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The Time Of Singing (William Marshal) Hardcover – 2 Oct 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; First Edition edition (2 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847440975
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847440976
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 4.2 x 22.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


A story of stirring emotions in a volatile world of politics (Now)

An enjoyable and sensuous romance (Daily Mail)

As always, readers will benefit from Elizabeth Chadwick's well-known "hands-on" approach to research and elegant prose . . . The politics are even more fascinating than the romance (Historical Novels Review)

Chadwick's grasp of historical detail is matched by her ability to weave a beguiling narrative (Choice)

Book Description

* A spell-binding historical novel set in the 12th century

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Elizabeth Chadwick's superb new novel, The Time of Singing, details the life of Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk during the time of Henry II and his sons. Chadwick's ability to bring history to life is never more apparent than it is in this illustrious depiction of the political and human world of medieval England.

Bigod, who was a companion of William Marshal, the subject of two of Chadwick's earlier novels, is first found as a young man who defies his father's rebellion and must come to terms with the type of man he will be. Bigod must constantly walk a narrow path in order to receive what is rightfully his, and the family drama of fighting for the inheritance follows him throughout his life. Interwoven in Roger's story is that of his wife, Ida, who was once the reluctant mistress of Henry II, and whose love and support provide Bigod with the stability he didn't experience early on in life. Chadwick expertly weaves fact into fiction as we see how Roger and Ida overcome the obstacles of the turbulent times in which they lived.

Once again, Elizabeth Chadwick has given us an outstanding glimpse into the lives of actual people who lived so long ago. The writing is engrossing and the plot is well paced. I could easily envision all the characters and events, and as usual, I was sad to let go of my medieval friends when I closed the last page. Storytelling at its finest! Highly, highly recommended.
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By Misfit TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 5 Oct. 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Time of Singing retells the story of Roger Bigod, son of Hugh Bigod Earl of Norfolk, who joined the younger Henry in his revolt against his father Henry II. When the revolt fails Hugh loses the Earldom and lands and when he dies there is a bitter dispute over the right to inherit the Earldom between Roger and his step-mother and her two sons. While Roger serves Henry and bides his time to claim his Earldom young Ida de Tosney arrives in court as the King's ward. Henry is smitten and has other plans for Ida and he makes her his mistress and she eventually bears him a son, William. Unhappy with her position as mistress to the king, Ida casts her hopes on Roger and Henry allows them to marry -- although she must leave her son behind.

Henry still withholds the Earldom, but he does restore some of their lands and Ida and Roger build a life and family together and begin rebuild Framlingham Castle to greater heights than it was before. Once Richard I takes the crown at the death of Henry the Earldom is restored to Roger, and the rest of the book recounts their lives as they struggle to keep everything they hold dear as the battle lines are drawn during Richard's absence on crusade and subsequent kidnapping threatens to bankrupt England.

A very enjoyable surprise for me was the appearance of my personal favorite hero, William Marshal - I did not expect him at all, or to feature so prominently - but it appears Bigod and Marshal were contemporaries and friends. Another big surprise was Ida's son William - who readers of fiction set during the reigns of John and Henry III will recognize as William Longespée, and I have to admit many of my favorite moments in the book were of William and his attempts at a relationship with his mother, Roger and their children.
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Format: Hardcover
Ms Chadwick's latest novel draws additional historical figures from the shadows of the 12th century and imbues them with vibrant life. Roger Bigod, is the disputed heir to the earldom of Norfolk from approximately 1177. This dispute, which involved Roger's stepmother and stepbrothers, commenced during the reign of Henry II and extended for over a decade before being resolved by Richard I. The dispute brings Roger to court, where he meets Ida de Tosney who is Henry II's young mistress and the mother of his son. Eventually, Ida and Roger marry and while the marriage is a consequence of mutual attraction, it has its costs and burdens.

Ms Chadwick's greatest strength is her ability to combine historical accuracy and characters whose actions can be viewed from a contemporary perspective without any loss of authenticity. This accuracy is important to Ms Chadwick, and it is conveyed to the reader in a way which, while it seems effortless, is a tribute to detailed research. We may not know, with great certainty and at this distance, exactly how Roger and Ida interacted with each other on a personal basis but the novel largely accords with the known facts and provides a fascinating insight into a particularly turbulent time in English history. The medieval code of chivalry carried with it both burdens and costs as well as benefits and privileges.

For me, an added attraction is the links between the Bigods and another of my personal heroes: William Marshal. I was aware of Roger Bigod before reading this novel but not especially interested in him. Now I find that Ms Chadwick has - yet again - introduced me to an historical character about whom I need to know more. Fortunately, I am provided with a select bibliography which gives me a great starting point.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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Format: Hardcover
There are few certainties in life: you will get gray hair, you will eventually turn into your mother and you can't go wrong with an Elizabeth Chadwick book!! I mean this woman is GENIUS at writing medieval novels! You can always expect (and get) brilliance at dialogue, character development and interactions, description of medieval life - the scenes are so beautifully written, just close your eyes and you're there.

There are many literary couples that stay in your mind long after closing the book on their story; Jamie and Claire, Llewelyn and Joanna, and now we can add Roger and Ida. A true love match. Chadwick brings to life one of the most charming love stories from the medieval era as only she can. The best parts of the novel for me were the scenes with Roger, Ida and their family - I don't think I've ever felt so much like a fly on the wall as I did in this novel. The mention of Roger's hats (which EC recently posted about) and Ida's sewing abilities were an extra glimpse into their lives that we as mere readers aren't usually admitted into. I loved that Chadwick included bits about Ida's son, William, growing up at court and the insights into what type of a boy he turned into and then watching William getting acquainted with his mother again was interesting.

There is an added bonus of meeting the studly William Marshall in this novel as well. Eat up ladies!

I highly recommend this novel to um, well, everyone.
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