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A place beyond courage by Elizabeth Chadwick

A place beyond courage (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Elizabeth Chadwick

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2591444,125 (3.96)30
Title:A place beyond courage
Authors:Elizabeth Chadwick
Info:London : Sphere, 2007.
Collections:Your library

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A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick (2007)



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This was my first Elizabeth Chadwick book, but will not be my last. It is a while since I have enjoyed a historical fiction book as much of this one. It gave a strong feel for the time and place of the battle between Stephen and Matilda and the cost to those involved in this Ongoing war. The character of JohnFitzGilbert came through well, as did his courage and never say die attitude. An interesting introduction to William Marshall as well, who is the subject of The Greatest Knight which I intend to read next. I can certainly recommend this book to others. ( )
  Andrew-theQM | Jul 29, 2016 |
When I think of medieval fiction writers I think of Elizabeth Chadwick. She is the go to author for me and this was another great novel.

John FitzGilbert was the father of the more famous William Marshal. But this is John's book. He was King Henry II's marshal, he was young and went for what he wanted. I liked how he was portrayed, even in his darkest moments. Because in the end you can't know what he thought and felt and I felt what she wrote here was very possible.

His first wife was Aline, yeah, the less we talk about her the better. She was weak. His second marriage was a political one since he was feuding with his neighbor. So he out aside Aline and married Sybilla. Again this could have made me dislike him, but to save his children, his future and life it was just something he had to do. Life back then was not easy for women, but we all know that already.

The novel takes place during the civil war when Matilda and her cousin Stephen fights for the throne. And of course we got John in the middle of it all, trying to pick a side and stay alive. Not that easy in a time like that.

Chadwick is always so good with the little details. I feel like I am there over 800 years ago. It feels real. I am watching the story in my head while reading it.

And the things I learn, it was the Marshal's job to take care of the royal whores. Yes, he brought in new blood and saw to that they kept their standards. He did sample the wares too ;)

I know that when I want good historical fiction then Chadwick's books are the ones to read. Medieval life comes alive while reading. ( )
  blodeuedd | Mar 2, 2016 |
4.5 Stars

A Place Beyond Courage tells the story of John FitzGilbert, marshal to England's King Henry II and father to William Marshall, who is himself the subject of an Elizabeth Chadwick novel titled The Greatest Knight. In his years of dedicated service to his king, John's loyalty has never been questioned, but when Henry II dies and his nephew Stephen claims the throne, John finds his position at court no longer secure and is forced to make a decision about where to place his loyalties. But committing himself to Empress Matilda's cause puts John's life and lands under constant threat from the King and his supporters. After several years of conflict, John forms an alliance with one of his enemies in an effort to keep his lands safe. This alliance, however, means John must divorce his wife, Aline, a woman better suited for life in a convent, and marry Sybilla, the daughter of his enemy. Although initially wed for purely strategic purposes, John and Sybilla's marriage turns into a love match, and together they meet head on the challenges that face both them and their country.

One of the things I like best about Chadwick's novels is the rich historical detail woven into each story. This detail vividly brings to life the eras in which Chadwick's novels are set. I also appreciate how Chadwick is able to strike the right balance between the character-driven aspects of her plot and those aspects that, along with rich historical detail, create a strong sense of time and place. As a result, readers become intimately familiar not only with Chadwick's characters, but also with the personalities and events that shaped the world they lived in. A Place Beyond Courage is no exception, painting vibrant portraits of both John FitzGilbert and Sybilla of Salisbury, while also chronicling King Stephen and Empress Matilda's war for the English crown that permeated virtually every aspect of their lives.

Highly recommended to all readers of historical fiction, especially those with an interest in the medieval era and English history. ( )
  Melissa_J | Jan 16, 2016 |
I wasn't really familiar with John FitzGilber (father of William Marshal) before I read yhis book so it was interesting. I think the first part of book was little boring, mainly because I didn't like Aline. But after John married Sybilla the book kept getting better. Hence the 3 stars... ( )
1 vote Elysianfield | Mar 30, 2013 |
I must say I was quite disappointed in this book, it was more of a romance with a bit of history thrown in. The Blurb on the back promised so much but the book failed to deliver. The title would make think that this was a book of pace and adventure, believe me it wasn't. If you enjoy romantic wishy washy females and strong manly men you may like it! Sadly I am not so keen! ( )
  Glorybe1 | Mar 29, 2013 |
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The novel centers around John FitzGilbert the Marshal, otherwise John Marshal (c. 1105 – 1165). He was involved in the English civil war between Mathilda (or Maud) and Stephen. He had two wives, Aline and Sybilla, and by the latter was the father of the more famous William Marshal.
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The early 12th century is a time for ambitious men to prosper, and royal servant John FitzGilbert, the King's Marshal is one of them. Raised high, as the king of the deceased King Henry battle each other for England's throne, John reaps rich rewards but pays a terrible price for the choices he makes - as do his family.… (more)

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