The early twelfth century is a time for ambitious men to prosper, and royal servant John FitzGilbert is one of them. But when the old king dies and his successor is appointed, John faces a terrible choice: he must join the rival faction-his enemies- or risk losing everything. His new wife helps him carry his burden, but his final choice will seal not only her fate, but those of his young children.
As the fight for England's crown enters a new phase, John may be forced to make a terrible sacrifice...
When I think of medieval fiction writers I think of Elizabeth Chadwick. She is the go to author for me and this was another great novel.
John FitzGilbert was the father of the more famous William Marshal. But this is John's book. He was King Henry II's marshal, he was young and went for what he wanted. I liked how he was portrayed, even in his darkest moments. Because in the end you can't know what he thought and felt and I felt what she wrote here was very possible.
His first wife was Aline, yeah, the less we talk about her the better. She was weak. His second marriage was a political one since he was feuding with his neighbor. So he out aside Aline and married Sybilla. Again this could have made me dislike him, but to save his children, his future and life it was just something he had to do. Life back then was not easy for women, but we all know that already.
The novel takes place during the civil war when Matilda and her cousin Stephen fights for the throne. And of course we got John in the middle of it all, trying to pick a side and stay alive. Not that easy in a time like that.
Chadwick is always so good with the little details. I feel like I am there over 800 years ago. It feels real. I am watching the story in my head while reading it.
And the things I learn, it was the Marshal's job to take care of the royal whores. Yes, he brought in new blood and saw to that they kept their standards. He did sample the wares too ;)
I know that when I want good historical fiction then Chadwick's books are the ones to read. Medieval life comes alive in them.
Series: William Marshal #1
Genre: Historical fiction
Published: Sep 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published 2007)Source: For review