The Greatest Knight (William Marshal, #2)
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The Greatest Knight (William Marshal #2)

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  4,376 ratings  ·  508 reviews
A penniless young knight, William Marshal is plucked from obscurity when he saves the life of Henry II's formidable queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. In gratitude, she appoints him tutor in arms to her son. However, being a royal favorite brings its share of conflict and envy. Besmirched by his enemies, banished from court, William seeks redemption in pilgrimages across Europe...more
ebook, 440 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published November 3rd 2005)
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I am not usually into medieval fiction, or historical fiction much at all, but this was really good! That is one thing I love about GoodReads; I find new and wonderful books that I would never have picked for myself.

This story is based on the life of a forgotten hero, William Marshal, the knight selected by Eleanor of Acquitaine to train her sons in horsemanship and chivalry. While Eleanor's sons might not have turned out that great, it wasn't any fault of William Marshal's. He was amazing! Mos...more
A nice romance/historical fiction about the legendary knight-errant who served Eleanor of Aquitaine and her sons, including Richard the Lionheart and the infamous King John. I felt immersed in medieval Europe and was always reluctant to put the book down. The details on tournament play were particularly interesting.

One thing I felt was lacking was an exploration of Marshal's childhood and adolescence, since I was curious about the impact of his father's abandonment. The book begins when Marshal...more
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead
I started this in the evening and never stopped reading. Chadwick's writing is like a history peep show and I love it. Ok, so William Marshal is larger than life, basically a saint and annoyingly ethical in a sea of scumbags, but I still love him. I seem to have a thing for these men in history that are nice guys but still can kick your ass!
This book has everything that I might wish for in a 600 page long historic novel. A hero who makes his way in the world by using chance and opportunity, an enigmatic Queen, a King who's been the first Plantagenet on the throne and a lot of historical conflict at the core of the narrative.
What I didn't find however, was a good book which I think is extremely sad because all the requirements for a great read where there.

The minor thing that bothered me was language. Chadwick certainly can write,...more
Elizabeth Chadwick really outdid herself with this novel about William Marshal, son of the infamous John Marshal, the man behind the “the hammer and anvil” speech. When William was 6 years old his father pledged him as a hostage to King Stephen during a siege. When his father turned sides and broke his word, William’s death was a foregone conclusion. Fortunately for William, King Stephen had no intention of murdering a child and he was spared.

Marshal is penniless and with no land to call his ow...more
Chadwick just keeps getting better and better! This was a wonderful story and much different from Chadwick's previous books, but is to be somewhat expected as Marshal's early life was one of duty to his lord(s) and not leaving much room for romance.

A fascinating look at a true, honorable and loyal man, who in the end was well rewarded for his loyalty by marriage to a wealthy heiress who became his life's soul mate. Much of the book is involved with the treachery and intrigue of the Plantagenet...more
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 m...more
I owe Chadwick an apolgy. I've been aware of her for a while, mostly though GRFs but I have been somewhat wary of picking up her books. This is not due to distrust on the part of my GRFs reviews, but more with knowledge that my tolerance of romantic fiction is, currently, very, very, very, very low. And some of the covers of Chadwick's books look a bit too romancy I'm the same way with Urban Fantasy. You know what's it like, you've been burnt by false book advertising before, and you know you're...more
Martin Lake
Perfect knight, consummate politician or both

This novel tells the story of William Marshal who was one of the greatest English knights of the twelfth century, or arguably, any century. He was also astute politically and this story shows how he was able to loyally serve King Henry II and two of his sons who were engaged in an almost feral conflict with each other. In this maelstrom of passion and family feud Marshal was the great survivor.

Chadwick weaves a marvellous story which made the era com...more
The Greatest Knight is quite simply, one of the best historical fiction novels that I have read in quite awhile. This novel is the story of William Marshal, perhaps the greatest knight of the middle ages. The story is set mostly during the reign of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine during the 12th century. I have always found this to be a fascinating period of history, and it was wonderful to learn about a compelling new (to me) character during this part of history.

William Marshal is...more
Jan 02, 2012 Shelli rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Shelli by: Kerri
What a fantastic way to start out the new year with a 5 star read. This was filled with wonderful historical information mixed in with an exciting and immensely readable story. Part action, part love story there was never a dull moment for me. A fitting title as I fell in love with the main character William Marshal. What surprised me about the book is I also had great admiration for two of the lead female characters, Eleanor of Acquitaine and Isabelle de Clare, this doesn't usually happen for m...more
The Greatest Knight is the first part of a tale about William Marshall. He begins his life as a lowly hearth knight scrabbling his way up the social hierarchy of the medieval period.

“A penniless young knight with few prospects, William Marshal is plucked from obscurity when he saves the life of Henry II's formidable queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. In gratitude, she appoints him tutor to the heir to the throne, the volatile and fickle Prince Henry. But being a royal favorite brings its share of dan...more
Tara Chevrestt
Most all of my reading friends have read this book and declared their undying love for William Marshall, the greatest knight. 25 percent into this book, I said, "Hm. This is really well written. Love the Eleanor tidbits, but I'm not in love with this William dude."

50 percent into the book, I said, "I have no interested in all these Henrys and Johns fighting over the crown, but Chadwick is making this interesting. This is a darn good book, but I'm still not in love with William. Everything he do...more
I love English monarchial history through Queen Elizabeth, and the Lion in Winter is one of my favorite movies, so any chance to learn more about the people and times of Henry II and Eleanor of Acquitaine is welcomed. Though one always has to be careful with historical fiction, or fictionized history, this story helps to flesh out the events prior to and after the events of The Lion in Winter. Henry II's son, Henry, who is already dead by the time of the movie, is a fully realized character here...more
Beguiling characters, stunning historical detail within a captivating narrative makes this impressive read outstanding!

I am a huge fan and keen reader of works by Elizabeth Chadwick, for her impressive collection of Medieval novels stand-out above all other historical literature. It is the author’s attention to detail that makes her work so beautifully atmospheric, as past ages are brought boldly to life with much fervent intensity and color. This stunning novel cleverly combines both fact and...more
June Louise
This is an action-packed medieval saga featuring the little known hero, William Marshall, who is every fair damsel's idea of a "knight in shining armour". Under the reign of King Henry II, family loyalties are tested - never more so when first of all there is a jostling for power between Old King Henry (Henry II) and his son Young King Henry (who was never actually monarch in his own right, and therefore was not given the title Henry III); and then between Henry II's other sons Richard I (Richar...more
I first encountered William Marshal in Maurice Keen's Chivalry when I was doing research for my dissertation. I was intrigued by the thought that a real knight existed who was the epitome of chivalry. But I was too busy then to read any further about him. Our paths did cross, most recently when I visited Chepstow Castle this summer and the Temple this past March, and I'd register recognition and move on.

I discovered Elizabeth Chadwick through a discussion of another excellent historical novel, T...more
Ana T.
Elizabeth Chadwick is one of my favourite authors. I've read quite a few of her books so far and I have really enjoyed them all with one or two being special favourites. I was very enthusiastic when I found out she was going to write a book about William Marshal which I had already found in some books as a secondary character and was curious about.

The Greatest Knight is a biography; it tells the story from when a young William is sent as a hostage to his king and it ends when he is already well...more
This novel tells the story of William Marshall. Not surprisingly (for those familiar with Marshall's story), it begins with a flashback of 5 year old William as a hostage of King Stephen during the war between Steven and the Empress Matilda. Stephen magnanimously (or foolishly?) decides to spare William's life, despite telling his father that William would be executed for failure to keep faith. William's father notoriously replies that he has the hammer and anvils to fashion more sons. Under tha...more
Holly Weiss
Finally, an author pays tribute to this little-known English knight. William Marshall, who served Eleanor of Aquitaine and her son, the young King Henry, earned his place in history. I admired his loyalty, integrity and intelligence. He found love later in life because of his many duties to the court. The Greatest Knight is an impeccably written book.

From the Goodreads synposis - "She (Elizabeth Chadwich) appeals to readers who are looking for historical accuracy and strong, believable character...more
Carole Rae
I have officially joined the club that LOVES this book! Elizabeth Chadwick must have written this book with magic, because you become addicted to it. You can't put it down. I'll admit that I never heard of William Marshal....but she opened my eyes to this wonderful man. All I can say is: just read this book. You won't regret it.
Jody A
Sep 05, 2007 Jody A rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Maudeen
Excellent fictional biography of this great Knight. Having read Couch's biography, Ms Chadwick has given life to this great hero of the medieval period, savoring the best highlight of a his full and fruitfull life. Ms Chadwick should be commended for her excellent skill in giving breath to his story but still keeping the history intact.
Loved it! Extremely well written by author who really is an artist with words.The characters were interesting and had some depth to them.This is a terrific biographical fiction that fans of the era will enjoy as William served loyally and bravely to his king.
I loved the idea of a novel dedicated to William Marshall. He rose from being the 4th son of a landholder, to a man of wealth and stature, serving 3 of Englands kings in the process. He was present at a number of critical moments in English history, and is mentioned in many original sources, so there was a lot of historical fact to bring up in this novel.

Unfortunately, I think the facts got in the way of the story for this novel. Chadwick does cover a lot of history, but Marshall as a person see...more
Jan 09, 2009 Sheree rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sheree by: Alaine
Another favourite read for 2008
In this rich tapestry of medieval life Chadwick chronicles the life of William Marshal 'one of Englands's greatest forgotten heroes' from humble origins through his service to 4 kings & finally as Regent of England. Marshal is loyal to those he pledges his fealty even in the face of death, a rare commodity in an age where many men switched allegiance to suit themselves. He was well known and loved as a chivalrous knight & for his success on the tourney circ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Mar 07, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Medieval Historical Fiction Who Just Can't Get Enough...
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
This is a biographic novel of William Marshall, one of the great knights of England, a man who served four English Kings, including Richard the Lionhearted, who was involved with the Magna Carta and served as regent to Henry III. So, a fascinating figure, but I'm afraid a less than fascinating book.

The problem may be that the book tried to cover too much ground--despite being over 500 pages and covering only about half his life. Years would pass between chapters that seemed to skim over Marshal...more
I really loved that Chadwick took a lesser known historical figure who obviously made a significant impact on English history and gave us his story thus telling the story of his contemporaries from another perspective. William Marshall seemed to never fail to do the right thing for the right reasons, but in doing so he never came across as a goody goody. He came across as the epitome of "the greatest knight" in battle, in diplomacy, in tournaments, in friendships, in courtliness and in love.

Historical fiction can be iffy with me -- if I know of the time period in any detail I usually have difficulties in enjoying it, because I'm always nitpicking. I know I shouldn't but it is so hard, especially when Philippa Gregory blatantly changes the birth order of the Boleyn siblings, or other authors Mary Sue their protagonists (Pink Carnation, I am looking at you).

I picked this up because everytime I went to Borders my eye kept hitting it. And I only knew of William Marshal as that guy in...more
His father gambled on King Stephen’s leniency when he broke his vow after giving William to him as hostage and correctly as Stephen was unable to hang the lad. While his canny father John Marshall lived a life of expediency, William took an alternate route as Elizabeth Chadwick explains in her book The Greatest Knight: The Unsung Story of the Queen's Champion, which chronicles the time he served for the Young King Henry and Richard the Lionheart. William was a knight true to his vows and his int...more
An excellent historic read with an emphasis on character development. The period details all feel real and as a reader it is clear why Elizabeth Chadwick is considered to have some of the most well-researched writings about the medieval period. This book is based on a real character whom many scholars do consider the "Greatest Knight", having risen from relative obscurity to serve not one, but four Kings in positions of great trust. She gives enough detail in the battles and political maneuverin...more
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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...
The Scarlet Lion (William Marshal, #3) Lady of the English To Defy a King (William Marshal, #5) A Place Beyond Courage (William Marshal, #1) Shadows and Strongholds

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“Your enemies have neither the proof nor the backbone to stand against you, but say something often enough in vulnerable ears and incredulity turns to belief.” 20 likes
“Fight for your lord, fight for his honour, but never forget that you were fighting for yourself too.” 3 likes
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