The Greatest Knight: The Unsung Story of the Queen’s Champion
By Elizabeth Chadwick
Elizabeth Chadwick, how I do enjoy your writing. This is only the second of Chadwick’s books that I’ve read but she is fast becoming a favorite author of mine.
In The Greatest Knight, we meet William Marshal. A young knight without much experience and a sometimes lazy attitude. Due to infighting among the royal family, he gets his chance to prove himself in battle rather soon though. Over the coming years, he learns not only the value of hard work, but he gets the chance to excel not only at his knightly skills but also sharpen his diplomacy skills while wading through the shark infested waters of the court.
A deeply honorable man, his loyalty is sought by many, as well as, his skills in battle. Fortunately, and unfortunately, he serves under both a King and a Price and witnesses both of their deaths. Thrown back into the fray when more fighting breaks out among the royal family, he wants only to retire to his lands with his new wife and lead a quite life with his growing family. What he gets is more pain and suffering and a test of his loyalty once more.
Chadwick has a way of bringing Medieval England alive. Somewhere along the way I fell for William and really did sympathize with him. I wanted to see him live a quiet life without the court intrigue but then again, the court intrigue is what really brings the book alive. Henry II and his Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, rule over a divisive time in English history — sons and fathers are literally looking to murder each other and love is not something you attribute to this family but it proves a wonderful backdrop for this story.
I don’t know much about this particular time period, but Chadwick has made me want to read more. I believe The Scarlet Lion is a continuation of the story of William Marshal and I have to admit that I am be interested to see how this one turns out.
If you like historical fiction, I recommend this one.