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A Place Beyond Courage (William Marshal) [Paperback]

Elizabeth Chadwick
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
Price: 8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

16 Oct 2008 William Marshal (Book 1)

The early twelfth century is a time for ambitious men to prosper - and royal servant John FitzGilbert is one of them. But when the old king dies and his successor is appointed, John's position at court is weakened and his wife, the pious, pliant Aline, is hopelessly unequipped to deal with a life lived on the edge.

John knows the only way to protect his lands and his children is to divorce Aline. He meets his match in new wife Sybilla, daughter of his enemy Patrick of Salisbury, as she possesses a strength and courage that equals his own. But when Sybilla's son, William, is seized by the king, John is forced to make a terrible sacrifice. Sometimes keeping your honour means breaking your word . . .

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Frequently Bought Together

A Place Beyond Courage (William Marshal) + The Scarlet Lion (William Marshal) + The Greatest Knight: The Story of William Marshal
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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; First Thus edition (16 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751539015
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751539011
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Chadwick has written over 20 historical novels sold in 18 languages worldwide. Her first novel, The Wild Hunt, won a Betty Trask Award, and The Scarlet Lion was nominated by Richard Lee, founder of the Historical Novel Society, as one of the top ten historical novels of the last decade. Elizabeth's nineteenth novel, To Defy a King, won the RNA Historical Novel Prize in 2011. THE SUMMER QUEEN, the first novel in her stunning Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy, will be followed by THE WINTER CROWN and THE AUTUMN THRONE.

Find out more at www.elizabethchadwick.com, Facebook/elizabeth.chadwick and on twitter: @Chadwickauthor

Product Description


Chadwick's historical grasp is secure and vivid in this punchy prequel to her last two FitzGilbert epics...an absorbing narrative that canters along (FINANCIAL TIMES)

Another wonderfully written, immensely moving and immaculately researched novel from an author who grows in stature with every book she writes (LANCASHIRE EVENING Post)

Spellbinding . . . Based on real characters and extensive research, Chadwick's imaginative tale will keep readers captive till the final page (Publishers Weekly)

Picking up an Elizabeth Chadwick novel you know you are in for a sumptuous ride. Beautifully strong characters and real feel for time and place (Daily Telegraph)

An extraordinary, wonderful, true story . . . I really felt that I had walked with William Marshal, and that my own life was enriched (Richard Lee, Founder and Publisher of The Historical Novel Society)

Book Description

The story of William Marshal's father is captured in this first novel in a spellbinding standalone trilogy, by award-winning novelist Elizabeth Chadwick.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chadwick never fails to deliver! 11 Oct 2007
By Misfit TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This is a prequel of sorts to The Greatest Knight, and is the story of John FitzGilbert, the father of William Marshal. The story takes place amidst the backdrop of England's civil war between Henry's daughter Matilda and her cousin Stephen who usurped her crown, as John tries to juggle his perilous position between the two rivals for the crown.

John's first marriage to Aline (the best he could make at the time in his position) does not fare well as she is weak of mind as well as spirit, and when he chooses to side with Matilda he makes a more advantageous marriage with Sybilla, who bears John several children including William. The characterization of John started from a cat that always lands on his feet to a loving husband and father, facing the most difficult decision of his life. The author did a marvelous job of bringing John, Aline and Sybilla to life, and most especially the young William. I was totally entranced at the way William was portrayed, from his exuberant first word to his innocent knowledge of the danger he was in whilst being held hostage by King Stephen.

While this is not a page turning, sit on the edge of your seat, action filled novel, I was thoroughly entertained throughout. As always with Chadwick's books, the way she brings the medieval period to life in such a graceful and effortless way, be it the sights, sounds, smells, food, clothes and battles is just awesome. As quoted on some of her book jackets, the next best thing to time travel. Five stars.
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Treat Yourself to this Superb Tale 23 Oct 2007
Elizabeth Chadwick's historical novels never fail to engage from the first word, and A Place Beyond Courage is yet another excellent example of first-rate history brought to life. The story of The Greatest Knight's father, John Marshal, A Place Beyond Courage treats us to the equally full and engaging life of a man who knew his own mind and lived his life with gusto and fortitude.

Ms. Chadwick begins her tale with John's early years as Marshal to Henry I, King of England, and follows him through the tumultuous period of warring factions for the crown after the king's death. John is shown to be very adept at achieving his goals and maintaining his own fortunes as he switches sides between Henry's daughter Matilda and Henry's nephew, Stephen; his personal life, however, leaves him feeling cold as his marriage to the mouse Aline dwindles into random meetings in the hall. Enter Sybilla, the sister of the Earl of Salisbury, and equal in fire and spirit to John; the hapless Aline is set aside as a love of deep understanding and desire develops between the two. Chadwick does an outstanding job of balancing the romantic aspect with the historical; never once does the novel steep into the vein of overblown romance as she shows the commitment between the two.

Following the steps of John Marshal through history is as well-told by Chadwick as it can possibly be. As I finished the predecessor to this novel, The Scarlet Lion, I'd thought I loved William Marshal. If that was the case, I'm now in love with John Marshal. Don't miss out on one of the best historical novels I've read in a very long time. It just doesn't get better than this.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Author Never Fails to Please 5 Nov 2007
By J. Chippindale TOP 500 REVIEWER
Much of Elizabeth Chadwick's research is carried out as a member of Regia Anglorum, this is an early medieval re-enactment society. Her writing in recent books has become much more accomplished. She now writes about the period with the convictions of her obvious knowledge of the subject and has also made a subtle change from writing what were in effect historical love stories (nothing wrong with that) to historical novels with a love interest. She has now quite a list of books to her name and as I said above personally I feel her writing has become a little more earthy and her books are all the better for it, appealing to both men and women.

This novel takes us to an earlier period of the twelfth century than some of the author's previous books. A time when ambitious men could rise high on the back of their might with a sword or their choice of Lord. One such man is John FitzGilbert Marshal, who at first profits immensely from the choices that he makes, at a time when the kin of the dead King Henry battle each other for England and his empty throne.

On the other side of the coin Marshall's family suffer deeply. As strong as John is, his wife Aline is frail and not equipped either physically or mentally for the strain that her husband's choices place on her and the family. When John is seriously wounded in battle, she is a broken woman, not knowing which way, or who to turn to . . .

The author captures the period so beautifully that the reader can almost feel that they are there among all the colorful pageantry and the cruelty of the period. A period in English history when the life of a man was as expendable as that of a sheep or a cow. Battles were fought at close quarters where you could see the whites of the eyes of your opponent.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the best! 3 Oct 2007
I've always loved Elizabeth Chadwick, but she has really outdone herself with A Place Beyond Courage. Her characters are so finely drawn, it's as if you're actually meeting them. When I was reading, I felt as if I were being given the opportunity to peek behind the scenes in the courts of King Stephen and the Empress. Chadwick did a marvelous job of depicting the relationship between John Marshal and Sybilla, his second wife -- particularly because it was set against the backdrop of the war between Stephen and Matilda (and later, Matilda's son Henry). This is truly an outstanding historical novel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
anther great book by auther
Published 7 days ago by JACK O'NEILL
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
The first of Elizabeth Chadwick's books that I read and although a prequel it was superb. Beautifully written and atmospheric, properly researched and a delight to read. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Pippa
5.0 out of 5 stars A place beyond courage
Well written, explains events easily, I learned so much more about William Marshal that I didnt know before. An interesting read
Published 2 months ago by Mrs J A Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars What is there to add about this author
Anything that Elizabeth Chadwick writes is well researched and the history and facts are moulded into a most enjoyable storey and all based around an actual historic character. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Michael Matthews
5.0 out of 5 stars A place beyond courage, Elizabeth Chadwick
The third of the trilogy, so I went seamlessly from book to book. I love a bargain which does not lose out on quality and "does what it says on the tin", all of which was... Read more
Published 4 months ago by m houghton
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a brilliant story.
Having read this one I was hooked and went on to read all the others. Now I am sharing them with my friends.
Published 5 months ago by Gillian Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars A Place Beyond Courage
As the characters are drawn from history, the wonder grows at their daring-do, sense of honour and clarity of thought and sense of destiny. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mrs. J. Ewins
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight into 12th century life
This period of history is a little known but dangerous and exciting time. William Marshall is one of those characters that gets mentioned in passing in books about Eleanor of... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lois Wilkes
4.0 out of 5 stars good
Bought the book as a gift and the person was really pleased with it. It took slightly longer to arrive than I had anticipated and I was a bit concerned that it was lost in the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Rita McLaughlan
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This was a new period of history for me and a great introduction. Readable. Exciting. I really enjoyed this and intend to read all of this author's books.
Published 7 months ago by S. Hugg
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