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Customer Review

What a nice historical novel! This is the story of William Marshal, The Earl of Pembroke in his full maturity. An earlier novel looks at his life before and this culminates the two volume set.

The first time we see him, he is a fierce warrior, leading his men up a ladder as part of a siege. He serves King Richard--and serves him well. This rich novel traces the life of William and his wife, Isabelle, from his maturity until the end of their days together. The key characters are developed nicely. I had a sense that I "knew" some of those characters. The key figures, too, are not just cardboard individuals. Life is given to them in the author's words. William and Isabelle and their children who play important roles in the book are well formulated. So, too, are other players in the dramas--including King John.

In the process, we see the burgeoning of their line (Isabelle, to be it mildly is quite fertile). The challenges facing them, including King John's machinations, keep this novel moving forward. For instance, John, to keep William under some degree of control, essentially makes his two eldest sons hostage. This adds poignancy. It also creates tensions between William and Isabelle, who prefers that he take action against John.

Do you like historical fiction? You'll probably enjoy this then. Quite a fine read!
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