Based on fact, this is the story of William Marshal, the greatest knight of the Middle Ages, unsurpassed in the tourneys, adeptly manoeuvring through the colourful, dangerous world of power and politics to become one of the most powerful magnates of the realm and eventually Regent of England.
©2006 Elizabeth Chadwick; (P)2006 Soundings
"Elizabeth Chadwock knows exactly how to write convincing compelling history." (Marina Oliver)
Elizabeth Chadwick's Greatest knight is very good I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction. I have listened to all her books and the narrators really bring the stories to life.
I have nothing to offer anyone except my own confusion.
Among historical fiction it's top 20%. I would have enjoyed a little more focus on some of the great battles The Marshall was involved in and less on his love life, but I was aware that the author would shy away from battles in lieu of the love story wherever possible. Ms. Chadwick spins a heroic real life figure into the limelight he deserves (with or without the battle scenes) and she is due immense credit for a great story.
It really has to be William Marshall doesn't it?
No. It did have a couple of dry spots. But not so much as to take away from the overall quality of the novel.
If you are a fan of English historical fiction, read it. Even if you're like me and the other reviews scare you off due to the focus on personal relationships as opposed to military history, read it. It's worth it.
Only if this were the only book on the subject. The book had interesting and specific information that I hadn't come across before but the story as a whole seemed bogged down. But I did finish, so it's worth 3 stars. With all the battles and difficulty William Marshall faced in his life I thought the book would read a little more dynamic.
no, I enjoy this genre. I think it's the verbiage and tone of the narrator that made it easy to tune out.
He made it worth the listen.
Just a simple girl living the simple life. Nothing is complicated when the power of imagination leads the way. Close your eyes & just listen
Yes! A truly mesmerizing story with same in narration! Historical 'fiction' at its best. The characters are so well-developed and believable as well as despicable, lovable, deceitful, and any other .... 'ful's' or 'able's' you can imagine.
When William Marshall was cast out of the king's realm for falsely being accused of treason.
His ability to portray each character was so fluid and distinct. A great listen!
Exactly what the title is! The Greatest Knight
You can't go wrong with Chadwick's ability to reel you into a part of the past that was so profound with treachery, deceit, power and turmoil. Fiction or not....it is as real as she makes you want to believe it is.
I expected something very different, but got a heavily romanticised tale of a perfect man, perfect lover, perfect Knight, which was too hard for me to believe in but if romance is your want, I can recommend it within that constraint.
and a penny for your thoughts
William Marshall, named by historians as perhaps the greatest knight and hero of English history. Intimately involved in the Magna Carta, some say a hero of worldwide democracy and ruling by the will of the people. It was only in fairly recent history that documents were found, making historians aware of Marshall's importance. This novel does a brilliant job of retelling his story. I also loved the sequel, "The Scarlett Lion"
Historical fiction is a category that must be navigated with care. It's a catch all for everything from silly romance novels to novels like this one that give more of an insight into history than simply dates and times. Elizabeth Chadwick and Phillipa Gregory are the best at this. Using their extensive research on HOW people lived, they are able to combine recorded dates and times with research into what and how the people of this time lived and loved to weave a riveting story. I don't care if they served pheasant or elk at the feast, as long as it is historically accurate to have served either. What is important is the understand what it must have been like to live during those times. That is the real purpose of studying history. To connect with the humanity and do better moving forward.
This book in particular is one of my favorites because of the subject matter. William Marshall and Richard I (Lionhearted) are (to me) two of the greatest heroes because unlike most of the rest, hungry for power, they believed in something and stood for what they believed, popular or not. My 2 cents :)
Yes I would recommend to friends with an interest in historical fiction because I thought the storyline was interesting and fairly historically accurate.
This was a good listen and I liked the narration.
My first Elizabeth Chadwick book, I generally enjoy historical fiction and this is a pleasing addition, to the point I have downloaded the 2nd book in the series (albeit both can be stand alone). I enjoyed the narration, the speed and the intonations. The story ebbed and flowed quite naturally and so was easy to listen to. If I had one criticism and it is very minor is that our hero to get to where he was must have been rather ruthless, and this didn't come across...a minor point.
"A good listen"
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were interesting and well thought out. A sign of a good read to me is when I find myself going the long way round on journeys in the car to allow me to listen to a bigger chunk of the story. I was fascinated at the end to find out the story was based on a little known real character from the times. If I had any complaints it was that the main character was almost too good, with few flaws, although he didn't seem unbelievable despite this. You did find yourself rooting for him and his cause.
"OK, but didn't excite me"
Have tripped over William Marshall in many books, and was very interested in learning about his story. I learnt but the book didn't grab me. That said I will probably get the 2nd book, so I can learn about the rest of his life. But I'm in no rush - more an intellectual exercise than "wow I have to find out what happens next"
"Probs not my kind of listen"
It felt as though it was aimed at a younger market, a bit of an immature approach if you know what I mean. The characters felt incomplete and shallow.
Maybe less characters and better developed central ones. There was a lot of material in the part lifetime.
there were mistakes; such as 'he said' when it was clearly a female who'd spoken so I'm not sure how focused he was. Overall his voice was pleasant and he did all the characters well
Probably the periferal Royals
"No depth, no real conflict, no passion"
This could have been an exciting book with heart-wrenching and exciting scenes, if the author had managed to inject any real emotion whatsoever. As it is, it's monotonous on the level both of the overarching plot, and each scene. Even if you don't know anything about William the Marshal, every time he's facing some new hardship you know that he's going to come out of it on his feet with his halo intact and very little real challenge. If the narrator switches to a character other than William Marshal for a moment, you know they'll be important, and within a sentence you can probably guess why. The characters have very little depth and it's just hard to care about them. The chapters felt about as emotional as if I had just read "William's liege was sinful and died, so William was sad and went to Jerusalem to save his soul and ponder death. Then he came back, won another tournament, and the queen told him how honorable he was."It was okay listening (on x1.25 speed) while I was doing data entry at work, but I won't be getting the sequel. I guess a positive point is that I now know how to pronounce "deshabille", as the author seems a bit addicted to that word.
The narration was fine, although there's a piece of weird new-age-jazz-celtic music they've composed to put in chapter breaks and things, and it seemed to be just randomly put into places where it's not needed and left out of places it should be in. Sometimes it's like this:"William came in from his latest journey looking tired and full of honor. **MEDIEVAL ELEVATOR MUSIC** His wife thought about their babies, ran him a bath, asked him what was going on and gave him sage advice."but then sometimes it's like this:"William was no longer surprised that his 23 year old former captive medieval lady wife was a budding diplomat and took her advice to heart. John watched as knights rode up to his castle, fuming about how hard his life was and how he wasn't as good as his little brother."
They're all as cardboard and shallow as each other.
It WAS interesting from a historical point of view, given that it's essentially a badly-dramatized biography, and did prompt me to spend some time on Wikipedia learning more about who the characters were in real life and how they fit into the rest of that period in England's history. I'm going to have to look up more historical fiction about this period and these people, just not by this author.
"You feel you're there. Part of the tale unfolding"
How William was able to get through what seems to be unsurmountable problems in his life and just battles on.It made it all the better because William Marshal was the greatest knight and much is known about him. The story has been weaved cleverly through the history that is known to make the reader feel they are part of some of the most turbulent times in our history.
How the Greatest Knight develops as a person and how he balances work and personal life.
The length of pauses in the right places. It gives the characters more depth. Helps the listener wait anxiously for more. Yet he paces the book so well.
To give you some idea of my feelings for this first of the William Marshal books. I've downloaded the next one and the others are in my wish list.Elizabeth Chadwick is a great novelist who couldn't have done better than choose Christopher Scott to narrate them.Thank you all.
"Deffinately the greatest"
I havent read the print version. But I shared listening to this with my husband who has read the book, he really enjoyed hearing the story this time.
Its hard to pick out 1 character as she gives them all substance.
"Long but well worth listening"
Very interestingly written, bringing the characters to life. Relationships between William Marshall and his Lords are well-drawn, as are his family relationships
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