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)
After finnishing Pillars of the Earth and World With Out End (both excellent), I was calmouring for a new mideval book. Someone had told me this was a good book. I agree the story line is a good one, but it could have been better. When the story really gets going, it stops and bam you are 3 months to 3 years later and the charachters are passively takling about what had happend. I wish the author had actually writen those scenes, she could have been so much more discriptive. The book felt rushed and slow at the same time. I guess the other two books I just finnished have spoiled me. That author throughly described and developed his characters. You get to know them, and can easily envision the scene. I hope her other books are better.
I really like some of Elizabeth Chadwick's novels. This book while I did enjoy it, I didn't love it and found it tedious at times. I will admit that William Marshall is a lofty subject to cover so I can forgive the dates skipping around alot. I felt that the book was about 80% about Marshall's familial life at home with his wife\concubine and english court politics and only about 20% about his Tourney and Military career. You hear alot about how GREAT a militarist and tourney'er he was but vary rarely ever actually see it. There are few battle scenes and few tourney scenes which I found odd based on his reputation. I also found it a bit hard to really get to know Marshall other than he was a man of honor and integrity, his character came off a bit flat for me.
The book constantly made me feel a bit let down because it would build up to a castle siege scene and then you turn the page expecting some interesting siege warfare and what you get is him returing to his wife and describing the siege after the fact in a few sentences. I felt cheated ALOT!
I will probably read the next book just to finish out the story but this book was average in my opinion.
-Good historical research
-Good details that draw you into the 12th century life
-WAY TOO much time covering his home life, romance and family
-WAY too much time spent with discussions related to the English court (Which I already knew alot about)
-NOT nearly enough that shows us why he was so good at Tourneying or Military skills
I purchased this book on a chance. I'd never heard of the author and her books are described as "bodice rippers." I'm not the bodice-ripper type. However, I am very interested in 12th century European history, and anyone who knows about the period has heard of William Marshal. So, wanting a good medieval tale, I tried The Greatest Knight. I thought it was a good book. I really liked the author's character development, and the dialogue is well-written and fun. But she missed a lot of opportunities to describe action. Oh, there were a few skirmishes that she told about, though she skipped over the majority of so many battles and tourneys that it left me shaking my fist for more. I wish she had done more. Despite this, I still really liked the book. I'd have given it four stars if there had been more action.
I really enjoy Elizabeth Chadwick's work, the Greatest Knight was very enjoyable to listen to as a night time story before bed and I have since bought the sequel, the Scarlet Lion. I would also recommend her book Lords of the White Castle!
Christopher Scott is a wonderful narrator and contributes beautifully to the story.
What a fantastic read. Elizabeth Chadwick definitely writes an intriguing historical novel. The second book definitely surpasses the first book and has maintained my interest throughout. She literally makes history step off the pages. The book is so good that I've already purchased and am reading the third book in the series. Great reading.
I just finished this audiobook, and I enjoyed it. I would have liked a little more detail on the tourneys, but that's a minor point. Good narration. The production could have been a little better with scene changes - sometimes I missed when we changed scenes. Overall, though, I found it very interesting and enjoyable and I'd like to hear more this author-narrator team.
It should be said that the title character is fascinating.
This is an excellent book. I couldn't stop listening to it yet hated to see it end. This is my first experience with this author and my next purchase will be the continued saga of William! I would greatly recommend it.
The story is pretty good and I like the interplay between William (the main character) and the kings (like Henry, Richard, and John). However, there are a lot of fights that are not really described and she spends too much time talking about courtly love.
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 :)
What an excellent listen. So good that I couldn't stop listening !! I love British medieval history and this book really does bring the period to life. The author has linked the facts and the fiction to produce not only a good book but a credible account of the period. Thoroughly enjoyable and very highly recommended.
One of the best books I've ever read about medieval life, if I ever thought it was boring and staid then I have been sorely misinformed. I would recommend it to anyone.
"Extraordinary Life of a Knight"
The early years of William Marshall and how life was for a knight of the royal court. The intrigues and politics make for a good plot and Elizabeth Chadwick manages to transport one back in time with a brilliant and descriptive talent. I would really recommend this book to historical addicts.
"Great book about the Greatest Knight"
Oooooooooo, loved every minute of this book, didn't want it to end so I was pleased to discover there's a sequel! The narrator is easy to listen to, which is obviously a bonus and the story canters along at a great pace!!
"A really good read"
Its the first time I have chosen a book by this author but on the recommendation of my sister I downloaded this one. Although I have only just got it I am very impressed. Its a really good story which bounds along at a good pace and am already planning to download more from the author.
Elizabeth Chadwick is a wonderful storyteller and the book is beautifully read. I enjoyed the listen immensley and highly recommend both the book and the author.
"The greatest Knight"
This is a terrific book, good historiclly, well characterised and easy to listen to. I am just about to download the sequel!
"Great story that brings history to life again"
Christopher Scott is a skilled narrator whom has the ability to bring this already excellent story to life. I am looking forward to the second book.
I like this author's characterisation of an historical figure. Her prose has brought him alive for me!
Excellent. I am waiting for her 3rd of the trilogy of Eleanor of Aquitane and will read more of William Marshall. It would be nice to know the dates in history of each book, so I could read them in sequence.
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