"The Scarlet Lion" is a great sequel to "The Greatest Knight" (although it can be read as a stand-alone novel). This book concentrates more the later events of William's life, especially his secure marriage to the lovely, Isabel de Clare, his commitment to doing the right thing, and his complicated and complex relationship with King John. Chadwick creates another winner here, as she brings the reader into the dangers and intrigues of 12th and 13th century England.
While Chadwick creates a dramatic atmosphere, she does not play hard and loose with the facts. She lays out the timeline of history, engages the characters in the definitive moments of the period, and enables the reader to understand the culture of a world long since disappeared.
For me, the most poignant and beautiful moments are between William and Isabel. Their love and commitment to one another holds their marriage together, even as others want to rip it apart. Isabel is a formidable woman, up to the challenge of ruling her household and William. She is his equal, his belle-ami, his sheltered harbour.
I was drawn to these characters. They took hold of my heart, and did not let go. At the end I wept for William, for Isabel, for their children. The Marshal was a great man in his time, and he remains one of the greats of history. He was a man of true heart who believed in a code of honour and duty, who he never deviated from his sense of right and wrong.