Time and Chance (Eleanor of Aquitaine Series #2)

Time and Chance (Eleanor of Aquitaine Series #2)

by Sharon Kay Penman, Joe Blades (Editor)

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Time and Chance (Eleanor of Aquitaine Series #2) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Suebo More than 1 year ago
I have not quite finished reading Time and Chance - mainly because I don't want it to end. This time period in English history is fascinating and I think Sharon Kay Penman makes her characters and plot so interesting that you don't even realize you are receiving a history lesson! I am hooked! I have read many of her other books - Time and Chance is definitely a 10 whereas some of the others I may have even rated as low as a 6. Henry and Eleanor both make for great storytelling--and it is fun to believe that the author has really pegged their personalities. Also I think she does a great job keeping her characters consistent considering how many there are and all the conversation going on. I would think it would be hard to keep the great variety of personalities in order when it came to inventing conversation or personal reactions to plot situations -- but Sharon Kay Penman seamlessly slips back and forth between characters without losing any credibility. I think that is a measure of great writing ability.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading When Christ and his Saints Slept, I looked forward to Time and Chance. What a disappointment. Nowhere in it's pages did I find the usual captivating stye of Ms. Penman, and I only carried on reading in the hopes she would appear. Not one of her better books, oh well maybe a re-read of Sunne in Slendour will help restore my faith.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After waiting so long for the sequel to "When Christ and His Saints Slept", this book was snapped up in minute...and found to be, well...very boring. The characters had no life. Unlike the other books by Ms. Penman, this latest effort was a waste. I doubt now I'll read the third book of this trilogy...or will wait to pick up a copy at the library.
CheliD More than 1 year ago
Henry II of England was a formidable historical figure - just think of all that he accomplished or was involved with - Henry FitzEmpress later known as Henry Plantagenet, ruled as Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Nantes, King of England (1154–89) and Lord of Ireland; he also controlled Wales, Scotland and Brittany. He fathered 8 children on Eleanor of Aquitaine, two who later became king - Richard the Lion-hearted and John of Robin Hood fame. This part of the trilogy concerns the time of strife when Harry was in constant disagreement with Thomas Becket, his Archbishop of Canterbury, over the manner in which the punishment of the clergy concerning wrongdoings. Becket wanted he Church to maintain its sovereignty and Harry wanted the misdeeds punished under normal English law. In the end, after 6 years of exile, Becket was murdered. Thinking of all that you would believe that the story that was told here would have been a bit boring, but Harry is brought to life with all his vigor, faults, and personality that this reader is eager to take up the next part of the tale of King Henry and Queen Eleanor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The middle years of Henry II's reign. I would call it the Beckett era. Beckett is still a controversial figure. Was he a priest of unmoving principle? Or was he an agressive chameleon using those abilities as a means to power? The author seems to lean to the latter. In this novel Thomas Beckett is more of a preener while at the same time being an enigma. This one characterization is enough to read this novel. This even when we know what will happen.
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
It’s greatly recommended - no actually you SHOULD read When Christ and his Saints Slept. Not only does it give you the background, an introduction to some characters that are featured in this book, and a lot of history, Time and Chance is a continuation of previously mentioned novel. There’s just something about Penman’s words that weaves the entire story into one very long epic movie like book. Everything is so well written, and descriptions are spot on and accurate. There are a lot of characters, yet maybe around 3 or 4 will stand out to you and you’ll take a liking to them. All the characters are written, and have distinct personalities to make them easier to remember. Some from the previous novel are also mentioned (Ranulf for example, who is one of my favorites). You do find yourself attached to some characters - I was happy to see William Marshall! he quickly became a favorite of mine. It was interesting to see the friendship between Thomas Becket and King Henry. It just deteriorated as you progress through the book (sometimes you feel like they’re bickering like children and you want to send them to their respective corners) it was interesting to see what happened that led up to Thomas getting killed. What was also interesting was when Rosamund enters the picture. Now, I’m all Team Eleanor when it comes to this issue (in fact, if I was Eleanor things would have ended up bloody if I were standing face to face with someone like Rosamund). I didn’t really like her, not just because she ended up breaking the band but because she just seemed like an empty headed bimbo with no purpose whatsoever except to make Henry happy (I’m sure he liked it that way too). I really did sympathize with Eleanor in this book. Not only was she extremely strong in so many ways (seriously Henry? making her pop out child after child and having Rosamund on the side? wow. Talk about having the cake and eating it whole) and I loved reading about her. She’s a fascinating character, especially for being a woman during that particular time period. This was a great book to read. A lot of information to swallow, a lot of rich fantastic characters that make the plot interesting and run smoothly. A must read for historical fiction fans, and fans of Sharon Kay Penman. Those curious would be better off with When Christ and his Saints Slept (where everything begins).
Guest More than 1 year ago
This series should be required reading. Old English History coming to life - this is certainly my most favorite time period to read about and I found myself constantly 'googling' for more information about these people. The struggle between Becket and Henry II and then the constant struggle between Henry II and Eleanor was so powerful - and what three difficult people. My favorite character, Ranulf, was so necessary - he acted as everyone's conscience throughout the novel and it always kept things balanced. I can't wait for the 3rd book - I'm hooked on the author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
as always, penman has managed to make me feel reunited with long lost friends...the long wait was well worth it...if you have read 'when christ and his saints slept' you will not want to miss this deftly crafted sequel...as soon as i turned the last page i was lamenting the fact that the thrid has not been created as of yet...as they were in life, they are in print....henry and eleanor...completely, totally, and utterly intoxicating.....
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.

Harriet Klausner

turtlesleap on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Penman's account of Henry II's tempestuous relationship with Thomas Becket is as compelling as earlier novels about Welsh history in this era. All of the characters are well drawn and Penman is careful with her research. Digressions from known history are acknowledged in the book's afterward. This one is strongly recommended for those interested in the period as well as for those who merely enjoy a good novel.
RockStarNinja on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I defiantly liked 'When Christ and His Saints Slept' better, but 'Time and Chance' is a great read makes me want to dive right into 'Devils Brood'. For me this is one of those books where you can tell it is building up to some kind of big ending.
sensitivemuse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It¿s greatly recommended - no actually you SHOULD read When Christ and his Saints Slept. Not only does it give you the background, an introduction to some characters that are featured in this book, and a lot of history, Time and Chance is a continuation of previously mentioned novel. There¿s just something about Penman¿s words that weaves the entire story into one very long epic movie like book. Everything is so well written, and descriptions are spot on and accurate. There are a lot of characters, yet maybe around 3 or 4 will stand out to you and you¿ll take a liking to them. All the characters are written, and have distinct personalities to make them easier to remember. Some from the previous novel are also mentioned (Ranulf for example, who is one of my favorites). You do find yourself attached to some characters - I was happy to see William Marshall! he quickly became a favorite of mine. It was interesting to see the friendship between Thomas Becket and King Henry. It just deteriorated as you progress through the book (sometimes you feel like they¿re bickering like children and you want to send them to their respective corners) it was interesting to see what happened that led up to Thomas getting killed. What was also interesting was when Rosamund enters the picture. Now, I¿m all Team Eleanor when it comes to this issue (in fact, if I was Eleanor things would have ended up bloody if I were standing face to face with someone like Rosamund). I didn¿t really like her, not just because she ended up breaking the band but because she just seemed like an empty headed bimbo with no purpose whatsoever except to make Henry happy (I¿m sure he liked it that way too). I really did sympathize with Eleanor in this book. Not only was she extremely strong in so many ways (seriously Henry? making her pop out child after child and having Rosamund on the side? wow. Talk about having the cake and eating it whole) and I loved reading about her. She¿s a fascinating character, especially for being a woman during that particular time period. This was a great book to read. A lot of information to swallow, a lot of rich fantastic characters that make the plot interesting and run smoothly. A must read for historical fiction fans, and fans of Sharon Kay Penman. Those curious would be better off with When Christ and his Saints Slept (where everything begins).
sds6565 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book was ponderous and slow moving
Joycepa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The second novel in her trilogy about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, Time and Chance covers the period of the middle years of Henry¿s reign, up to and including the notorious murder of Thomas Beckett, Archbishop of Canterbury. That, along with the deteriorating marriage to Eleanor are the twin foci of the book; given the tumultuous events of Henry¿s reign, who, as well as being the ruler of England, controlled more land in France the King of France (although Henry was nominally a vassal of the French king), there is plenty of drama to fill the pages of this superbly told and equally well-written book.Penman¿s first in the series, When Christ and His Saints Slept, covered the period of the English Civil War between Maude, Henry¿s mother, and Stephen, who seized the English after Henry I death, even though Henry had exacted an oath from his barons to honor his choice of Maude as heir. In that book, Penman does an outstanding job of presenting both sides of that bitter, 19 year war that devastated England.She does an equally brilliant job in presenting both sides of the increasingly acrimonious and finally lethal conflict between Henry and Beckett over the respective boundaries of power of Church and State. The long view of history is on Henry¿s side. BUT, in the context of the 12th century, as Penman so deftly shows, not only was that not clear but there was also a powerful argument on Beckett¿s side. Two different men--less stubborn, less proud--might have been able to settle the differences; there were certainly countless attempts to do so, especially efforts by the then-pope. But Penman makes clear that both men were at fault for their inability to yield. The controversy which ended in the murder of Becket was one of the most dramatic events of the Middle Ages; it was recorded in detail. Equally so with Beckett¿s murder; there were five eyewitnesses, who wrote detailed accounts. So Penman has plenty of rich material to work with, and she does an outstanding job.Just as fascinating is her rendition of the marriage between Henry and Eleanor, the probable causes for their increasing estrangement, which no doubt will culminate in her third and final book on Henry and Eleanor. But Penman does a masterful job in her presentation of the couple, again showing both sides of the troubles between them. It¿s nearly impossible, however, not to side with Eleanor, arguably the most powerful and fascinating woman of the Middle Ages.Stashed in between the two central dramas are wars with the Welsh and various rebellious barons of Henry¿s domains, and the tension between Henry and Louis VII, the St.Louis of French history, with whom Henry had to walk a fine line as he struggled both to keep his lands on the continent and expand his power whenever the opportunity arose.In Penman¿s hands, all the characters come alive. Henry, Eleanor, and especially Beckett reveal themselves both in words and actions to be complex characters. Penman is particularly good at dialogue. Most of her main cast are historical figures; carried over from her first book is the fictional character of Ranulf, supposedly one of Henry I¿s many illegitimate children (as Penman puts it, Henry had at least 20, so why not use one of them), and therefore uncle to Henry II. Ranulf serves beautifully, as he did in the first book, as an window on the Welsh at this time, important actors during Henry¿s reign.I particularly liked the structure of the book, which she used in When Christ and his Saints Slept. Segmented into slices of time set in particular locales, the structure is very effective, allowing for abrupt changes in time and place without disrupting the narrative in the slightest. There is also a nice sketch of England and France, showing the locations of major cities, towns, and castles, especially those that play an important part in the story. The book opens in July, 1156 at Chinon Castle in France and ends in Wales in 1171, with m
lookingforpenguins on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The second novel in Sharon Kay Penman's Eleanor of Aquitaine Trilogy was released in 2003 under the title Time and Chance. Picking up where When Christ and His Saints Slept left off, it continues to follow the fascinating story of the Plantagenet's quest to rule England, Normandy and ultimately far beyond.In Time and Chance, it is Maude's eldest son, Henry, who picks up the fight for the crown and goes on to become King Henry II. But England and Normandy are just a small piece of the empire Henry would come to rule. Enter Eleanor of Aquitaine, the infamous beauty who would become the one woman in history to hold both the title of Queen of France and Queen of England in her lifetime.Penman's characterization of Eleanor is riveting. Shrewdly intelligent and ambitious, it is Eleanor who orchestrates her divorce from the overly-pious King Louis VII and throws her lot in with Henry instead. As a result, Henry and Eleanor ruled an empire that stretched all the way to the Mediterranean -- not an easy piece of real estate to manage in the 12th century -- and much of Time and Chance is concerned with the various upheavals and rebellions Henry had to quell.Despite their hectic schedule, Henry and Eleanor still find time to produce eight children (lovingly referred to by later chroniclers as "the Devil's brood") and Henry, like most other royal men, found himself a mistress by the name of Rosamund.One of the more interesting aspects of Time and Chance is the exploration of Henry's complicated relationship with Thomas Becket, his friend, chancellor and later Archbishop of Canterbury. As the legend goes, Henry and Thomas had a falling out and Henry, out of frustration, asked the infamous question: "Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?!" Or at least, words to this effect. (Penman wisely chooses a variation of this phrase in Time and Chance.) Regardless of the exact phraseology -- history is a bit fuzzy on this point -- the result was catastrophic. Thomas Becket was murdered in his own church, paving the way for his martyrdom and haunting Henry for the rest of his life.If there are any problems, it is with the sheer volume of historic events Penmen packs into this novel. Events of such a grand scale led to a fracture in the flow of the narrative. After building tension with Henry and Beckett, the conflict then goes unmentioned for several chapters. Likewise with Henry's stormy relationship with Eleanor. The result is a somewhat disjointed feeling to the story, although Penman must be forgiven for this considering the large time frame she is covering.Despite this small flaw, there is no reason not to pick up this second book of the trilogy. Time and Chance focuses on the political scene of the 12th century and provides the necessary broader picture that paves the way for the newly-released Devil's Brood, which explores, on a more personal level, the disintegration of Henry and Eleanor's marriage and the hornet's nest of children they produced.
dread_ex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very diappointing follow up to While Christ and his Saints Slept. Instead of spending timwith Henry and Eleanor of Aquitaine, she takes the reader on a travelog through Wales following a fiictional character and his trials and tribulations, giving Henry's conflict with Thomas Becket short shift. Eleanor appears flat and lifeless. She is more alive and interesting in the Justin de Quincy mysteries.. I am not sure if I will pick up Devil's Broos when it comes out.
lindymc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel covers the first years of Henry II's reign, with emphasis on the developing feud with Thomas Beckett, the archbishop of Canterbury and ending with Beckett's murder in 1170. Quote from which the title comes: "Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to men of skill, but time and chance happen to them all." Ecclesiastes
mojacobs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not a great fan of historical novels, but Sharon Penman always keeps me reading - and her books are great big fat ones. Thiis is the second book about Henry Plantagenet and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and deals for a large part with Henry's troubles with Thomas Beckett. Great reading.
KatharineDB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great read from one of my favorite authors. Stayed up way to late reading- caught in the turbulent marriage of Henry and Eleanore of Aquitaine. Ms. Penman never lets me down...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good read!
Misfit on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another enjoyable book from SKP, but I didn't find this quite as interesting as her others, and a bit slower than When Christ and His Saints Slept. It's probably just me, but I didn't find the whole Thomas Becket saga all that fascinating, albeit it is an important part of English history. I did like the fact that the author continued with the Welsh side of the story, as so many authors of English history paint the Welsh as pagen barbarians. I am anxiously awaiting the publishing of the last in this series, The Devil's Brood, which I suspect will be the most fascinating, as it covers the period when the animosity between Henry and Eleanor heats up and the power plays for her sons. I read on the author's website that she's had health issues that have slowed down completion of the book, hopefully out in 2008.
lrobe190 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Recreates the tumultuous marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, presenting a tale filled with love, ambition, betrayal, and murder. Sharon Kay Penman has a way of telling a story that captures the reader immediately and doesn't let go until the very last page. She is a historiam and her novels are very well-researched. Even though you know the story and how it will end, you can't help identifying with the characters and hoping for a different outcome. If you never enjoyed history in high school, but want to learn more about the royalty of England, Penman is the author to read. Book 2 of the Eleanor of Aquitane series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She makes history come alive
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