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The Greatest Knight: The Unsung Story of the…

The Greatest Knight: The Unsung Story of the Queen's Champion (original 2005; edition 2009)

by Elizabeth Chadwick

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7934611,583 (4.03)88
Title:The Greatest Knight: The Unsung Story of the Queen's Champion
Authors:Elizabeth Chadwick
Info:Sourcebooks Landmark (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 560 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Own, Historical

Work details

The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick (2005)

  1. 30
    Devil's Brood by Sharon Kay Penman (ladymacbeth1)
    ladymacbeth1: Elizabeth Chadwick's style is similar to Sharon Kay Penman's. If you liked reading about William Marshal in Devil's Brood, you'll enjoy Chadwick's biographical fiction on the man.
  2. 00
    The Lion in Winter by James Goldman (Limelite)
    Limelite: Intelligent and powerful play about Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitane, and their sons, with a feature role for William Marshall. Also a movie starring Peter O'Toole, Katherine Hepburn, and Anthony Hopkins as Richard III.
  3. 00
    The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick (arctangent)
    arctangent: This book continues the story of William Marshal and his family that was begun in 'The Greatest Knight' through the time of his death.

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» See also 88 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
I love historical fictions. And ever since I have read bits and pieces about William Marshal, I became very curious. This was a turbulent time, a troublesome time period in history, but through it all came a glorious, honourable and loyal knight....William Marshal.

As soon as I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down...until I had finished it within 2 days. William Marshal is the knight in shining armour that we all want...but his loyalty is constantly tested through trials and hardship that despite his best intentions... always leads to disaster. Henry and Eleanor's court is an interesting one, full of conquests and inter family fights, there is never ending events waiting to unfold.

As some people have mentioned, William seemed almost too perfect and set high up on the pedestal...almost so that he seems unreal. Mind you, maybe he really was a good knight and kind to a fault, but on paper he seems almost dull on some points and very flat for the main character. But oh my, Eleanor's character totally leap off the page, she is one strong and determined woman for sure!

The book talked about 25 years of William's life. It certainly was full of adventures and intrigues. Certainly lots going on for sure. ( )
  Dream24 | Jan 6, 2016 |
A glorious, sweeping walk through the medieval years of the late 12th century, telling the story of William Marshal, from boyhood as a hostage to King Stephen through his life as squire, knight, and rise to ever more and more important court positions to Henry II and Richard I. I enjoyed most the author's vivid descriptions of a knight's life, his happy marriage, and of the tourneys and battles he fought in. Marshal seems to have been a remarkable man. This novel was written extremely well with the right amount of drama, flair, and tragedy.

I can't get the picture of Eleanor of Aquitaine's face and acerbic manner as those of Katherine Hepburn out of my mind. :)

Very highly recommended. ( )
  janerawoof | Sep 28, 2015 |

At present necessary commuting is eating into my reading and writing time. I can't write while I'm driving, but audiobooks are a Godsend for my sanity. And this one was a cracker.

It was also a Christmas present, but what a difference to my last. The writing was crisp, and even though I know the adult story of real life William Marshall, Elizabeth Chadwick takes him from the age of six, when he's due to be hanged by King Stephen for his father's duplicity (leaving young William as a hostage to his word and good behaviour, and then reneging) right through the power struggles of King Henry and his sons Henry, the infamous John, until Richard takes the throne. Throughout, his loyalty to his given word remains resolute, and amid the mayhem it is what marks him for greatness.

Robert Powell, a British actor of esteem, was the narrator, and the fluidity, tonal adjustments, and sheer acting of male and female dialogue he brought to the text gave it true life. This is a set of CDs I'll listen to again. ( )
  LindaAcaster | Mar 8, 2015 |
This is the second of Elizabeth Chadwick's books I have read (after "For the King's Favor") because I didn't want to unjustly form a negative opinion of her if "For the King's Favor" was written in a rare fit of bad authorship. This one is just as bad. The book hardly starts before we see that William has a surname! With some exceptions (none of which pertain to William), people did not have surnames in this era. He was not known as "William Marshal" until after his death. We even see one of his cohorts call to him as "Marshal!" as if these are modern pre-adolescent boys who want to come across as a bit "tough" by only calling each other by their last names. This is laughable. There are so many errors and anachronisms, and they were so distracting, that I couldn't even "look beyond" them and enjoy the story. Another man that he hardly knows wants to stop and comment upon a flesh wound that William sustained, which, unless it were life-threatening, would, at that time, be ignored by others. William, when he is five years old, takes a adult size lance into his "fist." This would never fit within a child's fist. She never states that the child is touching it, or holding it with both hands. It is, indeed, IN his fist. These types of jarring errors go on throughout the book.

Now, I am not criticizing the readers who enjoy Ms. Chadwick's books. Lots of different people like lots of different books. Others may think my favorites are "dumb." I am just very disappointed in Ms. Chadwick for claiming such a high level of diligent research when she makes such sloppy errors. ( )
  afinch11 | Mar 7, 2015 |
When William Marshal saves Eleanor of Aquitaine’s life, she makes him the arms tutor to her sons. First he teaches Henry, but when Henry dies, he stays on out of loyalty to Eleanor. Next Marshal teaches Richard the Lionhearted and Prince John, two of England’s most legendary figures. When Richard goes on Crusade, Marshal must decide which Plantagenet to serve. Chadwick is an excellent writer at bringing historical characters to life, and does a wonderful job at making accurate history engaging and interesting.
  ktoonen | Dec 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Chadwickprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Scott, ChristopherNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the dark hour before dawn, all the shutters in the great hall were closed against the evil vapours of the night.
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Book description
A penniless young knight with few prospects, William Marshal blazes into history on the strength of his sword and the depth of his honor. Marshal's integrity set him apart in the turbulent court of Henry II ad Eleanor of Aquitaine, bringing fame and the promise of a wealthy heiress as well as enemies eager to plot his downfall. Elizabeth Chadwick has crafted a spellbinding tale about a forgotten hero, an ancestor of George Washington, an architect of the Magna Carta, and a legend of chivalry--the greatest knight of the Middle Ages. [from the cover] This book recounts the life of William Marshal (1146 – 14 May 1219), from the age of twenty, as a new knight, to his rise as the husband of the Countess of Pembroke and a sub-justiciar under Richard the Lionheart, and ends shortly after the return of Richard from his crusade.

This story intersects with For the King's Favor, the story of Roger Bigod and Ida de Tosney, the earl and countess of Norfolk, who become friends with William Marshal and Isabel de Clare.
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Fictionalizes the life of William Marshal, who is appointed tutor to Prince Henry, heir to the throne, after he rescues the queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, but William quickly learns of the dangers that are attached to his reward.

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An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

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Sourcebooks Landmark

An edition of this book was published by Sourcebooks Landmark.

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