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To Defy A King (William Marshal #5)

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,759 Ratings  ·  258 Reviews
"The best writer of medieval fiction." -Historical Novels Review
ebook, 431 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published May 6th 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tara Chevrestt
If you are looking to immerse yourself in medieval England, look no farther than this novel. Not only will you feel as tho you are really in the story, but you will gasp in shock, smile, chuckle here and there, and at one point, shed a tear or two. On top of all that, you will also learn about King John's reign and the rebellions that ensued throughout.

To read full review:
I appreciate that the author stayed true to history and did her research, however, I felt like I was always waiting for action. While there is plenty of conflict throughout this book, it always seemed like too docile and true action seemed to be avoided. There were too few moments of excitement which, in a book that includes war, was a bit disappointing. Everything was described well enough to be envisioned, but I never truly felt like it came to life for me. I felt no connection with Mahelt and ...more
Rio (Lynne)
Jun 23, 2011 Rio (Lynne) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another amazing spirited emotional read from Elizabeth Chadwick. This is a great follow up to The Scarlet Lion. This time Chadwick takes us on the journey of Mahelt Marshal (William's strong willed daughter.) If you have not read The Scarlet Lion that is OK. This is a stand alone book. If you love History and have not read Chadwick, you are missing out!
May 01, 2010 Misfit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mar 23, 2011 Angelc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: already-own-read
Once again, Elizabeth Chadwick perfectly blends together a well-researched historical saga with a tender, caring romance. Her characters are well-drafted and I love the glimpses at daily medieval life alongside the sweeping major battles.

For having an arranged marriage, I'd say Mahelt got extremely lucky! You couldn't ask for a better husband than Hugh. Strong, jaw-droppingly handsome, a great father, and always fighting for what's right-those are just a few of his qualities. Hugh never tried to
May 20, 2010 Moppet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To Defy A King tells the story of Mahelt Marshal, favourite daughter of the powerful William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke. At fourteen Mahelt is married to Hugh, eldest son of Roger and Ida Bigod. Hugh’s half-brother is William of Salisbury (known as William Longespee), and his half-brother is King John. The book is all about divided loyalties: Hugh and Longespee have an uneasy relationship and Mahelt finds herself caught between the family she was born into and the one she married into. As the cou ...more
Deb B.
Feb 14, 2015 Deb B. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2011
Reading a Chadwick book is a dangerous proposition if one has any time-sensitive responsibilities -- because the reader just cannot help getting lost somewhere in the Middle Ages. In To Defy a King, Chadwick transports us to King John's reign, focusing on Mahelt, the beloved daughter of the renowned William Marshal (with whom we fell in love in The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion).

We first meet her in 1204 as a 10-year-old loudly protesting the unfairness of not being able to play a knight
I've previously read 'The Champion', 'The Greatest Knight' and 'The Falcons of Montabard' by Elizabeth Chadwick. I was looking forward to reading Chadwick's newest novel 'To Defy a King' and was thrilled to have won an advance copy from the publishers here through GoodReads' First Reads, thank you Sourcebooks.

Set in England in from 1204 to 1218 Chadwick shows the reader England's conflicts with France, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and the Roman Church as well as the internal conflicts between King
Apr 05, 2012 Alice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding book. The two main characters, Hugh and Mahelt, are so well written you do not realize how young they are. She tells their story beautifully as you watch them grow into adulthood and raise a family of their own. Chadwick so subtlly writes about King Johns evil deeds you do not realize how awful he was as a king. Highly recommend this book.
Blodeuedd Finland

My thoughts:

Another great book by Chadwick. It's a fascinating era with a cruel king, and the daily struggle to survive the political turmoil.

This is the story of Mahelt Marshal and Hugh Bigod, who married because of an alliance. Her father is not always King John's favourite person, and her brothers are taken to become his hostages, while the rest of the family goes to Ireland. King John tries to keep his country together, but he takes out more taxes, and tries to seduce his noble's wives. All
Thoughts so far, as I'm reading, is that there isn't too much "history" in this historical fiction. For the most part there has only been character development, which I'm assuming will trail off. And while the characters are interesting, there has been essentially 150 pages of build-up.

Other notes - because I'm reading a pre-sale book - there are some typos. For example, every possessive "s" has a quote after it instead of an apostrophe, like "knights" fee" instead of "knights' fee". Also, I fou
Kathleen Kelly
Mar 12, 2011 Kathleen Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
Mahelt Marshal, Countess of Norfolk, Countess of Surrey was an Anglo-Norman noblewoman, and she was the eldest daughter of William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, and mother Isabel de Clare 4th Countess of Pembroke. This story takes place in the 12th - 13th century. Mahelt married Hugh Bigod, but the marriage was not consumated due to her age. Mahelt and Hugh became true man and wife after she reached the age that her father and father in law had agreed upon. I loved how the marriage of Mahelt an ...more
After reading four of Elizabeth Chadwick’s books I don’t think that there is anything she can do wrong in writing this genre. The characters are wonderful – fleshed out, individual, not stereotypical and graceful. The blend of action scenes and emotional scenes are well balanced. You come away from each of these books wanting more!

To Defy a King is no exception to the above. Even though most of the characters and many of the major events have been present in some way in several of her other book
Ashley Ludwig
Jun 15, 2011 Ashley Ludwig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I plowed through this one. Having borrowed it from the Library, I had a reason to finish this 500+ page book in 2 weeks, and boy, did I cut it down to the wire!

Mayhelt Marshal is an amazing leading lady, starting at age 12 as a scrappy sister of two older brothers, she is quickly betrothed (in this time, it means she will be wife at a later date). Her father, William Marshal, dotes on his eldest daughter, and keeps her close until unruly King John forces the match early, at the tender age of 14.
Sherry H
I won this book in a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway. Thank you very much.

I have several Elizabeth Chadwick books in my "to read" list, but haven't started them. I thought I should read them in order, beginning with "The Greatest Knight", but I can never find that one at the library or at my local used book store. When I read the description for "To Defy a King", I thought it was a stand-alone, not part of a continuing story. So my bad, I have now started reading the series out of order. The good
Mar 13, 2011 Terra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Chadwick has done it again with another outstanding piece of literature that will be a must have keeper for anyone who loves the artful writing of a true historical novelist.

This book is an extension of the William Marshall fame but that of his eldest daughter who was the apple of his eye and the seed that didn't fall far from the tree so to speak. A dutiful daughter who is not only beautiful, elegant and refined but also spirited and headstrong.

Mahelt Marshall is a rare character for
Megan Lavey-Heaton
This book dropped in price on Amazon, and the thread carried a lot of recommendations. All of them were worth it, as I stayed up until 7 a.m. devouring the book. I greatly enjoyed the fictionalized version of the life of Mahelt Marshal, daughter of the infamous William, and her first husband, Hugh. I had not read all that much into the lives of the Marshals before, therefore I was dismayed - but not surprised - to read the afterword of the book and find that Hugh only survived a few years beyond ...more
Mar 31, 2011 Staci rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Staci by: Sourcebooks
Shelves: 2011-reads
My Thoughts:

This is why I read historical fiction! When it's done right it can be some of the best reading I experience. Chadwick took me inside this time period and I connected with Mahelt and Hugo. Even though this is a chunkster I blew through the pages in no time. I walked away wishing King John a much harsher death than what he faced, what a truly evil and twisted man. Mahelt was such a strong female character and I absolutely enjoyed how Chadwich portrayed her marriage to Hugo. I loved the
Mar 19, 2011 Teddy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical Fiction Lovers
Shelves: read-in-2011
Last week I was transported to 13th century England. I traveled on horseback all over England and beyond. I lived with some very prominent families, the Marshals and the Bigods.

I was witness to the betrothal and marriage of Mahelt Marshal and Hugh Bigod. Poor Mahelt, she was so young when she had to leave her parents and move in with the Bigods, too young for her marriage to even be consumated. However, her father, William Marshal knew it would be the best protection for her as he had fallen ou
Apr 26, 2015 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I may be a Bigod by marriage, but I am all Marshal by blood and you will know it before I am done."

" To Defy a King" is the story of Mahelt Marshal and her husband Hugh Bigod, living during the turbulent years of King John's reign in 12th century England. Chadwick produces a rich historical narrative and presents readers with a female protagonist who is not content to let history just pass her by. Mahelt is impulsive, quick-tempered, and independent very much in alignment with other historica
Rebecca Huston
Elizabeth Chadwick's release for 2010 is a knockout. She continues her saga of the Marshal family in 11th and 12th century England, with the story about Mahelt, William and Isabel Marshal's eldest daughter. Her life may have been stormy, and she has never made a secret of her contempt for King John, and what a wild ride this is. What's best of all is that Mahelt and her family actually lived, which gives this story a fresh punch and a relief from so much of the bad historical fiction out there. ...more
It’s 1204 and King John, brother to Richard the Lionheart, is on the throne and holds two boys captive (and anyone who has ever seen any Robin Hood film knows what a pill King John is). Eleven year old Mahelt Marshall–the eldest daughter of the great knight William Marshall and sister to the captives–is pushed into an advantageous, arranged marriage with twenty-one year old Hugh Bigod. After remaining with her family for three more years, they are married and in 1209, she gives birth to her firs ...more
A bit predictable, but enjoyable enough. I liked the focus on the female characters in relation to power.
The story is of Mahelt Marshall (daughter of William Marshall) and Hugh Bigod, 2nd Earl of Norfolk. The scenes and characters are so spell-binding that I was glued to this book from beginning to end. One hates to finish a book this good because there's always the aftermath of wondering what to do with oneself once the last page is turned. It's hard to pull out of that world and identify yourself as actually being in the present. Ms. Chadwick's world of medieval-historical-romance is truly writte ...more
Jul 03, 2014 Subowal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Magna Carta signed by King John of England in 1215 is often presented as a watershed event in the evolution of the British democracy. Through this charter the King accepted limits on his power vis-a-vis his barons. What were the circumstances that led to this event? What were the problems that made the barons come together and force their King to sign this charter?

This book presents the events of this turbulent period from the perspective of a young couple - Hugh Bigod, the future Earl of No
May 26, 2011 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a big William marshal fan and have enjoyed the other two books in the series about him. This is a nice complement to the other books. However, I think Chadwick could have done a better job incorporating the issues around the magna cart a. All and all a fun easy read that is perfect for summertime'slazy poolside reading. I would recommend starting with the marshal books first as they are truly excellent. I also look forward to chadwicks books on Eleanor which should be coming soon!
Lorin Cary
Subtittle is William Marshal Book 5. I've not read the other books in this series, but found this novel quite engaging. The focus is not on William Marshal;that goes to his young daughter Mahelt. She is setup to marry the son of another noble family to ensure stable alliances in an era when King John (1166-1216)rules with an erratic and heavy hand. In the end the barons rebelled and forced upon him a peace treaty that became known as the Magna Carta. The controversies and plots take second stage ...more
Alison Jeffreys
I have read and thoroughly enjoyed all of Elizabeth Chadwick's books about the Marshal family, beginning with William's father John Marshal (A Place Beyond Courage) and then William himself (The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion). This appears to be the last of the books and whilst it is equally as well written and researched as all her others, I felt it did rather repeat a lot of what happened in the last of the William Marshal books, but it is told from the point of view of his daughter, Mahel ...more
I really think that Elizabeth Chadwick's talent for bringing historical figures and events to life is amazing. I absolutely loved The Greatest Knight, it was my first experience with Chadwick's work and she hasn't let me down since. To Defy a King was particularly interesting to me, as it described the road to the Magna Carta and illustrated all the reasons why one person should never be in power without checks and balances.
Apr 23, 2011 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had trouble "getting into" this book. I loved the history behind the story. The factual details truly added to the story. To me, the story line seemed a bit choppy; not flowing smoothly. At points, I felt like I was reading a text book. The story would start to flow but then stop and jump months ahead. I'm glad I was able to have the opportunity to read this book. Hugh and Mahelt are characters I won't soon forget.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 25, 2015 08:20AM  
  • I Am the Chosen King (The Saxon Series #2)
  • Hugh and Bess: A Love Story
  • Devil's Brood  (Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine, #3)
  • To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • The Battle of the Queens (Plantagenet Saga, #5)
  • Within the Hollow Crown: A Reluctant King, a Desperate Nation, and the Most Misunderstood Reign in History
  • Crown of Destiny
  • The People's Queen
  • The Crown in the Heather (The Bruce Trilogy, #1)
  • I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince
  • The Brothers of Gwynedd (Brothers of Gwynedd #1-4)
  • Daughter of York
Best selling historical novelist Elizabeth Chadwick won a Betty Trask Award for her first novel The Wild Hunt. She has been shortlisted for the UK's mainstream Best Romantic Novel of the Year Award 4 times and longlisted twice. Her novel The Scarlet Lion about the great William Marshal and his wife Isabelle de Clare, has been selected by Richard Lee, founder of the Historical Novel Society as one ...more
More about Elizabeth Chadwick...

Other Books in the Series

William Marshal (5 books)
  • A Place Beyond Courage (William Marshal, #1)
  • The Greatest Knight (William Marshal, #2)
  • The Scarlet Lion (William Marshal, #3)
  • The Time of Singing (William Marshal #4) (Bigod #1)

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