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A Place Beyond Courage (William Marshal Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth Chadwick
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sometimes Keeping Your Honor Means Breaking Your Word

The early twelfth century is a time for ambitious men to prosper. John FitzGilbert is a man of honor and loyalty, sworn to royal service. When the old king dies, his successor rewards the handsome and ambitious John with castles and lands. But King Stephen has a tenuous hold on both his reign and his barons, and when jealous rivals at court seek to destroy John, he backs a woman's claim to the crown, sacrifices his marriage, and eventually is forced to make a gamble that is perhaps one step too far.

Rich with detail, masterful in its storytelling, A Place Beyond Courage is a tale of impossible gambles and the real meaning of honor.

"Picking up an Elizabeth Chadwick novel is like having a Bentley draw up at your door: you know you are in for a sumptouous ride."-Daily Telegraph

"The best writer of medieval fiction currently around."-Richard Lee, founder and publisher, Historical Novel Society

"A star back in Britain, Elizabeth Chadwick is finally getting the attention she deserves here."-USA Today

Editorial Reviews


"Based on real characters and extensive research, Chadwick's imaginative tale will keep readers captive till the final page. " - Publishers Weekly

"Immerse your senses in the world created by Chadwick; be intrigued, entertained and enlightened by the deft skill of a master storyteller as she weaves a course through the turbulent years of a battle for the Crown with passion and finesse. For fans of William Marshal and Chadwick's The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion, this is a must-read." - RT Book Reviews

"Those who love accurate historical fiction, exciting characters, a plot filled with suspense and action, high emotions and surprises, will probably love this book. " - Long and Short Reviews

"This is a terrific biographical fiction that fans of the era will enjoy as John the Marshal proves able, brave and opportunistic in a world filled with intrigue, but is truly tested when his favorite offspring is snatched." - Genre Go Round Reviews

"All I can say is Elizabeth Chadwick, I want more. She is one of my favorite authors. I have been known to buy her books of Amazon UK or ebay to get my hands on them." - Tracy's Nook

"Elizabeth Chadwick is a master at this period and meticulously researches her material, and presents the story eloquently and passionately." - Burton Book Review

"I would recommend A PLACE BEYOND COURAGE to anyone who enjoys history or is looking for a pleasant novel to read on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

" - Fresh Fiction

"This is a superb read about a lesser known historical figure. The pace never lets up, the author's eye for historical detail and accuracy is immaculate, and in John Marshal, she has fleshed out the character of a truly remarkable man.

" - Romantic Historical Lovers

"I know that when I want good historical fiction then Chadwick's books are the ones to read. Medieval life comes alive in them.

" - Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell

"A Place Beyond Courage is a splendid book, all around: the high quality of writing, the great amount of research and the quick-paced action. At the risk of sounding cliche, there really is never a dull moment in this novel." - Axe for the Frozen Sea

"A Place Beyond Courage is a book to be highly regarded as one of the greats." - Yankee Romance Reviews

"This is a terrific biographical fiction that fans of the era will enjoy as John the Marshal proves able, brave and opportunistic in a world filled with intrigue, but is truly tested when his favorite offspring is snatched." - Midwest Book Review

"This is truly Ms. Chadwick's forte; taking big swaths of medieval history and reducing it to the personal level. She lets her reader get a feel for what the life would have been like - whether through descriptions of food, clothing or even the smell of a washerwoman - it all brings the period to vivid life for the person lucky enough to be reading the book.
" - Broken Teepee

"This was the third Elizabeth Chadwick book that I read and really enjoyed. Since then I have worked my through most of her back list! Still a few to go and I am being very slow, savouring my journey through them knowing that once I get through them all then I will have to wait impatiently for each new release.

" - Historical Tapestry

"Chadwick does a fantastic job in this novel, as with all her books, of bringing characters that have been dead for 800 years to life on the page. " - A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore

About the Author

Elizabeth Chadwick (UK) is the author of 17 historical novels, including The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion, A Place Beyond Courage, Lords of the White Castle, Shadows and Strongholds, the Winter Mantle, and The Falcons of Montabard, four of which have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Awards.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2319 KB
  • Print Length: 514 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; Reprint edition (September 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008L1E13M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,205 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
68 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John FitzGilbert: beyond the `hammers and anvils' June 20, 2008
I picked up this novel with some trepidation. How could the father of William Marshal (newly ensconced in my personal gallery of heroes) possibly be as interesting as his son? How could the maker of the infamous `hammers and anvils' speech possibly be a hero? Still, I was confident that if anyone could make this work it would be Elizabeth Chadwick. The painstaking research that made William Marshal come to life for me would surely do the same in respect of his father.

I wasn't disappointed. I didn't expect to like John FitzGilbert as much as I did. But in the process of reading Ms Chadwick's novel I obtained an appreciation, admiration and respect for John that took me by surprise. In this novel, Ms Chadwick managed to make the man himself human without ignoring the apparent cruelty of the `hammers and anvils' speech. I devoured this book in a few short days.

I know the broad history of this period so knew where most of the major turning points were and which directions events would take. But what I did not have, and what Ms Chadwick has so ably infused into the mixture was a sense of the people themselves and the impacts on their lives of the choices they needed to make.

John Marshal doesn't quite displace his son in my gallery of heroes, but he certainly joins him. Thanks, Ms Chadwick, for making another relatively obscure and heroic figure come to life.

Highly recommended to all who love well written medieval fiction.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the John Marshal You Think You Know. September 1, 2012
I believe this book was published in 2007 in the U.K.
Before this book I had read of John Marshal , in When Christ and His Saints Slept(Sharon Kay Penman), and of course, Wikipedia, so my impression of him was as a ruthless, heartless man who would stop at nothing to advance himself and his cause. Actually, in my mind I called him "Mr. Hammer and Anvils," because of his comment, while his son was being held hostage for his good behavior, that he had the "hammer and anvils to forge more and better sons."
So one day on Facebook I followed a discussion on Elizabeth Chadwick's page that involved women swooning over John...I was perplexed. After a lengthy discussion I decided I could not live another day without reading this book, and was disappointed to find out that I would have to order it from the U.K and wait. It was worth the wait.

The book follows John Marshal, before and during England's Civil War between Stephen former Count of Mortain and usurper of the English throne, and the Empress Matilda, rightful heir to her father's kingdom. In order to survive John has to make agonizing and dangerous decisions, some of which have been condemned through out time as mad, heartless, the actions of a lunatic. From having half of his face melted off while trapped in a burning church, to allowing his 5 year old son to be hung for his own "traitorous" behavior, to the more mundane things like trying out all the court prostitutes to make sure they were fit for service, this was an amazing, breath-holding page-turner. Although I well knew the Marshal's story long before I read this book, Elizabeth Chadwick is that rare sort of story-teller that makes you believe you are reading the story for the first time.

Once again, I can't stress enough that Elizabeth Chadwick is an amazing writer who makes you feel as though you are living the history. Her use of the Akashic Records is fascinating. So, here is to John Marshal, one of my new historical heroes.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Historical Novel June 21, 2008
I am so pleased to see this novel available for review on Amazon US. It is indeed one of the best historical novels available today and should definitely be open to a much wider audience.

Elizabeth Chadwick's historical novels never fail to engage from the first word, and A Place Beyond Courage is yet another excellent example of first-rate history brought to life. The story of The Greatest Knight's father, John Marshal, A Place Beyond Courage treats us to the equally full and engaging life of a man who knew his own mind and lived his life with gusto and fortitude.

Ms. Chadwick begins her tale with John's early years as Marshal to Henry I, King of England, and follows him through the tumultuous period of warring factions for the crown after the king's death. John is shown to be very adept at achieving his goals and maintaining his own fortunes as he switches sides between Henry's daughter Matilda and Henry's nephew, Stephen; his personal life, however, leaves him feeling cold as his marriage to the mouse Aline dwindles into random meetings in the hall. Enter Sybilla, the sister of the Earl of Salisbury, and equal in fire and spirit to John; the hapless Aline is set aside as a love of deep understanding and desire develops between the two. Chadwick does an outstanding job of balancing the romantic aspect with the historical; never once does the novel steep into the vein of overblown romance as she shows the commitment between the two.

Following the steps of John Marshal through history is as well-told by Chadwick as it can possibly be. As I finished the predecessor to this novel, The Scarlet Lion, I'd thought I loved William Marshal. If that was the case, I'm now in love with John Marshal. Don't miss out on one of the best historical novels I've read in a very long time. It just doesn't get better than this.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chadwick never fails to deliver! September 1, 2012
This is a prequel of sorts to The Greatest Knight, and is the story of John FitzGilbert, the father of William Marshal. The story takes place amidst the backdrop of England's civil war between Henry's daughter Matilda and her cousin Stephen who usurped her crown, as John tries to juggle his perilous position between the two rivals for the crown.

John's first marriage to Aline (the best he could make at the time in his position) does not fare well as she is weak of mind as well as spirit, and when he chooses to side with Matilda he makes a more advantageous marriage with Sybilla, who bears John several children including William. The characterization of John started from a cat that always lands on his feet to a loving husband and father, facing the most difficult decision of his life. The author did a marvelous job of bringing John, Aline and Sybilla to life, and most especially the young William. I was totally entranced at the way William was portrayed, from his exuberant first word to his innocent knowledge of the danger he was in whilst being held hostage by King Stephen.

While this is not a page turning, sit on the edge of your seat, action filled novel, I was thoroughly entertained throughout. As always with Chadwick's books, the way she brings the medieval period to life in such a graceful and effortless way, be it the sights, sounds, smells, food, clothes and battles is just awesome. As quoted on some of her book jackets, the next best thing to time travel. Five stars.

FTC disclosure: my copy purchased in 2007 from Amazon UK.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great prequel
I read this book before reading The Greatest Knight and was glad I did. It put in perspective what happens to John's son William in the next book.
Published 17 days ago by Diane L. Carter
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked this bookk
4.5 This book is about the parents of William Marshal and explains how he was "given away" to King Stephen at age 5, or 6. Read more
Published 18 days ago by keeptherepublic
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very good read.
Published 22 days ago by glenda timms
5.0 out of 5 stars a man for the world to admire
Ah William Marshal and Elizabeth Chadwick. An unbeatable combination for a great and fun ride. Knowing what was to happen in history to his son made it all the more enjoyable. Read more
Published 1 month ago by dellamayc
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book.
Interesting, easy reading. Keeps your attention and moves along nicely.
Published 1 month ago by Martyw
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
So glad that I stumbled upon Elizabeth Chadwich's novels.
Published 1 month ago by wanda dark
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
What a great book. The characters come alive. You cannot help but immerse yourself in the characters & events. I did not want the story to end. Read more
Published 3 months ago by denise perry
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read. Loved it.
Published 3 months ago by claudine joly
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Historical Novel
Terrific book!
Published 3 months ago by Robert B. Lorens
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A truly great read. I highly recommend this and all books by Elizabeth Chadwick.
Published 3 months ago by Jim
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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.

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