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The Greatest Knight: The Unsung Story of the Queen's Champion (William Marshal Book 2) by [Chadwick, Elizabeth]
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The Greatest Knight: The Unsung Story of the Queen's Champion (William Marshal Book 2) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 412 customer reviews
Book 2 of 4 in William Marshal (4 Book Series)
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Length: 562 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

William Marshal, the younger son of a wealthy family, shows early prowess with a sword and uncommon chivalry, which he puts to good use saving the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Afterward, she makes him arms tutor to her sons, the young princes. Marshal pledges his service to heir Henry and stays with the prince, out of loyalty to Eleanor, throughout Henry's turbulent manhood and rebellion against his father. When Henry dies, Marshal swears loyalty to Henry's brother Richard, putting him at odds with his own brother, who is loyal to Prince John. When Richard leaves on crusade and John conspires to take the crown, Marshal must decide between family and honor. A true historical hero, if little known, William Marshal served under some of England's most famous kings and proved himself again and again throughout the troubled 12th century; Chadwick's novel immerses readers in Marshal's life and times, which should prove intriguing to any fan of historical fiction. The royals, and especially Eleanor, are particularly fascinating characters whom Chadwick employs to great effect. (Sept.)
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"The Greatest Knight is a must-read for any lover of history and/or the medieval period. Ms. Chadwick's account drags you right in and sets you down on the dusty, dirt roads alongside her hero and his entourage." - The Long and Short of It Reviews

"THE GREATEST KNIGHT was amazing... This book seemed to have a little bit of everything -- suspense, deceit, love, wars, scandals." - Booking Mama

" I want to hand it to Elizabeth Chadwick... I found The Greatest Knight a rewarding read" - All About Romance

"This is an impeccably written historical fiction novel. The amount of research Chadwick must have put into it is incredible. " - S. Krishna's Books

"[V]ivid and interesting... " - Historical Tapestry

"The author clearly knows her subject matter and stayed true to it. Her skilled use of historical detail helped bring the world alive in my imagination without slowing the pace." - Genre Reviews

"The Greatest Knight is absolutely packed with the senses. Chadwick also is skilled at writing just the perfect amount of description and interspersing it with dialogue" - Bookfoolery and Babble

"What makes The Greatest Knight exceptional is the consistently pitch-perfect way in which its medieval characters think, feel and behave." -

"I really enjoyed reading the story of a man who tends to be a secondary character but absolutely deserves to have his story told... Everyone who has raved about Elizabeth Chadwick as an author of historical novels is right. " - Devourer of Books

"The Greatest Knight provides the kind of "real life" storytelling of times past for which all historical novels should strive. " - ForeWord

"Chadwick has done an amazing job of portraying the life of William Marshal." - Review From Here

"Fans of Jean Plaidy, Phillipa Gregory, Sharon Kay Penman will enjoy Elizabeth Chadwick's books. Her historical facts are well researched and her writing draws you into the story. Once you start reading you can't put it down." - Hollywood Today

"Luckily for all of us, we have an author like Elizabeth Chadwick to raise [William Marshall] back up out of obscurity and give him a dignified place of honor in history!" - Booklust

Product Details

  • File Size: 2859 KB
  • Print Length: 562 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; Reprint edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Publication Date: September 1, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003M69P96
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,657 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you're a medieval buff - and especially if you've read up on early Plantagenet history - you know William Marshal. But if you haven't, you should know what you've missed. And there's no better way to start learning than with this book.

I'm a Plantagenet enthusiast, and a tremendous Marshal fan. Since THE GREATEST KNIGHT has yet to be released here, I splurged several months ago on transatlantic shipping and bought it from the UK. I'm so very, very glad I did. Elizabeth Chadwick, an author I've long admired for her way with a medieval tale, has gone herself one better. She has taken the known facts of Marshal's life, done a little reading between the lines of recorded history, and rendered a portrait of the man that shimmers with life.

William Marshal led a charmed life to some extent. His first appearance in the historical record is when he is about 5 years old. His father has given him as a hostage to King Stephen, as a sort of human insurance policy against the elder Marshal's disobeying the king. But when William's father defies the king anyway, Stephen hasn't the heart to hang the boy. A few years later, William finds himself in the right place at the right time to save the queen of England from being taken prisoner by enemies. He's injured and taken prisoner himself in the process, however, and when Queen Eleanor ransoms him, it's not without expectations of repayment: She wants the gallant young knight to enter service with her family - arguably the most powerful people in western Europe.

Thus begins a long and profitable - but also perilous - association. The Queen, her sons, and even her estranged husband, King Henry, value William highly as a fighter, an adviser, and an instructor in the chivalrous arts.
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Format: Hardcover
Elizabeth Chadwick has done it again! With The Greatest Knight, she has solidified her position as one of the best historical fiction authors writing today. I was eagerly awaiting this novel, and I'm delighted to say I was not disappointed in any way.

This is the story of William Marshal, an humble knight in the 12th century, who through his integrity and loyalty, rose to become one of the most trusted men of his time. Set against the backdrop of the turbulent relationships between Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry II, and their sons, Marshal's story takes us on a brilliant ride of jousting tourneys, court intrigue, and yes, even romance. The fact that this novel is based on Chadwick's impeccable research makes it all the more stunning and entirely believable. The motivations for the characters are real and unembellished; Marshal is seen as a flesh-and-blood man who must make difficult choices in trying to follow his conscience. Chadwick fills in the blanks of his life with details that make his story come alive. His romance with Isabelle, an heiress twenty years his junior, is sweet and compelling; it's a match with many contemporary overtones even though it's completely true. Chadwick makes us understand William's conflicts and his triumphs. While there is a romance, this is truly historical fiction and it is absolutely wonderful---a story you can lose yourself in and emerge from with a sigh of regret at leaving this world behind. Part two is highly anticipated!

Highly, highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
Elizabeth Chadwick's 'The Greatest Knight' chronicles the life of William Marshall, the Medieval soldier and statesman who was described as "the greatest knight that ever lived".

Chadwick takes us from Marshall's boyhood through his service to three kings; King Henry II, Henry the Young King and King Richard. Marshall is loyal and true to those he pledges his fealty even in the face of near certain peril.

I found the history interesting but Chadwick failed to bring these characters to life for me. I admired William Marshall but I felt like he was somewhat flat and one dimensional, he was always good and true and nearly perfect. I enjoyed the characterization of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her faithful friendship with Marshall. Chadwick portrays Marshall best engaged in relationships with the women in his life. The beginning of this story seems rather dull until he meets his wife (which isn't until page 328). But she too seemed just a little too perfect to be real.

I thought Marshall's brother John was the more interesting character. He had flaws, shortcomings and regrets, which made him much more realistic. I also thought their relationship was interesting and could have been examined more closely and threaded throughout the story to give it greater tension.
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Format: Hardcover
THE GREATEST KNIGHT is without question Elizabeth Chadwick's finest novel. What is most noticeable about Chadwick's latest is the subtle escalation of her writing talents which are only enhanced by her usual flair for meticulous research and that escalation can be felt in the story's atmosphere and dialogue.

Marshal was a common man who rose beyond his station, a man who defines the word, 'knight'. Teeming alongside the landscape of the spirited Eleanor & Henry II and their delicously diverse but in no way one dimensional sons, the historical William Marshal was a complex, captivating individual and he loses none of these qualities in the capable Chadwick's hands.

The action is fully-fleshed out, the relationship and persona of his wife Isobel de Clare brings a sensation of genuineness and sincerity. I thoroughly enjoyed the blossoming of this relationship, from strangers, to friendship, to lovers.

Yet, scandals, intrigue, deceit, and a masterful game of chess where people's lives are at stake are marvelously handled with precision, care and the perfectly chosen words.

I eagerly look forward to the next installment in Marshal's adventures.
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