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Publisher's Summary

From the critically acclaimed New York Times best-selling author Sharon Kay Penman comes the story of the reign of King Baldwin IV and the Kingdom of Jerusalem's defense against Saladin's famous army.

The Kingdom of Jerusalem, also known as Outremer, is the land far beyond the sea. Baptized in blood when the men of the First Crusade captured Jerusalem from the Saracens in the early 12th century, the kingdom defined an utterly new world, a land of blazing heat and a medley of cultures, a place where enemies were neighbors and neighbors became enemies.

At the helm of this growing kingdom sits young Baldwin IV, an intelligent and courageous boy committed to the welfare and protection of his people. But despite Baldwin's dedication to his land, he is afflicted with leprosy at an early age and the threats against his power and his health nearly outweigh the risk of battle. As political deception scours the halls of the royal court, the Muslim army - led by the first sultan of Egypt and Syria, Saladin - is never far from the kingdom's doorstep, and there are only a handful Baldwin can trust, including the archbishop William of Tyre and Lord Balian d'Ibelin, a charismatic leader who has been one of the few able to maintain the peace.

Filled with drama and battle, tragedy and romance, Sharon Kay Penman's latest novel brings a definitive period of history vividly alive with a tale of power and glory that will resonate with listeners today.

©2020 Sharon Kay Penman (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"[A] riveting page-turner, and Penman's well-honed skill for weaving deeply researched details into epic tales is on full display. Fans of medieval historical fiction won't want to miss this." (Publishers Weekly)

“Penman is justifiably renowned for her medieval epics….Working on a large canvas, she illustrates the era’s political movements and the personalities of its movers and shakers with equal dexterity….From fierce battle maneuvers to the emotional corridors of an unexpected love story, readers will feel intimately drawn into the characters’ dramatic lives in Penman’s splendid historical novel. Historical saga fans will pounce on best-selling and always thrilling Penman’s latest, which offers a particularly alluring setting.” (Booklist

“Penman excels at depicting medieval warfare and the unintended, often disastrous consequences of the best-laid strategies. She is equally adept at depicting the rivalries and internecine strife that roil Baldwin’s court….This book amply illustrates the extent to which fortune and personality dictated victory, détente, and defeat on both sides. A teeming 12th-century tapestry which Penman renders coherent, even eloquent.” (Kirkus Reviews

What listeners say about The Land Beyond the Sea

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  • Overall
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not Penman's best.

I love historical fictions, and consider myself to be a fan of Sharon Kay Penman's work. When I saw that The Land Beyond the Sea was finally on audible, I dove in head first. The first hour or so, all I could think about was how Anne Flosnik (narrator) sounds- to me, her voice is extremely flat and nasal sounding. It's just one of those voices that's not easy to listen to. After the first few hours, you get used to it, but I'm still not sure why they didn't choose a better narrator; especially for such a vast novel. A good narrator is often the listeners greatest champion when it comes to audiobooks with so many characters. Not to mention one with so many foreign names that don't stick easily in the mind. Generally, the authors characters come to life by the narrator's designed tone and inflections. Unfortunately, not here. Flosnik seems to have only two character vocals- male and female. This made it much more difficult to follow. As for the book itself, I was dissapointed. Very rarely do I find myself wishing for a historical novel to just be over, but I found Penman straying from the heart of the novel often. One of the things I love about her writing is her dedication to historical accuracy. However, in TLBTS it felt like she was trying to cover too many historical events, characters, and backgrounds that deviated from the heart of the story. The last quarter of the book was a struggle to get through. Even a historically accurate novelist needs to focus on the development of the story they're trying to tell, making sure all the excess information they're providing is being told to carry the story through to its ultimate purpose. Penman, for the first time to me, just sounded windy. I definitely won't be purchasing a hard copy of TLBTS to add to my collection.

20 people found this helpful

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hard start but very good

a little difficult to Get into but once you push past the introduction and get started a very worthwhile read

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Magnificent

I loved Penman's novel, "Lionheart", but I was not sure I would enjoy this book because I am unfortunately quite ignorant to the history of that part of the world in the middle ages. I am so glad that I broadened my horizons by moving away from my comfort zone and taking a chance on the book. I will be on a quest to search out and read more books about these spectacular historical characters. As usual SKP delivers a meticulously researched account of historical events while giving her readers an unbiased history lesson full of drama and intrigue.

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Masterful storytelling; irritating narration

SKP is one of my favorite authors; it pains me to know there will be no more stories from her. She always did an incredible amount of research, and her authors notes are just as entertaining as the books themselves. At first, I felt the narrator was mightily irritating, and seemed to have a lisp of some sort, which grated on me. I soon got acclimated to it, and was able to enjoy the story. The book is long, however; be prepared for an epic adventure.

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Amazing

Well narrated and amazing story, definitely one of my favorite historical novels. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in the lives and stories of Baldwin IV, Balian De Ibelin, and the other men and women who called Outremer home.

2 people found this helpful

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History brought alive

I found this one of her better efforts. she does justice to many complicated and imperfect characters during a time of great upheaval. well worth the credit.

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Too bad

Please get someone else to read your books and. Penman. I’ve read so many and this woman is killing me

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Must Listen!

If you love historical docu-dramas, this is one you cannot miss! Superbly written and performed!

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Exceptional!

I enjoyed this book so much I never wanted it to end. Narration was wonderful. Truly mesmerizing.

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Really long and really good!

I chose it because of its length - I like to get a log of value for my money - and also because of something I read in the New York times. If's fictionalized history based on the author's research, and I learned a lot about the history in the Levant after the first Crusade. I mean to go through it again sometime this winter but want to move on to other books first.