Putnam, March 2002, 27.95, 512 pp.
Early in his reign, King Henry II successfully subdues his rebellious lords, who prefer their little fiefdoms to a powerful central state figure like His Highness. He decides he must also act accordingly with the Church in order to bring the priests in line. He chooses his most trusted ally Chancellor Thomas Becket to serve as the Archbishop of Canterbury though his friend is not a priest. However, once Sir Thomas takes over his new position, he changes his philosophy and becomes a fanatical supporter of the Church publicly opposing much of what his mentor desires.
Though over a decade younger than his wife Eleanor, Henry still loves her madly. He sires two daughters and five sons with her, while anchoring the throne for his Plantagant descendants (Richard, John, etc.) through war, treachery, and statesmanship. However, his fame (or shame) in history hinges on the murder of Sir Thomas, considered a saint by almost everyone else in the country.
TIME AND CHANCE, the sequel to WHEN CHRIST AND HIS SAINTS SLEPT, is an insightful historical fiction that brings to life the Henry II nation-building era. Reminding the audience in many ways of A Man for All Seasons, the tale is vividly loaded so that the audience can see a critical period in the building of a nation. Henry is a complex individual whom Sharon Kay Penman insures the audience fully comprehends how deep the King was. The look at the fights Henry fought and their impact on his family, his subjects, and his enemies make this mid to late twelfth century tale a must read for genre fans.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner