We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
The Greatest Knight Audiobook

The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones

Regular Price:$31.49
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

In The Greatest Knight, renowned historian Thomas Asbridge draws upon the thirteenth-century biography and an array of other contemporary evidence to present a compelling account of William Marshal's life and times. Asbridge charts the unparalleled rise to prominence of a man bound to a code of honor yet driven by unquenchable ambition.

Marshal was the true Lancelot of his era - a peerless warrior and paragon of chivalry. As a five-year-old boy, William was sentenced to execution and led to the gallows, yet this landless younger son survived his brush with death and went on to train as a medieval knight. Against all odds Marshal rose through the ranks - serving at the right hand of five English monarchs - to become a celebrated tournament champion, a baron and politician, and, ultimately, regent of the realm.

This knight's tale lays bare the brutish realities of medieval warfare and the machinations of the royal court and draws us into the heart of a formative period of our history. It is the story of one remarkable man, the birth of the knightly class to which he belonged, and the forging of the English nation.

©2014 Thomas Asbridge (P)2015 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Readers seeking a deeper understanding of early tournaments and the origins of chivalry will be pleased." (Library Journal)

"Derek Perkins skillfully narrates Asbridge's history of the exemplary twelfth-century knight William Marshall.... Perkins's voice has something of the medieval in it, and he easily fills the contours of a narrative that ranges from the manufacture of knight's armor to its bloody use on the field of battle. Here is Arthurian legend at its core--and one of the year's true sleepers." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (248 )
5 star
 (165)
4 star
 (60)
3 star
 (17)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (2)
Overall
4.6 (228 )
5 star
 (159)
4 star
 (51)
3 star
 (12)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (3)
Story
4.6 (230 )
5 star
 (159)
4 star
 (52)
3 star
 (14)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Mary Elizabeth Reynolds SUMMERVILLE, SC, United States 04-13-15
    Mary Elizabeth Reynolds SUMMERVILLE, SC, United States 04-13-15 Member Since 2013

    author of Lowcountry Legend's series

    HELPFUL VOTES
    210
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    95
    65
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    7
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Rare biography of a true knight"

    the rarity of a volume about an average man who broke the rules of the Middle Ages to become a figure of myth and greatness. Thus the focus is on some people and incidents that do not get much attention. Such as the details between Henry the second and his battles with his sons rather than the killing of Thomas Becket. Worth the time.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Troy 04-02-15
    Troy 04-02-15

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2188
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    551
    279
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    159
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Biography of a Legend"

    Credited as the very embodiment of chivalry in a time with the concept was just coming into its own, William Marshal was very nearly executed at the age of five yet would go on to serve as the backbone of the Plantagenet dynasty. He would rebel against kings, serve alongside kings, go on Crusade, and become instrumental in the signing of Magna Carta. By any measure, this man is a legend in the annals of knighthood, England, and the whole of the Middle Ages.

    This new biography is nothing less than impressive. While it does help to have some background knowledge of the Plantagenet dynasty and its key players (I highly recommend Dan Jones' The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England), the great thing about this book is that it does stand on its own for those who are just dipping their toes into this part of history. This means it works very well as both an introduction to the man and his times and as supplemental reading to other works. It's an easy read, but it's by no means lightweight in its approach. The result is that the Greatest Knight steps out to shine as one of the most respected men in history, fully accessible to modern readers some 800 years later.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-22-16 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    80
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "true story of an amazing knight"

    This is the incredible story of William Marshal who rose from hostage who escaped execution as a child to renown knight to navigating deadly political waters. During the course of his life he served 5 kings and was known for his loyalty. In his lifetime he was known as a fierce warrior and he helped shape the chivalric code of knights.

    The author does an excellent job of describing medieval life, especially of knights. William Marshal's life encompassed the reigns of Stephen through Henry III. William was larger than life. I recommend this book to anyone interested in medieval European history.

    The narration is excellent. Derek Perkins did a wonderful job. Sometimes I shy away from history audiobooks because too often the narration is dull. Mr. Perkins kept the pace interesting.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandon James 05-06-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful Story"

    This is a great read. The historical points are well researched and approached from multiple sources to provide as clear a picture as possible about William Marshall's life. While no one can be perfect, Marshall was a prototype of chivalry, courage, and loyalty and his story is fascinating.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Cannon 01-31-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Engaging story of an exceptional knight."

    I was easily drawn into a period of history for which I had little background.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reademandweep 09-29-16 Member Since 2016

    and a penny for your thoughts

    HELPFUL VOTES
    197
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    340
    115
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I wish someone would make a movie of the book"

    William Marshall is the stuff of legends and yet to Little is known of this great man. (equal to William Wallace). I read most everything I can about William Marshall. I'm inspired to know people like this lived.
    This book attempts to be biased but in doing so I find, it is biased. First of all, we are all biased so it's impossible not to be especially when reviewing history. William Marshall's life was largely unknown until about 150 years ago. Historians knew he existed but the details of his life and the magnitude of his influence and the importance of his deeds were not realized until a document, long overlooked was discovered. This book summarizes that chronicle, with occasional commentary as to whether or not the author believes the discovered document was true. I personally find that unnecessary because most of recorded history is edited (by the victor as the saying goes). So, what we are left with is the summary of his tale and because William Marshall's life is so long and impressive, that is quite enough to keep the book entertaining.
    However, I preferred Elizabeth Chadwick's book "The last night". She sticks to all the facts as written in the discovered history BUT weaves those facts together to create a story using description and events true to the time. While the history may simply tell of a battle that Marshall fought in, Chadwicks book will describe the battle using other historical information.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee 09-01-16
    Lee 09-01-16 Member Since 2012

    Showing forth the love and grace of my Friend, Jesus, to all He places in my path. Representing retirement by traveling the US and Canada.

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    47
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An excellent, well sourced and thorough History."
    Would you listen to The Greatest Knight again? Why?

    Yess! There are so many essential behind the scenes minutia which directed major events requires that several re-readings seem essential. The scholarship and presentation are of the highest quality.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was well researched and interwoven with many disperate sources that provide essential authority to this recounting of Marshall.


    Have you listened to any of Derek Perkins’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No --


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The presentation of Marshall's steadfast loyalty to each English king epitomized his commitment to the knight's code of chivalry. .


    Any additional comments?

    Although the performance at times was sonorous -- yet the subject matter captivated my attention. I'm not sure how one might perform differently -- perhaps with inflection, change of cadence, or some other method -- the presentation could have been more engrossing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    doctorj Phoenix, United States 08-03-16
    doctorj Phoenix, United States 08-03-16 Member Since 2014

    truestfriends

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    7
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Absolutely superb"

    What an engaging read! From start to finish a pure delight. Exceedingly well researched and well read...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael G. Potter 07-24-16 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What would William Marshal do?"

    Hostage, youngest son, poor knight, servant of kings and the realm, tournament champion, the story of William Marshal and his time is very interesting. The book moves along at a good pace and paints pictures with enough detail that the important facts are clear but not so detailed that it gets bogged down.

    William Marshal was so deeply involved in British history from the 1160's to 1219, and so much happened then that the writer easily could have fallen deeply into various rabbit holes and bogged the story down. Fortunately this does not happen. Instead, a vivid and engaging story of the greatest knight is told and by the end the reader is left with no doubt as to why the title applies to William Marshal.

    The book covers Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, the young King Henry, Richard the Lionheart, John Softsword and their times. William was a key figure in all of the histories and his loyal (and greatly rewarded) service to them is well explained.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KES 04-19-16
    KES 04-19-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a thoroughly interesting and sympathetic biography"

    the man William Marshall is little known to us in the modern world. this biography provided me with a keen insight into the life of this great man whose honor seems peerless in the annals of medieval Europe.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.