blois who was henry's protégé. the civil war that ensued after Stephen usurped the crown resulted in anarchy that very nearly destroyed the country. (it was put back together again by Henry II, his wife and queen Eleanor of Aquataine and Thomas Becket - but that is another whole book by this author.) although the author takes some rather controversial positions on the events - most particularly regarding Henry II's parentage, the book is still a fascinating look at life in the 12th century and at a civilization which was at a turning point in history. best read with the other two books in this trilogy to get the full impact
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