Review for The Heart of the Lion by J M Barlog

the heart of the lion

My Rating: 4/5

Author:  J M Barlog
Title: The Heart of the Lion

Genre:  Medieval Historical Fiction


Amazon Description:
One woman’s courage will decide the fate of the English crown.

The Heart of the Lion is King Richard the Lionheart’s England at its most tumultuous. His kingdom teeters on the verge of a bloody war, with the victor taking the crown and death the punishment to the vanquished.

The English countryside roils in the throes of political upheaval as King Richard sails from defeat in the Holy Lands to fight another war at home. A war against his own blood. The irascible and treacherous Prince John seeks to usurp the throne behind his brother’s back.

But waylaid on his return voyage, Richard must fight to remain alive and free deep within his enemies’ lands, while Princess Joanna and Queen Eleanor struggle to uncover John’s growing cabal.

Now only Joanna stands brave enough between her brothers. She must risk her life to save her mother and her king. For the prince vows to destroy any who dare step between him and the crown.

The Heart of the Lion vividly portrays a woman whose courage is paramount to saving an entire kingdom. Non-stop action and intrigue unfold on both English soil and on the continent as a brother and sister fight to remain free and alive against their enemies.

This engrossing story is a must read for all medieval enthusiasts.


The Heart of the Lion is the story about King Richard’s trip back from the crusades, where he was captured and held for ransom. Back in England, Prince John tries to gain power of the throne by gaining supporters. Queen Eleanor and her daughter, Princess Joanna, both must try to help Richard without being caught by Prince John.

The story is written in third person following the main characters. Richard is the strong king that history sets out. Coming back from the Holy Land, his ship crashes ashore from a storm. With only a few survivors, he must find a safe passage home to England. This doesn’t go as planned and that means trouble for the King. Prince John is very evil in this book. He uses whoever and whatever to gain a better grip on the crown. He keeps secrets and spies on his mother who is known to support his brother, Richard. Princess Joanna is a spunky girl for the time, who will do anything to help her brother back from the crusades. She does spying herself to see what forces Prince John has managed to acquire. Rynhawker is a knight that fought with Richard in the Holy Lands. He has come back home to his wife and young daughter, while also teaching young Thomas the arts and skills of knighthood. He is very loyal to King Richard and knows that one day he will have to stand by his King again to secure his crown.

The story moves along well. There are some twists and turns in the story – nothing I was too surprised by. If you know the story about King Richard and Prince John (although I’m not a historian), the main events won’t be a big surprise. The story leaves off for the next book, which I will review shortly. One thing that bothered me while reading the book was the sudden jump in character perspectives. It wasn’t always separated/denoted with chapters or chapter breaks.

Overall I enjoyed this book. If you like medieval history – especially with King Richard/Prince John/Queen Eleanor, you might want to take a look at this book.

You may also like:

 ghosts of sherwood  the never king  the boleyn king