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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2007
I really wish I could give this novel more than 5 stars but if I did they would be as infinite as the stars in the sky! This novel is the sequel to THE GREATEST KNIGHT: THE STORY OF WILLIAM MARSHAL but is also an excellent stand-alone novel. However, I'd recommend reading it first to truly appreciate all the young man's life and accomplishments before his married life brings about more.

In this novel William and his wife Isabelle de Clare, Countess of Leinster and Striguil, have no more stability as Richard, The Lionheart, King of England suddenly dies of a battle wound. His younger brother John Lackland has been named his heir and their world and everyone in it that is connected to the royal family has their lives turned upside down. John is a vindictive and cruel king, especially to those who are most loyal to him. He strips William of lands but not before he has taken two of his sons hostage for his good behavior which William has always displayed time and time again.

King John trusts no one and creates havoc in his own kingdom. The barons are set to rebel against him thus bringing about the Magna Carta. Before any of this comes to pass the unthinkable happens threatening to throw the kingdom into chaos yet again. William and Isabelle are unshakable through all of this yet William is finally succumbing to old age.

I could barely make it through the last chapter of the book, 46. I literally had tears streaming down my face and had to remove my glasses more than once to clear my vision to continue. I truly believe this is Elizabeth Chadwick's best novel yet! This author never disappoints but this time she went above and beyond the call of duty! Thank you Susan for an incredible read, all other pale in comparison to your genius! Read this book, you'll be under her spell and will be compelled to read the rest of her books!

P.S. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE MAPS! I LOVED BEING ABLE TO LOCATE ALL OF THE PLACES MENTIONED IN THE STORY. Thank you too for the genealogy charts of the Kings of England and William Marshal's line. These additions made the story that much more enjoyable!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2007
William Marshal steps out of the pages of history and, larger than life, provides us with an insight into the times in which he lived. This novel opens in 1197 and depicts the turbulent times around the reigns of King Richard I and King John.

While following the life of William and his wife Isabelle, we are treated to a finely depicted view of the politics, intrigue and events of medieval England and Ireland. The novel is multi-faceted: it enables us to relate to William and Isabelle as two human beings who needed to balance their own needs and those of their family with the code of honour and political constraints of the day. At the same time, the known historical facts are woven into the story in a way that breathes life into history and will have many readers wanting to know more about the actual events depicted.

And while those readers are learning more about the history, I have been provided with another hero worthy of my admiration.

Brava, Ms Chadwick! Few authors have ever made medieval history as interesting to me as you have.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith


The Scarlet Lion is the second of two standalone novels about William Marshal. The Greatest Knight is the first.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2012
"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.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon February 17, 2011
Book 2 in the life of William Marshal

The first novel "The Greatest Knight" followed William Marshal through his early career and his rise to fortune and noble status. In this novel, we are drawn further into his amazing and inspiring life it also includes some details of his family and those who crossed his path.

Ms. Chadwick describes William Marshal as a dashing knight and a champion of tournaments, an easy-going and courteous man, and one who enjoyed the simple pleasures of life but also presented himself as a great magnate when it suited his purposes. He was a man of many talents, an accomplished soldier and a natural commander on battlefields, also a skilled diplomat with a dextrous ability to negotiate. He cared about his men and was very generous towards them. He was fiscally astute and he managed to keep the country from bankruptcy during his period of regency. In a nut shell, he was a respected hero who left behind a legacy hard to follow.

Isabelle de Clare, Countess of Pembroke, was not only William`s wife but also his partner and equal. She always maintained her present during council meetings and stayed closed to her husband. She was a woman of strong character and very present in the day to day decisions. In William's absence, she governed the estate with the same dexterity as he would have. 10 pregnancies did not deter her willpower; she was his "Belle amie" throughout their married life, up till his dying breath. She survived him by one year despite their twenty year age difference.

The author also covers a mix of individuals that influenced them during their life whether by choice or obligation. The list of people that crossed their path includes: Kings and Queens, Chaplains, members of the aristocracy, as well as some loyal and not so loyal followers.

Once again Ms. Chadwick has given me hours of pleasure with this engaging historical fiction. The writing is colourful and lively and the author has stayed as close to history as possible but openly admits to have embellished parts of the facts to make William's life more memorable. This novel can stand on its own but to truly appreciate this time period; I would recommend reading "The Greatest Knight" first.

Ms. Chadwick has thrilled me once more with this stunning and captivating story
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on January 21, 2007
Historical fiction just doesn't get any better than this. A wonderful tale of one of the most honorable men to grace this earth, William Marshal and his true partner in all things, his wife Isabelle.

The first novel, The Greatest Knight, covered more of William Marshal's early life as a knight and courtier. This novel covers his life with Isabel and the dangers and terrors of living in the court of the King John, and then as regent for the young Henry III. I have to admit shedding more than a few tears at the last chapter, the end of Williams life.

I have read all of this author's works that I can get my hands on and I am amazed at how consistly she is improving (not that the earlier works were poorly written at all). Always an excellent story, a great history lesson and it's amazing how she effortlessly brings you into the sights, smells, sounds and life of another century. As someone else said, "The next best thing to time travel".
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on December 31, 2014
Another one of the series to go with the Greatest Knight. An must read for anyone interested in this era! Elizabeth Chadwick does an excellent job of bringing this era to life in a believable way.
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