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Monday, August 24, 2009

The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick

The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full (560 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Cholla

Royal protector. Loyal servant. Forgotten hero.

A penniless young knight with few prospects, William Marshal is plucked from obscurity when he saves the life of Henry II's formidable queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. In gratitude, she appoints him tutor to the heir to the throne, the volatile and fickle Prince Henry. But being a royal favorite brings its share of danger and jealousy as well as fame and reward.
“Loyalty, integrity, necessity. All were valid; all had shaped his life, and in different concentrations would continue to do so.” So says Elizabeth Chadwick of William Marshall, courtier and knight to King John, Eleanor of Aquitaine and their family. Again and again throughout this engrossing novel, she proves to you how, no matter the odds, how determined William is to apply those three words to his life.

Virtually unknown outside academic circles, the life and times of William Marshall are brought to life for us in vivid detail. Ms. Chadwick’s account of William’s life is very well researched and brings a great respect for the times that he lived in. She breathes life and personality into the kings and queens of history like no one I’ve read before. If our history books in school could have been written with such detail and passion I truly believe that it would have been everyone’s favorite subject.

William Marshall is an amazing man for his times. He is kind, compassionate, honorable and loyal – even to those who don’t deserve it. However, he’s hard as steel and a valiant warrior when need be. A multi-faceted character of the ages, this first half of his life story is fascinating and engaging, rich in the history of England and its royalty. He is a man I would love to have as my champion, or even as my friend.

The Greatest Knight is a must-read for any lover of history and/or the medieval period. Ms. Chadwick’s account drags you right in and sets you down on the dusty, dirt roads alongside her hero and his entourage.