Here be Dragons, Paperback
5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


This is an absorbing historical novel of power and betrayal, loyalty and political intrigue in thirteenth-century England, Wales and France, centring on King John of England, younger brother to the brilliant Richard Lionheart, Joanna, his illegitimate but recognised daughter and Llewellyn Ab Iowerth, Prince of Gwynedd, a bitter opponent of English ways, laws and encroachment into Wales who becomes Joanna's husband.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Historical romance
  • ISBN: 9780140133400



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Beautifully written and researched novel concentrating on the last of the Welsh Princes. Here Be Dragons is the first in the trilogy and the story centres around Joanna, bastard daughter of King John, and Llewellyn Fawr. It portrays John in a much more sympathetic light than many other books, and yet he still is ruthless.I have read this book several times and I never get tired of it. Highly recommended.

Review by

This work is a sweeping historical epic concerning Llewelyn Fawr - the first self-proclaimed Prince of Wales - and his enduring love affair with Joanna, the illegitimate daughter of John, King of England. The book covers the period between 1183 and 1234, and deals in both micro and macro events. We see the world not only in terms of the major historical events that shaped that period of time but also from the point of view of characters in terms of their own relationships.The characters are memorable and aid the reader in becoming invested in this very early period of English history. One criticism that can be levelled, however, is that the cast of characters seems to be in the hundreds and sometimes it can be difficult to tell your Wills from your Richards from your Ranulfs. I also found it difficult at times dealing with the idea of child brides - the fact that King John perhaps took a twelve year old bride to bed is anathema to those of us in modern times, and can make for uncomfortable reading. Penman writes readily about the role of women in those days, which can also create a sense of outrage - when daughters are married away to foreign countries for political expediency, it is hard to realise that this was a common occurrence and certainly one that women prepared themselves for.Mostly, though, this book is a joy to read and I found that the 800+ pages passed in a flash. I was eager to find out what happened to Llewelyn and Joanna. The fact that their love was served up against an historical backdrop which had been lavishly researched only added to the pleasure of reading the events.I would recommend this wholeheartedly.

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