Start reading To Defy a King (William Marshal Book 5) on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To Defy a King (William Marshal Book 5) [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth Chadwick
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $14.99 What's this?
Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.00 (33%)

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 70%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $9.99  
Hardcover --  
Paperback $13.62  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $0.00 Free with Audible trial
Audio, CD, Audiobook, Unabridged $99.67  
Unknown Binding --  
Historical Fiction
An epic historical military adventure, Constantinopolis plots out the future of civilization as shaped by a number of fascinating characters. Learn more

Book Description

Spirited daughter. Rebellious wife. Powerful woman.

The adored and spirited daughter of England's greatest knight, Mahelt Marshal lives a privileged life. But when her beloved father falls foul of the volatile and dangerous King John, her world is shattered. The king takes her brothers hostage and Mahelt's planned marriage to Hugh Bigod, son of the Earl of Norfolk, takes place sooner than she expected. Mahelt and Hugh come to care for each other deeply, but Hugh's strict father clashes with the rebellious Mahelt. When more harsh demands from King John threaten to tear the couple's lives apart, Mahelt finds herself facing her worst fears alone, not knowing if she-or her marriage-will survive.

A brilliant story of a vibrant woman in a tyrant's world, To Defy a King is another impeccably researched masterpiece from a beloved author.

"The best writer of medieval fiction." -Historical Novels Review

"I rank Elizabeth Chadwick with such historical novelist stars as Dorothy Dunnett and Anya Seton." -Sharon Kay Penman, New York Times bestselling author of Devil's Brood

"Brilliantly weaving a strong plotline, historical accuracy, depth of character, and dialogue filled with intelligence and wit...Elizabeth Chadwick is one of the very best of historical fiction authors." -Passages to the Past

"When Elizabeth Chadwick writes about history, you feel like you are there in the thick of it." -Long and Short Reviews

Books In This Series (4 Books)
Complete Series

  • Editorial Reviews

    From Publishers Weekly

    A majestic High Middle Ages series continues in Chadwick's latest (after For the King's Favor) as Mahelt "Matty" Marshal, the daughter of legendary British knight William Marshal, becomes a bride at 14. Though the marriage, to Hugh Bigod, future earl of Norfolk, is arranged, Matty is open to it and embraces the passion that eventually comes. She bears Bigod four children and enjoys a peaceful life until tyrannical King John takes her paternal family hostage, first her brother Will, heir to the earldom of Pembroke, then her brother Richard, and finally her father, who has openly opposed the king's greed and land-grabbing. Matty's determination to save her father and brothers while also standing by her husband and keeping her new family safe creates both conflict and, ultimately, joyous rewards in a well-told saga filled with just the right amount of exacting period detail. Both longtime fans and readers new to Chadwick's series will be thrilled. (Mar.)
    (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

    From Booklist

    Chadwick (For the King�s Favor, 2010) again captures the inherent complexity of medieval alliances and rivalries in this irresistibly readable historical romance featuring a willful and wily heroine ensnared in a particularly thorny political hornet�s nest. Married at an indecently young age, Mahelt Matty Marshal, beloved daughter of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, eventually permits herself to fall in love with her husband, Hugh Bigod, heir to the earldom of Pembroke, as she adapts to life in a new household. Unfortunately, during the reign of the infamous king John, trouble inevitably looms on the horizon. When Matty�s father falls out of favor with the king, and her brothers are taken hostage, her loyalties are painfully divided between her birth family and her marriage family. As her resolve and her allegiances are tested by cruel circumstances, she must decide who and what she is willing to risk in defiance of the king. Chadwick�s characters step directly off the pages of history into this fresh fictional reimagining of a perilous time and place. --Margaret Flanagan

    Product Details

    • File Size: 2751 KB
    • Print Length: 561 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1847442366
    • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (March 1, 2011)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B004MME70G
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Not Enabled
    • Lending: Not Enabled
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,087 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
    •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

    Customer Reviews

    4.6 out of 5 stars
    4.6 out of 5 stars
    Share your thoughts with other customers
    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Chadwick never fails to deliver May 4, 2010
    To Defy a King is the story of Mahelt, the eldest and most beloved daughter of my favorite hunk in history, William Marshal. Preparing an extended trip to get their lands in Ireland under control, Mahelt's parents are anxious to see her married before they leave and to that end she is betrothed to Hugh Bigod, the son of Roger Bigod the powerful Earl of Norfolk. While still too young for the marriage bed, Mahelt and Hugh are married and she joins the Bigods at Framlingham Castle, although the very-independent-minded Mahelt and set-in-his-ways Roger don't always see eye to eye.

    When Mahelt reaches her fifteenth birthday she and Hugh are able to consummate their marriage and begin building a family together, but their happiness is ultimately threatened by the escalating tensions between King John and his barons. Hugh also has a lot of tension of his own to deal with from his half-brother William Longespée, who is quite full of himself and his relationship to the King (he is John's half-brother through his mother Ida see more about that in The Time Of Singing);

    "...although for Longespée attendance on John was a validation of his royal blood and an opportunity to pose in fine clothes."

    The conflicts finally lead to open revolt against the King and Mahelt finds herself torn between loyalty to the Bigods who want to oust John and her father who swore fealty to John and is honor bound to keep it. And what of her beloved brothers who have been held hostage for years by John to ensure her father's loyalty?

    "Do not talk to me of God. I have been supping with the Devil...I thought I had a long enough spoon, but I was wrong.
    Read more ›
    Was this review helpful to you?
    39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
    Mahelt Marshal is the eldest daughter of William Marshal, one of the most respected and influential knights in England. During King John's turbulent reign, William Marshal is suspected of treachery and with two sons being held hostage he seeks to make an advantageous marriage for his daughter. A marriage to Hugh Bigod, the son of Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk is arranged, and Mahelt moves to Framlingham to live with her new family.

    This is Mahelt's story during the period from January 1204 to September 1217. It is the story of a proud Marshal daughter growing into a young woman and realising that a Bigod wife is sometimes required to have different allegiances than a Marshal daughter. In the meantime, the reign of King John is creating political and religious upheaval, and both the Marshals and the Bigods are in danger. Mahelt and Hugh's marriage is also under threat as allegiances and loyalties are challenged.

    I enjoyed this novel. Ms Chadwick brings medieval England to life by deftly recreating the physical world and the mindsets of the period. This makes it easier for the 21st century reader to appreciate why the 13th characters behave the way they do.

    While this novel can be read as a standalone, I'd recommend reading Ms Chadwick's other novels about the Marshal (The Greatest Knight; The Scarlet Lion; A Place Beyond Courage) and Bigod (The Time of Singing) families first.

    Jennifer Cameron-Smith
    Was this review helpful to you?
    24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read! July 13, 2010
    I must admit to being a huge Elizabeth Chadwick fan - which is why I ordered this prior to it's release in the States. Check out the Book Depository for tittles that you simply can't wait to read. They have excellent service, great selection and FREE shipping no less!

    I loved this book and read it while I was recuperating. It was the perfect book for getting lost in another time and place! It recounts the life of Mahelt Marshall - eldest daughter of greatest knight of all William Marshall. The action takes place during the reign of King John - when, it seems everyone, even those most loyal to the crown as William Marshall was, are suspected of treason for one reason or another. Quite honestly this book made me want to read more about King John because he comes across as a neurotic, paranoid kind of man who thinks that all of his subjects are out to over through him (hummmm - maybe they were - that might make sense come to think of it!). He holds two of William Marshal's sons captives as surety for William's allegiance. I got bad vibes about this King just from reading the book.

    With his sons held captive William Marshall arranges an advantageous marriage for his beloved daughter Mahelt to Hugh Bigod, son of the Earl of Norfolk Roger Bigod. This book is the story of Mahelt's marriage, and, in a way, of her "coming of age" when women were thought of as little more than breeding machines. The book covers the years 1204 to 1217. The books skillfully tells the tale of the Mahelt's family allegiance to her father came into conflict to her marriage family's ambitions at times. He marriage to Hugh is tested as as the vicissitudes and tyranny of John's reign causes both as well as religious upheaval within the country.
    Read more ›
    Comment | 
    Was this review helpful to you?
    12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite of her books August 27, 2010
    To Defy a King is the story of Mahelt Marshal, eldest daughter of the famous William Marshal--who appears as the main character in two of Chadwick's previous novels, and a minor character in a handful of others. As the oldest daughter of one of the most famous men in England, Mahelt married Hugh Bigod. The novel covers a period of about ten years, from Mahelt's marriage to Hugh up through the Magna Carta.

    I do love Elizabeth Chadwick's novels; her writing really takes her reader back in time. But for some reason, I just didn't love this one quite as much. Maybe because there's so much less known about Mahelt than about her father, her character seems a lot sketchier here. Still, I thought Chadwick did a wonderful job of trying to ring her and Hugh to life. Hahelt matures as a character, but it's too abrupt; at one point she's running off to meet her brother in secret, the next she's a responsible young chatelaine. Maybe having children made her more mature and responsible, but it happened too suddenly for me.

    Another frequent theme that pops up in the novel is loyalty; the Bigods and Marshals were on different sides of the King John conflict. Who should Mahelt side with: the family she was born into or the side that her adoptive family is on? Like a previous reviewer, I thought that Chadwick should have focused more on the internal struggle that Mahelt faces--and there's a lot of opportunity to deal with the topic in this novel.

    Still, as I've said before, Chadwick really knows how to get her reader into the mindset of her medieval characters. Her research is always detailed, and her descriptions of the time and place in which her novels are set are always absorbing.
    Read more ›
    Comment | 
    Was this review helpful to you?
    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful historical work of fiction.
    I enjoyed reading this book and all of the Elizabeth Chadwick books that I have read so far. They are historical fiction and she does a lot of research to make sure they are as... Read more
    Published 20 days ago by marjy francis
    5.0 out of 5 stars Chadwick on Marshall...excellent
    All of the William Books are not only educational but interesting.... And Chadwick is such a good writer!
    Published 21 days ago by Caroline Monroe
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    I've enjoyed Chadwick's Marshal series very much.
    Published 21 days ago by Victoria C. Mannion
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    I am reading all of Elizabeth Chadwick books right now. Just finished all of Phillippa Gregory.
    Published 1 month ago by David Taylor
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    My wife, the reader of this book loves this volume and the preceding ones as well.
    Published 2 months ago by B Farris
    4.0 out of 5 stars Life As It Was Then
    Really enjoyed the read and found it quite un putdownable. It was always going to be hard to tear myslf away from Sarah Key Penman but Elizabeth has come up trumps. Read more
    Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
    4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
    Fascinating story and details. Will read more from this author.
    Published 4 months ago by Cat H
    5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written, interesting and I COULDN'T stop reading ...
    Very well written, interesting and I COULDN'T stop reading it.In those very ancient times history is of the utmost importance.
    Published 5 months ago by Sonia Burle Marx Smith
    5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED this book!
    The Marshall series is definitely in my top 5 ALL TIME FAVORITES! I don't think I have ever found an author who combines accurate historical research within her novels in such... Read more
    Published 6 months ago by deborah
    5.0 out of 5 stars Love E Chadwick
    I have been a long time fan of Mary Kay Penman, and did not believe anyone could met her standards, but I think Chadwick has finally done it! Read more
    Published 6 months ago by Elaine Barton-Weeks
    Search Customer Reviews

    More About the Author

    Elizabeth Chadwick is a best selling, award winning author of historical fiction. A born storyteller, her first novel The Wild Hunt won a Betty Trask Award in 1990. She has been four times shortlisted for the RNA Award in the UK for the best mainstream romantic novel. Her book The Scarlet Lion was selected as one of the top ten works of historical fiction of the decade by Richard Lee, founder of The Historical Novel Society.

    What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


    There are no discussions about this product yet.
    Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
    Start a new discussion
    First post:
    Prompts for sign-in

    Look for Similar Items by Category