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

by Elizabeth Chadwick

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8074811,302 (4.04)91
Member:Samantha_kathy
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
Rating:****1/2
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 91 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Really gives insight to the times of Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and their sons, as seen through the eyes of William Marshall. Chadwick really nails it. ( )
  winterslights | Jun 12, 2016 |
The Greatest Knight –Elizabeth Chadwick – 526pg. 12/10/11

4 stars

This is good, solid historical fiction. William Marshal is the embodiment of a heroic character. Beginning with his early childhood as a political hostage, Chadwick relates Marshal’s rise as a royal favorite in the courts of Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and King Richard the Lionheart. Marshal is portrayed as an intensely ethical man, with high ambitions. He walks a tightrope of court politics, brutal combat and conflicting loyalties to achieve his goals. All of the other historical figures come alive as distinct personalities. I especially loved her portrayal of Eleanor. (I can’t help picturing her as looking exactly like Katherine Hepburn). I found this long book to be very readable with short compact chapters. I was only disappointed that the author skipped over the details of Marshal’s crusade to the holy land. I can see where that story would be another lengthy book on its own.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
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 |
Excellent!

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 |
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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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