Greatest Knight: The Unsung Story of the Queen's Champion

Greatest Knight: The Unsung Story of the Queen's Champion

by Elizabeth Chadwick


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New York Times and USA Today Bestseller!

Royal protector. Loyal servant. Forgotten hero.

A penniless young knight with few prospects, William Marshal is plucked from obscurity when he saves the life of Henry II's formidable queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. In gratitude, she appoints him tutor to the heir to the throne, the volatile and fickle Prince Henry. But being a royal favorite brings its share of danger and jealousy as well as fame and reward.

A writer of uncommon historical integrity and accuracy, Elizabeth Chadwick resurrects the true story of one of England's greatest forgotten heroes in a captivating blend of fact and fiction. The Greatest Knight restores William Marshal to his rightful place at the pinnacle of the Middle Ages, reflecting through him the triumphs, scandals, and power struggles that haven't changed in eight hundred years.


The Greatness of William Marshal: The descendants of the Greatest Knight himself include George Washington and Winston Churchill, as well as the Stuart kings of England and Scotland. He was partly responsible for the Magna Carta. He vowed his body to the Templars and is buried in Temple Church in London.

The Appeal of the Time Period: There are very few novels about Marshal, and no one has covered him as in depth as Elizabeth Chadwick has. In addition, unlike the Tudor era, there are not extensive amounts of historical fiction set in the 13th century.

The Integrity of the Research: Elizabeth Chadwick's research is impeccable. She not only visited many locations, but she re-enacted with a living history society where a quarter of the membership are either historians or archaeologists, and she collected and used replica artifacts from the period and engaged in experimental archaeology. She has taken courses in various medieval studies to facilitate her knowledge.

The Breadth of the Audience: Readers who are fans of Sharon Kay Penman, Anya Seton, Diana Gabaldon, Phillipa Gregory, and Jean Plaidy will like Elizabeth Chadwick. She appeals to readers who are looking for historical accuracy and strong, believable characters, readers who want to feel that they are being immersed in the period with well-rounded characters.


Chadwick's novel immerses readers in Marshal's life and times, which should prove intriguing to any fan of historical fiction. The royals, and especially Eleanor, are particularly fascinating characters whom Chadwick employs to great effect. —Publishers Weekly

"The best writer of medieval fiction currently around." — Richard Lee, founder of the Historical Novel Society

"The reader is well aware on every page that this is life as it was lived eight hundred years ago, yet the characters are a fresh and natural as if they were living in the present time..." —The Historical Novels Review

"There's no better writer of medieval fiction than the marvelous Elizabeth Chadwick." —Lancashire Evening Post

"Elizabeth Chadwick is a gifted novelist and a dedicated researcher; it doesn't get any better than that."— Sharon Kay Penman, bestselling author of Devil's Brood

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402225185
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 09/01/2009
Series: William Marshal
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 451,547
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Chadwick lives near Nottingham with her husband and two sons. She is the author of 17 historical novels, including Lords of the White Castle, Shadows and Strongholds, A Place Beyond Courage, The Scarlet Lion, The Winter Mantle, and The Falcons of Montebard, four of which have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Awards.

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Greatest Knight 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1097 reviews.
RebeccaWrede More than 1 year ago
If you like fairy tales this is the book for you. If you are looking for good historical fiction, pass this by. Ms. Chadwick, I realize is writing fiction, but she has failed to research her facts about the man, and the times. For instance, William's father's name was not Marshal. Marshal was a title, his father's name was John Fitz Gilbert. The name Marshal was not granted to William as a sir name until later in his life and was never given to his father. Ms. Chadwwick tells of Elanor of Aquitain riding side saddle. The side saddle was not invented until several centuries later. Perhaps that is a minor issue, however, I believe if you are writing historical fiction, you should be sure of your history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sorry but the review that states the author was wrong about the father and son titles is not true. The Title Marshal was recieved while his father was working for king stephen and passes onto the eldest son. So i guess you shouldnt accuse others of not researching well enough
Ayriana More than 1 year ago
This is an extremely well written book by an amazing author. It fills us in on the first 40~ years of Williams life. The second half, and a stand alone novel in its own, is the Scarlet lion. It may have some small historic inaccuracies as previously notes, but it is an absolute page turner, no effort required!
crimekitty763 More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful story of William Marshall, a Knight with King Richard. I did not know much about this period of English history and this book was very informative. William Marshall was definitely a MAN OF HONOR. He kept his word to whomever it was given. He was a personal friend of Eleanor of Aquataine. He is later accused of having an affair with the Princess/wife of the young king. Later in life he marries Isabella, a duchess, mainly for her lands. But he falls in love with her and they have a most unusual relationship for this period of time. The follow-up book is THE SCARLET LION. I will be reading it very soon.
penname96 More than 1 year ago
This was my first Elizabeth Chadwick read and it will not be my last. I immensely enjoyed this book. The story of William Marshal was a page turner. Chivalry at it's best!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a big fan of medieval history and historical fiction, and I've come across references to William Marshal in many books. It was wonderful to read his story. Well-written, and so interesting that I started reading "The Scarlet Lion", the end of Marshal's story, as soon as I finished this book. That was terrific, too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very exciting, fast paced read. Could'nt put the book down. Was sorry it had to end, but wait a minute, this is first in a series yea!!
booksonmynook More than 1 year ago
Really great book. Kept me entertained all the way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Chadwick developes this characteer so well that I didn't want the book to end. I am currently reading the sequel Scarlet Lion. It is set in the late 1100 through early 1200's in England, Ireland, and France; portraying the wars and court intrigue of the brother Kings Henry, Richard, and John as they fight for power and land maniipulating The Greatest Knight each in their turn.
Holtry More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Chadwick puts the reader right in medieval England with her eye for historical detail and and believable historical characters. She is a great story teller who brings to vivid life a turbulent period in English history. Her book is a must read for anyone who likes historical fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book if you enjoy this time period. Looking forward to readind Chadwicks newest book
Read4funCA More than 1 year ago
This was a free book and not sure what I was getting. Turns out I got a great book. A well told story about The Greatest Knight. After finishing reading this book I googled the Knight and was fascinated with how aligned the book I had just read was with history. I don't normally read this type of book but am glad I did and recommend it to others.
seniorchief More than 1 year ago
I wasn't real sure I would like this book when I downloaded. It was fantastic reading with adventure that keeps one on thier seat. Hard to put down book. I love history and I love biographies. This is combined in this book. I have read some about William Marshall and most was dry reading. Elizabthe Chadwick makes it fun reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting and does a good job helping the reader feel a part of the story. Occasionally gets stuck in somewhat slow detail, but overall very enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I typically read about queens and kings, this was refreshing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was promising at the start but I ended uprapidlyscanning the last 1/3 of the book because I was ready for it to be over.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. I am a diverse reader and enjoy period novels, but I felt like this book took me along time to read. I loved the character development, but I felt like the middle got muddeled with non important characters... I will read the second book, but I wont have the expectations of a "can't put it down" book. All in all was a good book.
CJFloyd More than 1 year ago
If you're looking for a few evenings of escape from the "real" world into an age when Kings fought for their kingdoms and there were good bold knights who struggled against tremendous odds and won, then by all means, this is a great read. You will get a different view of Richard the Lion Hearted and his brother who inspired the Magna Carta. You may want to check out Lion in Winter after your done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
440 Pages of awesomeness. Loved it.
KreaderFL More than 1 year ago
Good story giving one a feel for the Middle Ages and the history of France and England during the Norman period. (I had some problems with the Nook Color showing some pages and I had to go forward and then page back to get the right pages. Maybe this is due to the book's formatting or my Nook going on the blink?) I especially like the characterizations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent sampling of historical events. I wonder where all of the "greatest knights" are these days.........
kim65gt More than 1 year ago
Love this book. I'm not an authority on this period in history, or any other period, so if this book is not historically correct, I wouldn't know. It was just a great story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. Based on a historical person and carefully researched, this telling of a true hero's tale captivated me from the first chapter. Beautifully written, this is one of the few I'd be delighted to read again.
SherylNantus More than 1 year ago
I read "To Defy A King" before I got to this one and even though I read them out of sequence it was still a great read. The historical feel is almost overwheming at times - you really get a sense of "being there" and experiencing the small things from the smell of cooking food to the feel of the bedstraw. The violence happens for the most part off-screen and you're not inundated for page after page of battle scenes - but you do get enough to give you a sense of this dangerous time where alliances could be made and broken within hours and being politically adept was as necessary a skill as being good with a sword. Looking forward to working my way through the rest of Ms Chadwick's books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even though this book was was good and hard to put down. Can't imagine all he had to go through before finding happiness.