Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman is certainly one of the best books that I have ever read. And it is historically accurate (save only for one minor discrepancy).
From the moment I opened it, I was captured. It kidnapped me and took me so far away. It took me up rivers, down mountains.
It took me deep into the heart of Wales in the thirteenth century. It showed me great wonders, beautiful lands, a country full of strong-willed and beguiling people. A country I now yearn to visit.
I cared deeply for the characters, loved the writing. And was truly surprised by the events of the book.
Most books do not come as a surprise. What is supposed to happen, happens. What is not supposed to, does not. That was not the case. This book caught me off guard and tore at my heart. I felt the pain of the characters. And the bad guys were not bad at all, were merely doing what was right for them. They were completely understandable, not in the least beyond reason. But that fact did not take away from the pain that they caused and the hurt that I felt because of it.
And offtimes, the outcome of the book is inevitable. That was not so. When trouble appeared, I was not completely certain of the outcome. There are times, whether it appears in a book, a movie, or any other medium, that the end result is determined, and obvious. No matter what the text tries to convince you, the outcome is apparent. Here Be Dragons had me gripped in fear, and surprised when the outcome was one of happiness, rather than grief.
I recomend it to all, whether you like a good historical fiction, or not.