For the King's Favor

For the King's Favor

4.0 57
by Elizabeth Chadwick

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A Bittersweet Tale of Love, Loss, and the Power of RoyaltySee more details below


A Bittersweet Tale of Love, Loss, and the Power of Royalty

Editorial Reviews

Night Owl Romance
Each novel by Elizabeth Chadwick continues to build her reputation of one of the queens of historical writing.
Yankee Romance Reviewers
Another fantastic story .
— Terra
Historical Novel Reviews
This tale is replete with details about the history and culture of late 12th-century England, a time of royal, financial, familial, marital and political conflicts that keep the reader riveted to every page. A grand read!
— Viviane Crystal
From the Publisher
"Each novel by Elizabeth Chadwick continues to build her reputation of one of the queens of historical writing. " - Night Owl Romance

"Another fantastic story . " - Yankee Romance Reviewers

"This tale is replete with details about the history and culture of late 12th-century England, a time of royal, financial, familial, marital and political conflicts that keep the reader riveted to every page. A grand read!" - Historical Novel Reviews

"Chadwick's characters are carefully and brilliantly crafted... extremely well written historical fiction." - Rundpinne

"Just like a fine wine Chadwick is to be savored all the way down to the last drop." - Historically Obsessed

"The characters really come to life." - In the Hammock

"I swear, each Elizabeth Chadwick book I read is even better than the last. Chadwick breathes such life into characters so long dead; to read one of her books is to have a peephole on the past." - Devourer of Books

"Another awesome read for me and another fantastic book by Elizabeth Chadwick." - The Maiden's Court

"Filled with sacrifice, sibling rivalry and war, For the King's Favor is truly a gem." - Readin' and Dreamin'

"The writing is exemplary and the attention to detail sublime... a book to be savored... an experience rather than just a read." - The Broken Teepee

"Elizabeth Chadwick weaves a tapestry of a tale that is spellbinding. " - The Long and Short of It Reviews

"Chadwick did not disappoint! She had a good cast of characters from real life to draw from. She made them come back to life with richly textured scenes of England and Royalty" - So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

"A joy to read. I love how [Chadwick] fits into Medieval England with seemingly little effort. " - Book Lust

"Elizabeth Chadwick's name has become a byword for high quality historical fiction. If any one author can "claim" medieval England as his or her territory, it must be she, for she nails the era with precision as she lures the reader into an incredible world of chivalry and knights gallant. " - Hist Fic Chick

"The lives of Ida and Roger captivate and give the reader the all important gift of hope." - Luxury Reading

"Elizabeth Chadwick has a knack for developing characters with flaws and believability, therefore making them completely 'real' while you read their stories. They are authentic and a tribute to her research." - She Read a Book

"Recommend? Absolutely to lovers of royal Historical Fiction. " - Life in the Thumb

"Smart writing, a mastery of the time period and impeccable research is what we've come to expect from Elizabeth Chadwick and she certainly brought it with For the King's Favor." - Passages to the Past

"I could not put this book down... Highly recommended. " - Bookfoolery and Babble

"I loved this book. It brought to life historical people that I knew nothing about and created an almost obsession for me. I can't wait to pick up the rest of Elizabeth Chadwick's books." - Books Like Breathing

"Elizabeth Chadwick does a fabulous job in her depiction of the King's court, the people whose lives are impacted by the rotation of the King's attention, and of the political intrigues and favor-currying that takes place. " - Drey's Library

"Chadwick's writing style was thoroughly engrossing and I found myself living in the 1100s along with the characters." - Favorite PasTimes Blog

"Chadwick's work is beautiful; it reminds me why I love historical fiction in the first place." - The Bibliophilic Book Blog

"Elizabeth Chadwick has once again weaved a work of art with her vivid descriptions and ability to tell a most captivating tale." - Confessions and Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog

"Highly recommended. I absolutely loved For the King's Favor. " - Bookfoolery and Babble

"One of the best historical fiction novels I have read this year. Everyone must experience Elizabeth Chadwick's exquisite writing. Her proficiency and talent place her among the elite in her genre." - Bookworm's Dinner

"A truly poignant story, For the King's Favor is a masterpiece in historical fiction!" - History Undressed

"Chadwick breaths life in times gone by... The book made me remembered why I loved her books in the first place." - Book Girl of Mur-Y-Castell

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Product Details

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From Chapter One

Framlingham Castle, Suffolk, October 1173 Roger Bigod woke and shot upright on a gulp of breath. His heart was slamming against his rib cage and, although the parted bed curtains showed him a chamber sun-splashed with morning light, his inner vision blazed with vivid images of men locked in combat. He could hear the iron whine of blade upon blade and the dull thud of a mace striking a shield. He could feel the bite of his sword entering flesh and see blood streaming in scarlet ribbons, glossy as silk.

"Ah God." Roger shuddered and bowed his head, his hair flopping over his brow in sweaty strands the colour of tidewashed sand. After a moment, he collected himself, threw off the bed coverings with his right hand, and went to the window. Clenching his bandaged left fist, he welcomed the stinging pain like a penitent finding comfort in the scourge. The wound was not deep enough to cause serious damage but he was going to have a permanent scar inscribed across the base of three fingers. The soldier who had given it to him was dead, but Roger too kno pleasure in the knowledge. It had been kill or be killed. Too many of his own men had fallen yesterday. His father said he was useless, but it was a habitual opinion and Roger no longer felt its impact beyond a dull bruise. What did abrade him were the unnecessary deaths of good soldiers. The opposition had been too numerous and his resources insufficient to the task.

He looked at his taut fist. There would be a lake of blood before his father's ambition was done.

To judge from the strength of the daylight he had missed mass. His stepmother would delight in berating him for his tardiness and then comment to his father that his heir wasn't fit to inherit a dung heap, let alone the Earldom of Norfolk when the time came. And then she would look pointedly at her own eldest son, the obnoxious Huon, as if he were the answer to everyone's prayers rather than the petulant adolescent brat he actually was.

Framlingham's bailey was packed with the tents and shelters of the mercenaries belonging to Robert Beaumont, Earl of Leicester-an ill-assorted rabble he had plucked from field and town, ditch, gutter, weaving shed, and dockside on his way from Flanders to England. Few of them were attending mass to judge by the numbers infesting the inner and outer wards. They were locusts, Roger thought with revulsion. By joining the rebellion against King Henry and giving lodging and support to the Earl of Leicester, his father had encouraged a plague to descend on them, in more ways than one. The plot was to overthrow the King and replace him with his eighteen-year-old son Henry-a vain boy who could be turned this way and that by men skilled in manipulation and the machinations of power. Roger's father had no love for the King, who had clamped down hard on his ambition to rule all of East Anglia. Henry had confiscated their castle at Walton and built a strong royal fortress at Orford to neutralise their grip on that part of the coastline. To add insult to injury, fines for the earlier insurgency had gone to assist the building of Orford.

Turning from the window, Roger sluiced his face one-handed in the ewer at the bedside. Since the tips of his fingers and his thumb were free on his bandaged side, he managed to dress himself without summoning a servant. From the moment he had been capable of tying his braies in small childhood, a fierce sense of self-reliance had driven him to perform all such tasks for himself.

On opening the coffer containing his cloaks, his eyes narrowed as he noticed immediately that his best one with the silver braid was missing. He could well guess where it was. While donning his everyday mantle of plain green twill, his gaze lit on the weapons chest standing against the wall. Last night his scabbarded sword had been propped against it, waiting to be checked and cleaned before storage, but now it was gone. Roger's annoyance turned to outright anger. His sword had been a gift from his Uncle Aubrey, Earl of Oxford, at the time of his knighting. This time the thieving little turd had gone too far.

With clamped jaw, Roger strode from the chamber and headed purposefully to the chapel adjoining the hall where mass had just finished and people were filing out to attend their duties. Roger concealed himself behind a pillar as his father walked past deep in conversation with Robert, Earl of Leicester. They were an incongruous pair, Leicester being tall and slender with a natural grace and good humour, and his father with a rolling pugilistic gait reminiscent of a sailor heading from ship to alehouse. His paunch strained the seams of his red tunic and his hair hung in oiled straggles, the colour of wet ashes.

Roger's stepmother Gundreda followed, walking with Petronilla, Countess of Leicester. The women nodded graciously to each other, smiling with their lips but not their eyes. There was little love lost between them, even if they were allies, for neither woman possessed the social skills upon which to build a friendship and Gundreda resented Petronilla's superior airs.

As they moved on, Roger's seeking gaze struck upon the flash of a lapis-blue garment and a twinkle of silver braid as his half-brother Huon swaggered out of the chapel, one narrow adolescent hand clasping the buckskin grip of a fine sword. A little behind him traipsed Huon's younger sibling Will, fulfilling his usual role of insipid shadow.

Roger reached, seized, and swung his half-brother around, slamming him against the pillar. "Have you nothing of your own that you must resort to thievery of everything that is mine?" he hissed. "Time and again I have told you to stay out of my coffers and leave my things alone." Taking a choke-hold on the youth's throat with his good hand, Roger used his other to unhitch the sword belt with a rapid jerk of latch and buckle.

Huon's down-smudged upper lip curled with contempt, although his eyes darted fearfully. Roger noted both emotions and increased the pressure. "I suppose you wanted to parade before my lord of Leicester and show off a sword you're too young to wear?"

"I wear it better than you!" the youth wheezed with bravado. "You're a spineless coward. Our father says so."

Roger released his grip, but only to hook his foot behind Huon's ankles and bring him down. Straddling him, he dragged the purloined cloak over his half-brother's head. "If there's a next time, you'll wear this on your bier," he panted, "and my sword will be through your heart!"

"Huon, where are y-" Having turned back to find her lagging son, Gundreda, Countess of Norfolk, stared at the scene with consternation and fury. "What do you think you're doing!" she shouted at Roger. "Get off him; leave him alone!" She forced Roger aside with a hard push.

Choking and retching, Huon clutched his throat. "He tried to kill me...and in God's own house...He did; Will saw it, didn't you?"

"Yes," Will croaked as if his own throat had been squeezed, and refused to look anyone in the eye.

"If I had intended to kill you, you would be dead now!" Roger snarled. He encompassed his stepmother and his half-brothers in a burning glare before flinging from the chapel, his cloak over his arm and his scabbarded sword clutched in his good fist. Her invective followed him but he ignored it for he had become inured to that particular bludgeon long ago.

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