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Written by Nikki N
(9/19/2013 11:58 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Penman's Plantagenet books., penned by Helen Kaye
I've read her "When Christ and His Saints Slept" about the Empress Matilda and the civil war with Stephen when he took the throne. I think she tried to present an objective view of both sides of the conflict and the main characters -- the Empress was not simply the termagant portrayed by her enemies, but a courageous woman who was unjustly deprived of her throne because she was a woman, and Stephen should not have taken the throne, he was unreliable and weak, but also generous and forgiving. She did away with the fanciful legend that the two enemies were also one-time lovers and that Henry was their son -- a legend that rose a hundred years later due to confusion over Stephen's adoption of Henry as "son" and heir when peace was finally made between them! I've heard of its sequels and understand that she also disbelieved that Henry had a love affair with Alys Capet, the fiancée of his son Richard. But I rather wonder how the rumours about henry and Alys could have been so widely believed in their lifetimes if there was nothing at in it (unlike the ridiculous story about Stephen and Matilda which only stared a hundred years later).
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