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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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7254512,951 (4.06)86
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

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The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick (2005)

Recently added byprivate library, LindaAcaster, pepperedmoth, stephanie.nevells, olongbourn
  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 86 mentions

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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 |
Not bad, not amazing... A good historical fiction for the late 12th century. She stayed very true to the known events of William Marshall's life and those around him so this earns a large thumbs up in my book. ( )
  goth_marionette | Sep 21, 2014 |
One of my favorite books of the year. The Greatest Knight is a historical biography & adventure. This book is just part one, the author continues William's tale in the next book. I really enjoyed the details of life in the middle ages, Chadwick does an amazing job, her research brings the time period to life. I surprisingly enjoyed the tourney lifestyle & battles more than I would have thought. Generally, I find detailed battle descriptions boring & gory but I sincerely relished seeing them thru William's eyes. I think what I enjoyed most was getting a peak into the personalities of these historical figures, King Henry I, Henry II, Richard the Lionheart, Eleanor of Aquitaine, etc. It makes their actions & motivations more human & understandable when you can see their personality traits & thru their eyes.

I found this book on a Best Historical Fiction list & they were right! I'm looking forward to the second part of William's story. ( )
  CMBlaker | May 6, 2014 |
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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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Sourcebooks Landmark

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