Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Welsh Trilogy (Tragedy)

Sharon Kay Penman has written an inspiring trilogy dealing with the last years of a free Wales. Today it is common acceptance that the United Kingdom rules the whole of the British Isle. But it was not that way for most of history. Think William Wallace, Scotland and Edward I.

In these three novels, Here Be Dragons, Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning, the author conveys pride and love for the heritage of the Welsh people and their lost independence. As usual Penman transports you to an era long gone and in this case one long forgotten in the annals of history, except of course by the people of Wales themselves. She conveys the full range of human emotions: hope, belief, chivalry and above all the desire for a people to be free of foreign domination coupled with the devastating reality that those charged with the care and love of their country made terrible, impolitic decisions which led to war, destruction, death and the usurpation of a culture.

From her website:

For anyone wanting to confirm my oft-repeated claim that Wales is the most beautiful country this side of Eden, head right for the Castles of Wales site. I personally think the Castle of Wales website is the most spectacular website in all of cyberspace.

I am happy to report that there is a society dedicated to Gwenllian, the ill-fated daughter of Llewelyn ap Gruffydd and Ellen de Montfort; I am using the spelling of their names that are most familiar to readers of my novel, The Reckoning. I think it is wonderful that she is being recognized as a significant figure in the history of medieval Wales, for she was relegated to the shadows by Edward I. The site is, which is bilingual in English and Welsh, and it also has a useful list of links for those interested in the Age of the Welsh Princes.

There is now a Welsh website which features my Welsh trilogy, Here Be Dragons, Falls the Shadow, and The Reckoning, at It was put together by the Betws-y-Coed Tourist Association, which can be reached at It is a lovely little town in the heart of Snowdonia, only a few miles from Llewelyn Fawr’s castle at Dolwyddelan, the ideal starting place for anyone interested in following in the footsteps of the Welsh princes.

And since Simon de Montfort’s daughter Ellen wed the last Welsh prince, Llewelyn ap Gryffydd, and was the mother of Princess Gwenllian, this seems a good place to mention that Simon has his own society, too.

After reading these books you will understand the history behind the names in her author's note above and will identify without even looking at the websites with their story, their lost loves, and their lost lives. They deserve your reading. They deserve your remembrance.
Again three books, read so many years ago, that I can and will never part with. These people in history, so long dead, became a part of me.  I even dream sometimes of their story.
Of course that always leaves me wondering, if one day, so long in the future, anyone somewhere will ever dream of our story. Will our story be told with equal compassion? Will our story be told with equal love? Will our story be told with equal understanding? Hopefully....hopefully...

Cymru Am Byth (God speed).

Qi en Pace,



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