The Lioness Wakes - The birth of the Plantagenets. The fourth in the series by Blanche d'Alpuget

The fourth book in the compelling Birth of the Plantagenets series follows the battle for dominance between Church and Crown.

England, 1171. Thomas Becket is dead, beheaded at the altar of Canterbury Cathedral. As news of his assassination spreads across the country and into Europe, Henry’s reputation as a just and mighty king begins to disintegrate.

Eleanor, no longer loyal, nor in awe of her husband, instigates the revolt she has craved for years—with Henry’s three eldest sons as her allies against their father. Yearning to dethrone him and to gain power and liberty for herself, she beings to stir trouble at court.

But when Henry discovers the plot, will Eleanor be strong enough to withstand his outrage? The punishment for treason is death. And what of the empire they have built together—can it survive when the royal family are at each other’s throats?

The fourth book in the illustrious Birth of the Plantagenets series delves into the feud between the spouses Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, painting the portrait of an empire steeped in conflict, treachery, and wild gambling for power.

Duffy’s Thoughts on The Lioness Wakes

I was apprehensive about two things on picking up this book. One, it’s the fourth in the series, is this a grave mistake? Will I be able to pick up the thread? Two, Blanche d’Alpuget as an author, will she be able to deliver the goods? All I have ever known about her, as an ex-pat of over a decade, is what has been shared in the headlines or the odd 60 Minutes or 7.30 Report interview as the true love of ex-Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

The Lioness Wakes published by Ventura Press available from Booktopia and all good book retailers

What overrode both those worries was the yearning to delve into the history of the Plantagenets. My gamble paid off two-fold!

d’Alpuget writes as if this was the first time any of these historical figures have been mentioned. I’ve read historical fiction that concentrates too much on the dry facts, losing character and colour, I’ve also read historical fiction that steps far outside the realms of the truth and far into fantasy. I’ve also read smart, intricate historical fiction which fills in the gaps with the imagined, one book that stands out in this category is See What I Have Done.

How does d’Alpuget stack up as a historical fiction writer?

The Lioness Wakes delves into the lives of Henry the II and his ambitious wife, Queen and enemy Eleanor and her sons which seem to all have a varying degree of Joffrey Baratheon in them. I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this dysfunctional early royal household; eavesdropping on conversations and analysing who is friend or a double-crossing foe.

d’Apulget sits up there with favourites of mine such as Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir and I can’t wait to read more of the Birth of the Plantagenets series. The perfect book to read in these crazy modern times. Time travel to a simpler time, but one where the threat of falling from grace and losing your head is never far away.

The Lioness Wakes by Blanche d'Alpuget book review
Published by Ventura Press and available from Booktopia and all good book shops