Rating: 5 out of 5
Who doesn’t know the name of William Marshal and his story? Though the man is very famous, I waited to read the book for a long while. A wish to continue with some historical fiction made me pick it up, and I’m very glad I did. Ms Chadwick’s story hits all the right notes in making William relatable while not obnoxious — his humility helps a lot for this cause as well.
In broad terms, the reader looks into William’s life from an early age up to the accession of John. This is not all covered in the same detail: parts are emphasised to highlight the religious character of an early medieval knight while other periods – such as William’s journey to Outremer – are left out of this book.
The majority of the action therefore takes place in Normandy or Southern England and this is also fitting for an exploration of the Plantagenet realm. As another refreshing change, Richard appears as someone who knows more than just how to siege a castle or capture an enemy.
Overall, I really enjoyed this and I’m rather willing to read more of Ms Chadwick’s historical fiction!