7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Great wel documented history, not all well known. Not a work of historical fiction.,
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This review is from: The Knight Who Saved England: William Marshal and the French Invasion, 1217 (General Military) (Kindle Edition)
Sir William the Marshal had 5 sons (2nd to 6th Earls of Pembroke in succession) but they all died without heirs, in fulfilment of an Irish curse upon the Marshal. Fortunately he had 5 daughters and I am descended from Isobel who married Gilbert de Clare, and Eva who married William de Braose. The male lines of these 2 other Marcher Lords are also extinct, like those of many of the other Anglo Norman Barons, but the female line persisted. Furthermore I live only 30 miles (46 Km) from Lincoln Castle where the crucial events of this book, and the salvation of England from the last almost successful foreign invasion and occupation (by the Dauphin) occurred. In consequence I may have a predjudice, in favour of books about the Sir William, who also featured in Shakespeare's "King John" as Pembroke.
I prefer history to historical fiction, and this book makes no attempt to be fiction. It certainly does cover many other contemporary persons and events, but in a relevant and historical way. I probably learned nothing really new to me about his life, that I had not discoverd from previous reading. However the relief of Lincoln Castle in the 2nd Battle of Lincoln was covered in far more detail than I was aware of. Sir William was 70 when he led the final charge on horseback.
His career as a jouster, soldier, Crusader, politician and loyal supporter of 5 consecutive kings of England, including being Protector of the young Henry III, and closely involved in the development of Magna Carta, made him one of the greatest Englishmen of the Middle Ages.
He was the only man who unseated Richard Coeur de Lion, in defense of the Old King (Henry II). On the Lion Heart's Accession to the throne he was accused of trying to kill Prince Richard previously. Sir William replied that was impossible as Richard was still alive, though his horse was not. Richard rewarded him for William's loyalty to the old King by creating the Marshal Earl of Pembroke, and giving him Isabel de Clare, daughter of Strongbow, and the richest heiress in the country, as a wife.
This well researched and documented book does justice to this unusual man, and the threat to England that he helped overcome.