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The Ill-Made Knight

(Chivalry #1)

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  1,760 ratings  ·  127 reviews
William Gold comes into the world as his family slides down the social ladder. His head filled with tales of chivalry, instead he is branded a thief, and must make do with being squire to his childhood friend Sir Robert, a knight determined to make a name for himself as a man at arms in France. While William himself slowly acquires the skills of knightly combat, he remains ...more
Hardcover, 457 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Orion
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Average rating 4.37  · 
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 ·  1,760 ratings  ·  127 reviews

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J.P. Ashman
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Why is there not a 6* option?

That's right, I liked - loved - this book *that* much!

I'm not a re-reader of book's, but I am sure I will read this again one day.

I have a lifelong interest in this period and have re-enacted close to this period before. Because of that - but not solely because of it - this book, this tale, ticks a whole lot of boxes for me, including historical accuracy and a huge chance to learn a lot more, as well as gritty realism in not only its combat and exploration of their l
This was (to date) the most enjoyable book I have read this year. Not the best, no, that is a title that belongs to another book by a different author, but it was the most enjoyable and to me there can be a difference between most enjoyable and 'the best'. I hope to expound on that as this review progresses.

The Ill-Made Knight is unique in that it blankets the world of knights and chivalry like none other that I have read. If any comes close, maybe it was Men of Iron by Howard Pyle, but then the
4.5 stars

Tell me what you want more than anything…
I want to be a great knight…
More than you want to live? More than you want to save your soul?

This was a very enjoyable book. Will Gold is a likeable, yet frustratingly flawed character, making his journey one that keeps you never knowing what he'll find himself involved in next. There were some powerful moments in this story for me, those times when Will struggles to align his actions and faith. He's frequently in opposition to w
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it

It seems like every other book that I read is by Christian/Miles Cameron. After finishing The Ill-Made Knight, the first in Cameron’s Chivalry(?) series, I am convinced that the man cannot write a bad book. He’s able to write medieval and ancient historical fiction as well as fantasy without really suffering from the sort of timidity that many writers do when trying to write in an unfamiliar genre. Granted, the change from medieval historical fiction to me
Mr. Matt
May 13, 2013 rated it liked it
William Gold's parents die in the first outbreak of plague. He and his sister find themselves under the thumb of their cruel uncle who sells off their estate and treats his niece and nephew as little more than slaves. When he finally fights back, he finds himself with no other choice than to go to France and join one of the King's mercenary companies. And so begins the story of William's rise from obscurity to knighthood.

The Ill-Made Knight is great for period immersion. I read historical ficti
(re-read, july 2017)
started re-reading the series as book 3 Green Count is out and so far finished the first volume and while I remembered pretty much everything, it's still been an engrossing, cannot put down, must turn the pages novel with all the stuff expected from the author (feeling of authenticity, irony, brutal, realistic image of life, war and "chivalry" in the middle ages and larger than life characters, not least the narrator)

(original publication 2013 review)
I have just finished "Th
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A damn good book! So glad to have found another great HF writer with enough published to keep me going for a while!
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
OMG this is brilliant!
a 14th century HF novel at its very best, and they don't come any better. I am a big fan of Bernard Cornwell and have read all of his grail series, azincourt and 1356, but Christian Cameron beats them all fair and square in this novel.
It's the tale about the career of William Gold (the first of the series) Starting off as the cook's boy and ending up as a knight. And it's all there... Poitiers 1356, the aftermath.. the jacques , paris 1357-59, the routiers, the free compa
Cameron never ceases to amaze me, great read!!!
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
5+ stars. Still my favorite historical fiction series. The characters, the world, the plot - it all grabs you and the immersion is unparalleled.

This book just kept gaining momentum for me. I would say the first 30% was a slower read, perhaps because I did not know where the character was going or progressing to. Once William begins to learn about chivalry and knighthood, the story really took off and was an incredible read. This book did so many things right. The dialogue and characters felt re
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.2 stars

The king of historical fiction has done it again with a highly enjoyable albeit gritty, grimey and overall brutal tale of William Gold and his journey as the books title set in the 1100's.

As per usual Cameron's library-esque knowledge of ancient world weaponry and tactics shines through and makes this a history lesson come to life and what a lesson it is.

I have already purchased a copy of the follow up, The Long Sword, and the 3rd installment is due mid this year.
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this stand-alone novel immensely, and I'm thrilled the author is planning more sequels featuring other periods of William Gold's life. This is a historical fiction novel, with the backdrop of the early part of the Hundred Years' War, so 14th-century Europe. The tale is compelling and entertaining, narrated in first-person by the protagonist in a recollection of his younger years and of how he came to be a knight.
Prompted by Jehan Froissart (the main French historian of the period), wh
David Stringer
This book was given and recommended to me from a family member and is the first book by Christian Cameron I have read. So what do we find, well this is a historical fiction book set in the Hundred Years' War between France and England, with our main character William Gold who I do start off quite liking, but later on start wondering if I do. The character build up is good, with the young Williams hard start to life described well and his turmoil's from there had me gripped and interested from th ...more
David Firmage
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star
I have loved my first dip into historical fiction. Reads like an old knight telling his tales by the fire in his favourite tavern.
Robert Nugent
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Imagine that when I finished reading this novel, I stood up in a huge audience hall with hundreds of other people, clapping until my hands literally fell off. That's how The Ill-Made Knight made me feel.

Let me preface by saying, I am a practitioner of medieval history. I research, study swordfighting manuscripts, recreate my own wardrobes and fighting kit of the eras, and so on. I came into this book (especially after numerous recommendations from my peers) with high expectations. Because oh-so
Adrian Ciuleanu
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I postponed reading The Ill-Made Knight for quite a while and I can only say that it was really a dumb thing to do because this book is just too great. The author, Christian Cameron, is a well-known historical fiction writer with several high rated series on record: the Tyrant and the Long War. Unlike those, this new series is not set in antiquity age, but instead in the dark ages. It is the story of William Gold, an english man-at-arms and mercenary on his path to become a great knight. The boo ...more
Paul Collard
Aug 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes a book surprises you. This is the first of Christian Cameron's books that I have read and I confess to not having high hopes when I started. I am not one for knights, squires, and lances, perhaps that's what too much exposure to Disney films does for a man, and although I have read historical fiction for the last thirty years, I had never heard of Christian Cameron.

Well, I was stunned. Simply put, I loved this book. Time I should have spent working on my own novels disappeared as I to
Apr 27, 2019 rated it liked it
The story, what there is, is basically a tour around France and down that way, in the 14th Century. When, as I've mentioned before, the days were filled with knights. William Gold is having a piss-up in a tavern, and, in the first of many similarities with Geoffrey Chaucer we encounter at various times in this book, he gets persuaded to tell his comrades a tale. Of his life.

The Ill-Made Knight revolves around Gold's early life, and his progression from basically being a street urchin who is hand
May 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Fascinating period in history, well told tale. I would have liked to have heard more about Hawkwood's double crossing of the Italian city states. Fox like cunning indeed. ...more
Clemens Schoonderwoert
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This fantastic book by Christian Cameron is the 1st Chivalrous exploits of the real Sir William Gold.
To start with, the book contains a very well documented glossary at the beginning, also there are three fine drawn maps of Poitiers itself, as well one drawing of Italy and France respectively, while at the end of the book you'll find a superb explained Historical Note.
Story-telling is of an absolute top-notch quality, for the author has certainly the ability to keep you spellbound from start to
Close to 4.5*. I really liked the gritty realities of the knight/mercenary life, and the unapologetic depiction of the war. These are not often good people. Although it could be frustrating, I ultimately liked how incompetent William could be without realizing it. Each time he took on a foe and got hammered when (for dramatic reasons) I might have expected him to win or at least get a hit in, I appreciated the author's choice to show realism for his untrained "knight." I also liked how the many ...more
Matt Heppe
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
More than anything in the world, William Gold wants to be a knight. However this is not an easy task when you are starting from the rank of cook boy (and convicted thief). Told from the first person, Ill-Made Knight is a wonderfully immersive, gripping novel.

Cameron makes history come alive without sounding like a lecture. The author is a historian and a reenactor, both of which contribute to the great feeling for the period you get when you read the novel. When you read the battle sequences it
William E.
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
My...third read? I’m a big fan of Cameron’s work and this is my favorite series of his. Highly recommend for any fans of historical fiction, especially medieval. Very much looking forward to the newest installment
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.

Another book that makes me wish that Goodreads had proper half-star ratings.
Things I liked:
A good mix of romanticized chivalry and grim reality.
Fast paced; there is almost always something interesting happening.

Things I didn't like:
There is no real driving force behind the main character besides sometimes reminding us that he wants to be a knight. Bernard Cornwell, for example, gives his main characters vile foils that are always hounding the character. This novel is just the main ch
Robin Carter
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing

In this book, this oh so wonderful book, Christian Cameron proves yet again no matter what era he writes in, he does it with style, skill and panache. For me he is the finest writer of historical fiction currently writing. As a writer he ticks every box, deep research, deep personal knowledge from his re-enactment, a deep abiding passion for the subject matter and for the world of writing, and a natural skill of the storyteller, a skald, a minstrel a chronicler a man who can lift his audi
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In this 14th century historical fiction, you get to discover a world of arms and love following an English boy on his way to knighthood.

If this sounds boring, think again. The author has a degree in medieval history and is probably as aware of the realities of this age as any 21st-century person can be. Chivalry here means nothing (yet everything), and the people of this age are as afraid of Hell as perhaps we would be of living in their uncivilized times.

Aside from historical authenticity, the
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you wish to read very heavy historical novel, this book is the perfect option. This is well researched, accurate and fascinating.

This is not a book pacted with epic action, there is nothing grand or fantastic. It is slow paced and it is a lifetime story. A fantastic and interesting story does not need an incredible hero. Common characters can make good stories too. We are far from good guys fighting bad guys with an epic boss in the end. It is a very linear story, there is no surprises or big
Anthony Riches
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'll keep this short. Buy this book and read it.

Christian Cameron, so brilliantly readable in his two Greek series, has nailed the nightmare that was France after Poitiers in a masterly fashion. Using the same 'old man by the fire' method that was so effective in the 'Long War' series, he tells the story of a boy growing up and fighting his way to greatness, and he does it damn well. Unlike some of my full time writer colleagues I'm no great literary reviewer (and I have a lot of work to do tod
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked the book. It felt longer then it actually was but not in a tedious way, the pacing was a bit slow at times but that is the way that these stories are usually written and it worked for this story as well. The battles and descriptions are quite brutal but again that's the way these things would have been and things that aren't described in textbooks that we all too often forget about or overlook. I liked the main character, he is blunt, practical enough if a bit too young, and he ca ...more
Stephanie Moore
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
**More of a 3.5 star book**

I gotta say that this appealed to my love of historical fiction, what with all of the characters based on real people and how William Gold traveled through his life. There were moments when I could picture the battle scenes like they were happening on a movie screen and I felt like I was right there with the characters at some points.

There was a crap ton of unnecessary violence that made me dislike the characters, but even with all of that, I really enjoyed William Gol
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Ancient & Medieva...: MARCH 2018: THE ILL-MADE KNIGHT by Christian Cameron 49 110 May 22, 2018 06:04AM  

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Aka Miles Cameron. Also publishes as Gordon Kent with his father Kenneth M. Cameron.

Christian Cameron was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1962. He grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts, Iowa City, Iowa,Christian Cameron and Rochester, New York, where he attended McQuaid Jesuit High School and later graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in history.

After the longest undergraduate

Other books in the series

Chivalry (6 books)
  • The Long Sword (Chivalry, #2)
  • The Green Count (Chivalry, #3)
  • Sword of Justice (Chivalry, #4)
  • Hawkwood's Sword (Chivalry, #5)
  • Captain of Venice (Chivalry, #6)

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