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Shadows and Strongholds

(FitzWarin #1)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  2,836 ratings  ·  216 reviews
A medieval tale of pride and strife, of coming-of-age in a world where chivalry is a luxury seldom afforded, especially by men of power.

England, 1148---ten-year-old Brunin FitzWarin is an awkward misfit in his own family. A quiet child, he is tormented by his brothers and loathed by his powerful and autocratic grandmother. In an attempt to encourage Brunin's development, h
Hardcover, 568 pages
Published November 29th 2005 by St. Martin's Press (first published July 2004)
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Susan Altick Fourteen year-olds should be encouraged to read anything and everything!
Count yourself lucky that your teenage boy is a reader and give him books that…more
Fourteen year-olds should be encouraged to read anything and everything!
Count yourself lucky that your teenage boy is a reader and give him books that will keep him reading.....'appropriate' in your eyes or not! (less)

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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  2,836 ratings  ·  216 reviews

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Shadows and Strongholds is not The Greatest Knight, nor its hero as charismatic, but it is a delightful coming of age story during the end part of the Stephen/Matilda conflict through to the early years of Henry II’s reign. Nevertheless, Fulke "Brunin" Fitzwarin is honorable and brave. Brunin and Hawise began as childhood friends and grow up together with struggles and conspiracies that threaten their happiness.

If you enjoy reading a historical-fiction with a hearty dash of realism; if your tas
Elizabeth Chadwick is a master of a historical fiction (and historical romance). Her storytelling is wonderfully engaging. Her characters (all, even the episodic) are of flesh and blood, touchingly true. The story is moving. The historical background is well researched and perfectly described. Without boring melodrama, without unnecessary pomposity.

I know how it sounds, but really this book (as much as The Champion) is what should be call historical fiction and historical romance. The latter gen
Shadows and Strongholds was not only my first ever Elizabeth Chadwick read (I know, where have I been?!) but my first read of a twelfth century novel, and I LOVED it.

Elizabeth Chadwick's storytelling is second to none, and the era came alive on every page. I loved watching the characters of Brunin and Hawise grow and I experienced first hand the day to day challenges of twelfth century living.

It was amazing to experience a little of what life for women was like, and interesting to discover how s
Blodeuedd Finland
I do love Chadwick's books. There is just this feel to them. They even make me want to live in that age. Even if I totally would have been dead by now.

This on is about Brunin FitzWarin, another character found in the mists of time. He was sent away for fostering, grew up and married the daughter of the house. But the story has more to tell than that. There is the shaky ground his family sits on regarding their lands. And the same thing is true about the de Dinan family. There is always someone e
A wonderful coming of age story. This book is the story of Fulke "Brunin" Fitzwarin, taking him from childhood to his manhood. As a young boy, Brunin withdraws into himself to avoid the pain from his domineering overbearing grandmother, and his father sends him to train as a squire to Joscelin de Dinan. As Brunin blossoms under Joscelin's care, he eventually becomes a strong young man and a knight to be reckoned with, and he learns to deal with the shadows of his youth and banish them forever. ...more
Oct 19, 2017 rated it liked it
The first Elizabeth Chadwick book I couldn’t get into. I was more interested in the side characters than the main character.
Cora Tea Party Princess
A fantastic performance which did justice to the book and characters.

I will absolutely listen to more narrated by Christopher Scott.
Krista Claudine Baetiong
Shadows and Strongholds was my very first Elizabeth Chadwick read and a precursor to my liking historical fiction so much. It gave me a glimpse of the lives of the remarkable heroes and heroines from several hundred years past that would have been eternally unknown to me if not for the author’s relentless passion to relive them through this book.

Yes, 5 stars for Brunin and Hawise!
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am as obsessed with this book on re-read as I was the first time. Can't wait to re-read book two in the duology. ...more
More of a love story and other relationships than a historical novel.
Jan 31, 2009 rated it liked it
This book was acutely lacking in magic. There wasn't a lot going on, not a lot of story, not a lot of character development, not a lot of anything really.
Chadwick's books are always a bit up and down. Never consistent.
There are authors that you can pick up any of their books and be guaranteed a consistent product. Chadwick is not that author...for me. She will be that author for some, but not for me. Sometimes her books are just so brilliant, and sometimes they are just so uninspiring. Shadows
This book is the story of Fulke "Brunin" Fitzwarin, taking him from childhood to his manhood. As a young boy, Brunin withdraws into himself to avoid the pain from his domineering overbearing grandmother, and his father sends him to train as a squire to Joscelin de Dinan. As Brunin blossoms under Joscelin's care, he eventually becomes a strong young man and a knight to be reckoned with, and he learns to deal with the shadows of his youth and banish them forever.

Brunin and Joselin's daughter Hawi
Jun 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fulke Le Brun is no William Marshal, but he is honorable, brave and intelligent. He's fortunate to be a first son and has the capacity to lead men in a wise manner, which his brothers recognized in him also. Loved this story and I'm eagerly reading it's second part in Lords of White Castle. Where Brunin's first born also named Fulke is leading his life. ...more
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was really well written and the historical aspect was very well done. I'm rating it 4.5 stars because while I love historical romances this one was more historical than romantic. That is my only complaint. I loved Brunin and Hawise and Sybilla and Joscelin. And the story was very well told. Am looking forward to reading more from this author! ...more
Nimue Brown
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the earliest Elizabeth Chadwick novel I’ve read, which makes it an interesting comparison with later works, especially those set in the same conflict. This one takes us from the end part of the Stephen / Matilda conflict in England through the early years of Henry the second’s reign. There’s a romance story, lots of action and fighting, lots of politics and power, tons of attention to detail. It’s a good read. It’s not as good as her later work (as you’d expect really). The characters ar ...more
Jun 28, 2014 rated it liked it
When I first looked at the back of this novel, I was filled with anticipation and looking forward to reading the novel.

However, I have to say I was disappointed. For me, I felt that Chadwick didn't have enough of a plot or character development throughout the novel and I did struggle to finish the book.

Despite this, I will give Chadwick credit for a book that has been researched to a high standard and tries to offer what life was like in the 12th century and also provide an perspective on what
3.5 stars
Jenny Langley
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. Just as good as Lords of the White Castle! Would highly recommend these two books 💫
Dec 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is part of the Read Along Challenge I'm doing with A. and A. I have already read Lords of The White of which this one is a prequel and I was eager to start this one.

A Mediaeval tale of pride and strife, of coming of age in a world where chivalry is a luxury seldom afforded, especially by men of power. An awkward misfit, loathed by his powerful and autocratic grandmother, nine-year-old Fulke FitzWarin leaves his family to be fostered in the household of Joscelin de Dinan, Lord of Ludlow
Abigail Yow
A lot of people would say that this book is the next best thing to time travel. I agree. The author is a masterful storyteller and is certainly gifted with words. She pulls you into the past with her evocative and crisp writing. So why the 3 stars, you say?

I didn't really like the time skip for instance. It felt disjointed and hindered the plot progression. At one point we see Brunin stripped to his braies to wash the sweat off him and the next scene skips ahead with Brunin dutifully serving win
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: series
Elizabeth Chadwick's novels are one of the reasons that I believe that historical fiction is a kick-ass genre! Her characters are multi-layered, tons of conflict abounds in the plot, and the reader gets a real feel for what the period of time in the novel was like. When I finished this book, I really felt as if I had said goodbye to people I had started to care for.

"Shadows and Strongholds" centers around 12th century England when Stephen and Matilda are fighting for the throne and describes th
May 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
So far, it reads like a fantasy book except without the magic! :)

Now that I've finished it, I think it's an enjoyable and quick read that actually taught me a lot about medieval customs and the origins of some of our habits, as well as telling a great story. It was well researched and I was pleased to learn it was actually based on historical events (insofar as they're known). After reading so many fantasy books based in quasi-medieval settings, it was interesting for me to learn more about actu
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of this book and just picked it up from the audiobook shelf at the library since it looked interesting. I really liked it. The story is interesting and is based on real events and real people. It is set at the end of the civil war between the Empress Matilda and King Steven and the beginning of the reign of Henry II. It is mostly concerned with the dispute over Ludlow Castle between Joscelyn De Dinan and Gilbert de Lacey. The characters are very well portrayed and are very real ...more
eh, ok book. I wasn't that engaged in Brunin's story. The rich historical details were present and the descriptive's were as brilliantly created as ever, but I just wasn't into Brunin's struggles. I think he took too long to grow up - his relationship wasn't built on love or even lust, and he tended to have a queasy stomach all too much. I have no interest in reading the other book from this series. ...more
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love anything Elizabeth Chadwick puts her name on... she is one of my favorite writers of historical fiction!!! She has an amazing way of making history come to life by totally immersing the reader into the story with rich detail and feeling!!! This was not my favorite of hers... i only say that because I don't know that anything could top her William Marshall series in my eyes!!! Still a wonderful novel and a strong 4.5!!! ...more
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
This has been my favorite Chadwick novel to date. It is completely loaded with action and keeps your attention the entire way through. This is the perfect level for summer beach read for me - a little history, a little romance, great story.

I have to take some good-natured criticism from my husband for reading a "romance novel", but sometimes a good story is exactly what you need.
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was drawn in my the pretty cover (I know what they say, but I rarely listen), but I was not at all disappointed with what I ended up with. I loved the story and characters, and I breezed through this book pretty quickly. Twelfth century England is not the historical era I normally gravitate to, but I love Chadwick's writing style. I'll definitely be seeking out more of her work. ...more
Sibylla Matilde
Oct 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: love-love-love
Finished this book last night.... OMG.....OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG.... I am forcing myself to do my homework for the next 2 days, but then I am sooooooooooooo going to start The Lords of White Castle which is about Brunin and Hawise's oldest son.... OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG.... ...more
May 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really liked this novel. Parts of it reminded me of Pillars of the Earth (high praise indeed). An engaging coming of age story with romance, honor, betrayal, valor, all set in a rich historical backdrop that isn't often written about. ...more
The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears
How do I love thee, Elizabeth Chadwick? Let me count the books.

Only Elizabeth Chadwick could write a medieval coming of age tale that is just so wonderfully EPIC and yet filled with so much humanity. Even though Brunin and Hawise lived hundreds of years ago, their lives transcend time.
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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

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