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The Greatest Knight: The Story of William Marshal Hardcover – 3 Nov 2005

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (3 Nov. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316728322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316728324
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 4.4 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 655,446 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

Review

Chadwick's novel immerses readers in Marshal's life and times, which should prove intriguing to any fan of historical fiction. The royals, and especially Eleanor, are particularly fascinating characters whom Chadwick employs to great effect (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY)

Book Description

* An exciting mediaeval historical about William Marshal, probably the greatest knight of the Middle Ages

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Misfit TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Jan. 2007
Format: Paperback
This was a wonderful story and much different from Chadwick's previous books, but as to be somewhat expected as Marshal's early life was one of duty to his lord(s) and not leaving much room for romance.

A fascinating look at a true, honorable and loyal man, who in the end was well rewarded for his loyalty by marriage a wealthy heiress who became his life's soul mate. Much of the book is involved with the treachery and intrigue of the Plantagenet court and their lives -- you won't see as much heart stopping page turning excitement as you might have found some of the author's previous works, but still excellent reading just the same. It was also wonderful getting a closer look at those Plantagenets, Henry II, young Henry, Eleanor, Richard I and the always evil Prince John. It's going to be even harder now to wait for Sharon Kay Penman's third novel in her own trilogy of this family, The Devil's Brood.

This book is not yet available in the US -- I got sick of waiting and splurged on it from the UK, along with the sequel the Scarlet Lion, which I am eagerly anticipating in the mail any day now. However, I am very glad I did so, as this author always transports me to another time and place. Highly recommeded.
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102 of 105 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Dec. 2005
Format: Hardcover
A writer who only gets better with each book has now written a compelling novel about a charismatic and complex medieval knight whose life sheds light on a fascinating period in English history.
Chadwick writes novels that are steeped in accurate history but she never lectures the reader; never gives you facts just because she knows them. What she does is to illustrate through action and dialogue the truth of medieval life. Readers absorb historical fact by enjoying her storytelling and her characters, and finish her books with a greater understanding of the medieval world and mindset. Marshal was clearly a tough soldier and an astute politician. This novel also shows him to be honourable and caring: a man appreciative of the joys a loving wife and children can bring: a complicated and attractive mix of tough and tender. He is a man it's easy to fall for: I ached to know him.
William Marshal lived through tumultuous times, and this novel successfully weaves fiction with fact to bring to vivid life the precarious lifestyle and character of a man born with no advantages who used his physical and mental skills to live a rollercoaster of a life. His story would fill a thousand pages, and Chadwick has wisely chosen to tell just part of it in this novel. We leave him when he thinks his life in the public arena is coming to a close ... but there is promise that Chadwick might tell the 2nd part of his life in another novel, from the point of view of his intelligent wife, Isabelle. I can't wait.
THE GREATEST KNIGHT is an apt title: William Marshal led one of the most event-filled lives of all our medieval knights, yet is little known now. This book should change that.
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101 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Cannon Hess on 9 Feb. 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you're a medieval buff - and especially if you've read up on early Plantagenet history - you know William Marshal. But if you haven't, you should know what you've missed. And there's no better way to start learning than with this book.
I'm an American, a Plantagenet enthusiast, and a tremendous Marshal fan. Since THE GREATEST KNIGHT has yet to be released here, I splurged on transatlantic shipping and bought it from the UK. I'm so very, very glad I did. Elizabeth Chadwick, an author I've long admired for her way with a medieval tale, has gone herself one better. She has taken the known facts of Marshal's life, done a little reading between the lines of recorded history, and rendered a portrait of the man that shimmers with life.
William Marshal led a charmed life to some extent. His first appearance in the historical record is when he is about 5 years old. His father has given him as a hostage to King Stephen, as a sort of human insurance policy against the elder Marshal's disobeying the king. But when William's father defies the king anyway, Stephen hasn't the heart to hang the boy. A few years later, William finds himself in the right place at the right time to save the queen of England from being taken prisoner by enemies. He's injured and taken prisoner himself in the process, however, and when Queen Eleanor ransoms him, it's not without expectations of repayment: She wants the gallant young knight to enter service with her family - arguably the most powerful people in western Europe.
Thus begins a long and profitable - but also perilous - association. The Queen, her sons, and even her estranged husband, King Henry, value William highly as a fighter, an adviser, and an instructor in the chivalrous arts.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Tamela Mccann on 25 Dec. 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Elizabeth Chadwick has done it again! With The Greatest Knight, she has solidified her position as one of the best historical fiction authors writing today. I was eagerly awaiting this novel, and I'm delighted to say I was not disappointed in any way.
This is the story of William Marshal, an humble knight in the 12th century, who through his integrity and loyalty, rose to become one of the most trusted men of his time. Set against the backdrop of the turbulent relationships between Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry II, and their sons, Marshal's story takes us on a brilliant ride of jousting tourneys, court intrigue, and yes, even romance. The fact that this novel is based on Chadwick's impeccable research makes it all the more stunning and entirely believable. The motivations for the characters are real and unembellished; Marshal is seen as a flesh-and-blood man who must make difficult choices in trying to follow his conscience. Chadwick fills in the blanks of his life with details that make his story come alive. His romance with Isabelle, an heiress twenty years his junior, is sweet and compelling; it's a match with many contemporary overtones even though it's completely true. Chadwick makes us understand William's conflicts and his triumphs. While there is a romance, this is truly historical fiction and it is absolutely wonderful---a story you can lose yourself in and emerge from with a sigh of regret at leaving this world behind. Part two is highly anticipated!
Highly, highly recommended!
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