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The Greatest Knight Audiobook

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

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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

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  •  
    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

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    "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

    I grew up on Golden Age Radio, I love to learn about a great many things, and I enjoy a wide variety of genres. Me, bored? Never!

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    "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
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    "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
  •  
    BKshopper 01-20-16
    BKshopper 01-20-16 Member Since 2015
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    "A must if you love history"

    From the story to the narrator a joy. A wonderful glimpse into the world medieval. The depth and details of this book..... I can only say time well spent and my world is that much richer.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandon James 05-06-15 Member Since 2016
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    "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
  •  
    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.

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    "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

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    "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
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    "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
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    KES 04-19-16
    KES 04-19-16 Member Since 2016
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    "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
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    Ryan P. Kraeger 11-23-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Amazing and true story of a great knight."

    This book recounts the story of William Marshall first Earl of Pembroke, universally acknowledged by contemporaries and peers as the greatest knight of the 12th and 13th centuries in Europe. It chronicles his rise from nothing, the youngest son of a relatively minor noble who was almost executed as a child hostage, to become the retainer of five separate kings of England. Not only did he serve five kings he became the regent for the boy king Henry the third. William Marshall epitomized, and in some ways defined the essence of the chivalric ideal. This is not merrily the biography of a single man, but rather a story of an entire class, culture and period of western European history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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