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For the King's Favor

For the King's Favor

4.0 58
by Elizabeth Chadwick

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


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

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Read an Excerpt

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.

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Chadwick (UK) is the author of 20 historical novels, including The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion, A Place Beyond Courage, Lords of the White Castle, Shadows and Strongholds, The Winter Mantle, and The Falcons of Montabard, four of which have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Awards.

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For the King's Favor 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
penname96 More than 1 year ago
This book should be read prior to Defy a King, but due to the way this book was released in the US, unlike the UK, we received them out of order. The UK version is (The Time of Singing.) Both are stand alone books, but it would have been nice to have read this one first. In this novel we learn about Roger Bigod during the turbulent years of King Henry II, King Richard and King John as he fights for his lands that his traitor father lost. We also experience his marriage to Ida de Tosney (King Henry's mistress and mother of his bastard William Longespee.) If you read "The Greatest Knight "the first in the trilogy" this book will make you smile reliving a lot of those memories. Roger Bigod and William Marshall go through a lot together. I won't say more for spoiler alerts, but this is another great Chadwick read. Once again this is a stand alone book, but reading the books in order makes it all that much more enriching The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion, For the King's Favor, To Defy a King.
MichelleSutton More than 1 year ago
I really, really enjoyed this story. The one drawback was that the review copy I received had translation issues between formats because there were numerous obvious typos in it that were distracting. The story was a bit too long as well. Regardless, I found it to be a very enjoyable read and I would recommend it to people who enjoy a good medieval romance. This author certainly knows how to deliver on that account. Ms. Chadwick's writing style was thoroughly engrossing and I found myself living in the 1100s along with the characters. The deflowering of Ida by the king at such a young age and her subsequent service to him was realistically portrayed. I really felt for her situation. She was truly trapped and was such a sweet girl with a good heart. So when Roger Bigod came along and there was an obvious attraction between them, I was hoping and praying that she would be allowed to marry him. Their relationship with exciting and I enjoyed experiencing their budding relationship along with them. Their marriage was intense and sweet at the same time. Their love for each other was powerful and real. I think the author's greatest strength was in her ability to develop powerful love relationships between characters. She also did an outstanding job with the setting and with showing inter-familial rivalries and the desire to possess land and power. I agonized with Ida when she had to leave her oldest son behind and I grieved for her every time she reflected on the loss. I also rejoiced in her other children who were a comfort to her. I understood Roger's pain when he felt like he was in competition with the king even though he knew deep inside that he was not, and that she truly loved him, not Henry. It did make for some awesome chemistry and set up the sexual tension between them as husband and wife very well. This story was hot, but done in good taste. The romantic elements were strong but not overarching because the story was chock full of history and historical subplots that made for a well-rounded novel.
LauraFabiani More than 1 year ago
After reading rave reviews about Elizabeth Chadwick's books, I now understand why she is so well loved by fans of medieval historical fiction. She effortlessly weaves intricate political intrigue and chivalry into her stories filled with historical figures she brings to life. I simply loved her characters! For the King's Favor is based on the true story of Ida de Tosney, the young mistress of King Henry II and the man she chooses to marry, Roger Bigod, an honourable man who patiently waits for the earldom he is to inherit. The story spans almost twenty years from when Ida is seduced at a young age and becomes the King's mistress against her will (a role she is ashamed of) to when her family and happiness are complete after being married to Roger for eighteen years. There is plenty of action and romance in this novel. Chadwick follows the political events of the time and how they affect Ida and Roger who are closely tied to the royal court. Ida gives birth to a son by the king before she marries Roger and the heartrending choice she has to make when she leaves the court to start a new life with Roger plagues her throughout her life. Roger's stepbrothers and stepmother continuously fight him over the issue of the inheritance of the earldom since Roger's father annulled his first marriage in which Roger was conceived. (I was surprised at the ease in which people could do this-annul a marriage even after the conception of children. I suppose it was similar to divorce but without the stigma?) These conflicts are well developed in the story and are enhanced by the fragility of court relationships, which can instantly change or reverse depending on the whims of those in power. Although Roger was loyal to the king, the evil Longchamp (Bishop of Ely) never lost an opportunity to sow doubts, posing a threat, as did the stepbrothers. This is what led me to believe the plot would thicken and something awful or momentous was going to happen to threaten Roger's alliance with the king and thus his chances of gaining his earldom. I was waiting for Longchamp or his brothers to plot against him since Chadwick did such a marvellous job of building believable characters and plunging the reader right into the world of political betrayal. When this did not happen and Chadwick chooses to follow the chronological life of Roger and Ida as depicted historically, I was somewhat disappointed. However, this does not take away from the fact that I enjoyed reading this novel. I want to mention that this book includes explicit sex scenes, tastefully described, except for one scene with a prostitute that was disturbing, and with details I could have done without. The main characters Ida and Roger are loyal to one another, love each other and their children, and their story is a good one. If you are a fan of historical fiction, you will undoubtedly want to read this one. Well written, full of royal intrigue, with likable and not-so-likable characters you'll love to hate, this novel is sure to please.
LASR_Reviews More than 1 year ago
originally posted at: www.longandshortreviews.blogspot.com ***** Disenfranchised while still in their teens, both Ida de Tosney and Roger Bigod are at the mercy of the self-centered King Henry, then King Richard, and finally King John. The unquenchable desire to realize their dreams drive both of them makes some bitter choices. Although they must fight different battles, each of them refuses to remain a victim of the machinations of royalty during turbulent times. Ida pays an incredibly high emotional price to be allowed to marry Roger, the man she loves rather than someone the king picks for her. Her deep need to feel safe, loved, and secure gives her courage and fuels her efforts. After the marriage, she does not rely on her striking beauty, but uses her intelligence, talents, and industrious nature to help Roger as he strives to regain his earldom even s she nurtures their children and manages a large household during his long absences. Her loneliness is overwhelming at times. Roger pledged to service the king in his efforts to regain the earldom his father lost in rebellion. His legal knowledge and his military prowess keep him at the king's beck and call for months on end. He knows this is the price he must pay to get his earldom back. His and Ida's love is tested to the limit and family ties are stretched almost to the breaking point. His pledged service to the king, evading the traps his stepmother and her sons lay for him, and working to keep his holding prosperous while the kings strip England of her wealth to further their own agendas test his and Ida's physical and emotional mettle again and again. In For the King's Favor, medieval England throbs with festering political and religious sores as well as an infestation of the seven deadly sins in the extreme. The characters and their deeds linger in the mind long after the last word is read. Elizabeth Chadwick weaves a tapestry of a tale that is spellbinding. She weaves in a multitude of characters that use their astuteness to maneuver through a maze of intrigues conflicts in the powerful plot. With historically accurate facts, she weaves a background bustling with life that encompasses all levels of the society at the time. Best of all, she weaves in a love story that fills the heart with joy and satisfaction making the whole tapestry shine with hope for the future. For the King's Favor is one for the bookshelf.
donnasreview More than 1 year ago
I usually read about Tudors type, history (and of course true crime, bios and more) and was not sure I would enjoy this but had such good reviews I gave it a read. Very good Read. Lot's going on but in no way confusing. Good Story and easy to read. A must for avid readers.
Yahaira Boslet More than 1 year ago
A total page turner...could never read just a chapter at a time. Really came to love and care for the characters.
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Roger Bigod . Marries a mistress of King Henry II. William Longspee's mother. This is the life story of them and the early history of their children. I got this book on sale for a buck. Took me all summer to finish it, I was so bored. The lives are interesting , very interesting. But the authors storyline is monotoneous and repetitive . I kept rereading paragraphs on accident. I give it three stars for simply taking on such a big project with so very scant details. It must have been very difficult to write about the Bigod's ,and I give credit where it is due . And the author is due a tremendous amount of credit for this work. Thank you. I am glad I read it .
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Elizabeth Chadwick is a great author. I have read several of her book and "For the King's Favor" did not disappoint. Currently reading "To Defy a King" and also purchased "A Place Beyond Courage". Chadwick has the gift of bringing her characters in the present while inserting the flavor of the middle ages into her story.
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PeanutJim More than 1 year ago
Though this book is skillfully written, as is usual for Ms. Chadwick's books, I could not bring myself to like Ida de Tosney. I can't put my finger on exactly what it was that caused me to dislike her, but her personality, as presented in this novel, simply turned my stomach. I would have gladly given 5 stars to this book, had I been able to empathise at all with the protagonist.
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