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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

23 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!

12 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?

2 people found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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!

2 people found this helpful

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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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  • 🌟CW_214🌟
  • 07-08-22

Narrator Issue

Took me quite a while to get through this book and it wasn’t due to the story itself. Can’t help but think I would have loved it if narration more fitting to the story. Phillip Stevens would be perfect you YA type stories but adds.. too much. Wrong narration for a book like this.

No complaints on the writing by any means. If anything, it showed how good the writing is that I wanted to finish. Personal preference, but I’m doubtful I’ll buy the next on audio if the narration is the same.

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  • Fran
  • 14-07-22

Never wanted to press stop!

Narrator was great, story is amazing - Ben thank you for bringing this period to light. This is my first real book on the actual King Richard (apart from the robin hood stories as a child!) Cannot wait to get into the crusades 🙏🙏🙌🙌

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-05-22

wow

shared your concerns with not doing a roman title yet this series was non the less entertaining. love listening to these while I work. look forward you your next book and I hope someday a movie preferably on the forgotten legion series.

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  • ALLEN
  • 19-04-22

Excellent book!

I love history. The author does a great job of bringing history to life. I look forward to reading more.

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  • Trisha
  • 01-04-22

Great historical adventure

Narrator was wonderful. A delight to listen.
I will be listening to more books by this author

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  • Terence Lowery
  • 21-02-22

Rendering history with a pulse.

As with the author most of us a children watched the adventures of Robin Hood and bad King John and good King Richard. Mr. Kane has done us all well. Respect Sir!!

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  • Martin See
  • 30-01-22

Where's Richard?

I couldn't get through the first book. Dull, boring , fairytale. I was expecting a little bit of history, but it's just a yarn about a fictional Irishman.

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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.