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 a young knight with the drive and passion to hone his skills to perfection. He is also a man with deep loyalties, once he commits to a ruler or a cause, he will never go back on his word. With honor, integrity, and superior fighting skills as a knight, William soon rises up the ranks to become a royal knight to King Henry and Queen Eleanor and the trainer of their young sons. As the sons grow and family tensions rise, William’s loyalty is put to the test. William experiences very tumultuous times – epic battles, enemies that will do anything to see him fall, and the love of a wonderful, beautiful heiress, Isabelle de Claire.
Overall, I loved this novel. I had a hard time putting it down. It was fascinating and kept me reading far into the night. Elizabeth Chadwick has written a book that contains my favorite elements of good historical fiction: a riveting true story written with great historical accuracy, a wonderful hero, and a great love story with a strong female protagonist. I love reading about knights in shining armor, and this book was so much more than a simple love story. William Marshal ranks as one of my favorite new literary heroes.
I will be hosting a guest interview with Elizabeth Chadwick on March 2nd about her new novel The Scarlet Lion. The Scarlet Lion is a stand alone novel about William Marshal and Isabelle de Claire during the reign of King John. I can’t wait to read it (on my pile for next week!).
Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library