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Knight in Anarchy Hardcover – September, 1969

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Imprint unknown; First Edition edition (September 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0432147519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0432147511
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,258,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Knight in Anarchy - previously published as "The Knight" is a tale of the life of Humphrey Visdelou a Norman knight during the time following the death of King Henry of England. It deals with Humphrey's struggle to remain loyal to the ideals of fealty and knighthood while surrounded by the treachery and politics of the time. Rather accuratly portrays the historical events and personalities of the time. A must read for those interested in the concept of fealty.
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Format: Hardcover
This work was first published in the mid to late 1960s under the title "The Knight." I first read it in 1978 and in digging through shelves and shelves of books in my home, I ran across it a few weeks ago. Relatively speaking, this is a rather short work, but it is one of those novels that simply stick with you throughout the years. I just gave it a reread and it has lost none of its impact over the years.

The time and place is in 12 century England shortly after the death of Henry I. This of course is one of the pivotal points in Western History and a time of complete turmoil and chaos. It was a time of extreme brutality and a time when questions were being asked, serious questions of government, the Church and mans place the grand scheme of things. This is the story of one Knight, a Norman Knight; Humphrey Visdelou. It is the story of one man caught up in the conflict of loyalties. The question this story asks is what are the boundaries of sworn fealty? In an age where intrigue, treachery, politics, religion and the mere act of survival ruled, Sir Visdelou is faced with major and soul destroying (as well as physical) decisions that must be made. Can a man stay true?

This is an extremely gritty work and pulls no punches. Fine points of the etiquette of Knighthood are closely examined and the convoluted and extremely complex reasoning behind actions as related to Knighthood are also addressed. The best example of this would be an early episode in the book... Briefly, our young hero is placed in charge of a keep. The stronghold is attacked by a rival Knight.
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Format: Hardcover
I cannot add much to the assessments given by the above reviewers. Shipway has a scholar's understanding of life in 12th century England, and indeed, of much of Europe at the time. This period, after the death of Henry I and during the reign of Stephen, was known as the Anarchy. Henry's daughter, Matilda, was a claimant to the throne and her supporters fought Stephen's in a bloody civil war. For a period of some eighteen years the country was racked by warfare and lawlessness. Shipway has a good understanding of the mindset of these people and it was very different to ours, especially their concept of fealty. Life was very harsh anyway but the barbaric cruelty of the war made is much more so. Humphrey Visdelou is a man of his time; a knight who strives to uphold his beliefs but who still commits acts of base savagery. The plight of the native English Saxons who are caught up in this Norman inter tribal conflict is grim. It is an absorbing tale and well worth the read.
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