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The Scarlet Lion

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Overview

The Legend of the Greatest Knight Lives On

William Marshal's skill with a sword and loyalty to his word have earned him the company of kings, the lands of a magnate, and the hand of Isabelle de Clare, one of England's wealthiest heiresses. But he is thrust back into the chaos of court when King Richard dies. Vindictive King John clashes with William, claims the family lands for the Crown-and takes two of the Marshal sons hostage. The conflict between obeying his king and ...

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Overview

The Legend of the Greatest Knight Lives On

William Marshal's skill with a sword and loyalty to his word have earned him the company of kings, the lands of a magnate, and the hand of Isabelle de Clare, one of England's wealthiest heiresses. But he is thrust back into the chaos of court when King Richard dies. Vindictive King John clashes with William, claims the family lands for the Crown-and takes two of the Marshal sons hostage. The conflict between obeying his king and rebelling over the royal injustices threatens the very heart of William and Isabelle's family. Fiercely intelligent and courageous, fearing for the man and marriage that light her life, Isabelle plunges with her husband down a precarious path that will lead William to more power than he ever expected.

"Everyone who has raved about Elizabeth Chadwick as an author of historical novels is right." -Devourer of Books on The Greatest Knight

"Elizabeth Chadwick is a gifted novelist and a dedicated researcher; it doesn't get any better than that." -Sharon Kay Penman

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Editorial Reviews

Romance Junkies
Fans of historical fiction will devour this novel, appreciating the depth of research, flowing prose, eye for detail and feeling like you knew William Marshall.
— Katharine
The Long and Short of It
When Elizabeth Chadwick writes about history, you feel like you are there in the thick of it... A definite must read for any lover of history.
Historical Tapestry
The characters are brought to life.
— Ana
HistoricalNovels.Info
Graceful... elegantly sexy, realistic.
— Margaret Donsbach
Thoughts From an Evil Overlord
The Scarlet Lion is everything I look for in fiction: adventure, romance, intrigue, told through well developed characters and vivid descriptions of settings.
— Elizabeth Bogardus
Yankee Romance Reviewers
From the colors, scents, sounds, emotions of people, places and things you can't help but feel as if you are a bystander watching the entire story unfold right before your very eyes.
— Terra Studer
Laura's Reviews
Wonderful characters, fascinating history, and detailed beautiful writing.
— Laura Gerold
Booksie's Blog
Recommended for historical fiction lovers.
— Sandie Kirkland
She Read a Book
The writing is just so good, the characters and places so real, it's happy and sad and just so well researched — it's exactly what a book of this genre should be.
— Virginie Barbeau
A Work in Progress
Chadwick is very talented at bringing her characters and the Medieval world alive in the pages of her books.
— Danielle
Confessions of a Muse in the Fog
In this sweeping tale of medieval England, Elizabeth Chadwick creates a intriguing and delightful story full of gallantry, tournaments, treachery and a love story for the ages.
— Svea Love
Devourer of Books
Elizabeth Chadwick is a consummate author of historical fiction.
— Jen
S. Krishna's Books
[Chadwick] makes the time period come alive for the reader, utilizing small historical details in order to really set each scene.
— Swapna Krishna
Hist-Fic Chick
Elizabeth Chadwick masterfully strikes the balance of blending historic fact with modern storytelling. Accurate period detail, sweeping scenery descriptions, and deeply developed characters
— Allie
Passages to the Past
Brilliantly weaving a strong plot line, historical accuracy, depth of character and dialogue filled with intelligence and wit... Elizabeth Chadwick is one of the very best of historical fiction authors.
— Amy Bruno
My Two Blessings
Excellent... Elizabeth Chadwick brings William and Isabelle to life on the pages and draws you into the action.
— Robin
Drey's Library
Very well-written... This one's for the historical fiction fans out there.
— Drey
Enchanted by Josephine
the perfect mix of battle, love, rich history and exacting character portrayal... The story progressed and flowed exquisitely- I was hooked till the end.
— Lucy
A Reader's Respite
Chadwick masterfully brought [William Marshal] to life... a reading experience you won't soon forget
— Michele
BookLust
Elizabeth Chadwick has brought William Marshall back into the limelight.
— Aarti
The Burton Review
[Chadwick] will make you fall in love with William Marshal with her unforgettable story of his life, as his memory is finally being given its just rewards.
— Marie Burton
All Things Royal
Chadwick has a marvelous writing style that transports you right into the story
— Susie
The Maiden's Court
One of the strengths of Chadwick's writing is her ability to make you feel for the characters.
— Heather
From the Publisher
"Fans of historical fiction will devour this novel, appreciating the depth of research, flowing prose, eye for detail and feeling like you knew William Marshall." - Romance Junkies

"When Elizabeth Chadwick writes about history, you feel like you are there in the thick of it... A definite must read for any lover of history. " - The Long and Short of It

"The characters are brought to life. " - Historical Tapestry

"Graceful... elegantly sexy, realistic. " - HistoricalNovels.Info

"The Scarlet Lion is everything I look for in fiction: adventure, romance, intrigue, told through well developed characters and vivid descriptions of settings." - Thoughts From an Evil Overlord

"From the colors, scents, sounds, emotions of people, places and things you can't help but feel as if you are a bystander watching the entire story unfold right before your very eyes. " - Yankee Romance Reviewers

"Wonderful characters, fascinating history, and detailed beautiful writing." - Laura's Reviews

"Recommended for historical fiction lovers. " - Booksie's Blog

"The writing is just so good, the characters and places so real, it's happy and sad and just so well researched — it's exactly what a book of this genre should be." - She Read a Book

"Chadwick is very talented at bringing her characters and the Medieval world alive in the pages of her books. " - A Work in Progress

Publishers Weekly
William Marshal returns in this sequel to The Greatest Knight with the older and wiser William well settled with his wife, Isabelle de Clare, and their ever-growing brood. However, he is now in uneasy service to King John, who suspects William for his ties to John’s late brother Richard I, but cannot openly despise the powerful earl’s allegiance. Still, ever spiteful John systematically strips William of titles, power, honors, and even his son, Will, who the king demands as his squire. Then John dies suddenly, and William must take the rebellious kingdom in hand and assume the regency. Chadwick delivers another accomplished historical, albeit without the thrills of its predecessor. Like William, the story is too settled and comfortable to be as exciting as the story of the young knight on the rise, but the in-depth exploration of the intrigues of King John’s court is riveting. Isabelle remains a powerful noblewoman and excellent match for William. This will be best appreciated by fans of Chadwick’s other work or readers curious to learn more about medieval England. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402229992
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 159,310
  • Product dimensions: 6.43 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Chadwick is the author of 17 historical novels, including The Greatest Knight, Lords of the White Castle, Shadows and Strongholds, A Place Beyond Courage, The Winter Mantle, and The Falcons of Montabard, four of which have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Awards. She won a Betty Trask Award for The Wild Hunt, her first novel.
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Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter One

Fortress of Longueville, Normandy, Spring 1197

Isabelle de Clare, Countess of Leinster and Striguil, wife to King Richard's Marshal, was in labour with their fourth child. "Arse first," announced the midwife, wiping her hands on a length of towel after examining her patient. "Bound to be a boy, they always cause the most trouble."
Isabelle closed her eyes and reclined against the piled bolsters. Throughout the morning the contractions had become steadily more frequent and painful. Her women had unbraided her hair so there would be no bindings about her person to tie the baby in the womb, and the thick, wheat-gold strands spilled over shoulders and engorged breasts to touch her mounded belly. "He" was already late. Her husband had hoped to greet his new offspring before setting out to war ten days ago, but instead had had to bid Isabelle farewell with a kiss at arm's length, her pregnant belly like a mountain between them. It was May now. If she survived bearing this child and he lived through the summer's campaign, they would see each other in the autumn.
For now, he was somewhere deep in the Beauvaisis with his sovereign, and she was wishing she was anywhere but this stuffy chamber undergoing the ordeal of childbirth. A contraction started low in her spine and tightened across her womb. Pain bloomed through her lower body, causing her to gasp and clench her fists. "Always hurts more when they come tail first." The midwife looked shrewdly at Isabelle. "It's not your first; you know what to expect, but infants that enter the world by their backsides have a dangerous passage. Head comes last and that's not good for the babe. Best pray to the blessed Saint Margaret for her help." She indicated the painted wooden image standing on a coffer at the bedside surrounded by a glow of votive candles.
"I have been praying to her every day since I knew I was with child," Isabelle said irritably, not adding that the overdue birth of a baby in the breech position was hardly a happy reward for her devotion. She was coming to abhor the statue. Whoever had carved it had put a sanctimonious expression on its face that fell little short of a smirk.
The next contraction wrung her in its grip and with it the urge to push. The midwife signaled to the girl assisting her and busied herself between Isabelle's thighs. "You should summon your chaplain to christen the child, immediately," she announced, her voice muffled by the raised sheet. "Do you have a name?"
"Gilbert for a boy, and Isabelle for a girl," Isabelle gritted through her teeth as she bore down. The contraction receded. Slumping against the bolsters she panted at one of her women to fetch Father Walter and have him wait in the antechamber.
The next pain seized her, then the next and the next, fierce and hard, no respite now as her body strove to expel the baby from her womb. She sobbed and grunted with effort, tendons cording her throat, her hands gripping those of her attendants hard enough to leave lasting weals on their flesh.
There was a sudden gush of wet heat between her thighs and the midwife groped. "Ah," she said with satisfaction. "I was right, it is a boy. Ha-ha, fine pair of hammers on him too!
Let's see if we can keep him alive to have use of them, eh? Push again, my lady. Not so fast, not so fast. Go gently now." Isabelle bit her lip and struggled not to push as hard as her instincts dictated. Taking the baby's ankles, tugging gently, the midwife drew his torso up and on to Isabelle's abdomen. As the mouth and nose emerged from the birth canal she wiped them clear of blood and mucus, then, watching intently, controlled the emergence of the rest of the head with a gentle hand. Propped on her elbows, Isabelle stared at the baby lying upon her body like a drowned, shipwrecked sailor. His colour was greyish-blue and he wasn't moving. Panic shot through her. "Holy Saint Margaret, is he...?"
The woman lifted the baby by his ankles, swung him gently, and applied a sharp tap to his buttocks, then again. A shudder rippled through him, his little chest expanded, and a wail of protest met the air, uncertain at first, but gathering momentum and infusing his body with a flush of life-giving pink. Righting him, the midwife turned to Isabelle, a smile deepening the creases in her wrinkled cheeks. "Just needed a bit of persuading," she said. "Best have the priest name him though, to be on the safe side." She wrapped him in a warm towel and placed him in Isabelle's arms.
The cord having been cut and the afterbirth expelled and taken away for burial, Isabelle gazed into the birth-crumpled features of her newborn son and, still deeply anxious, watched his shallow breathing. A baffled, slightly quizzical frown puckered his brows. His fists were tightly clenched as if to fight the world into which he had been so brutally initiated. "Gilbert," she said softly. "I wonder what your father is going to make of you." She blew softly against his cheek and gave him her forefinger around which to curl his miniature hand. After a moment, she lifted her gaze from the baby and fixed it on her chamber window and the arch of soft blue sky it framed. Her own ordeal was almost over and, God willing, if she did not take the childbed fever, she would soon be on her feet. Saint Margaret could be thanked with an offering and packed away in her coffer again until needed again. Now she would concentrate on prayers for her husband's safety and ask God to bring him home in one piece to greet their new son.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 145 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(88)

4 Star

(39)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 145 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Captivating Story

    Book 2 in the life of William Marshal

    The first novel "The Greatest Knight" followed William Marshal through his early career and his rise to fortune and noble status. In this novel, we are drawn further into his amazing and inspiring life it also includes some details of his family and those who crossed his path.

    Ms. Chadwick describes William Marshal as a dashing knight and a champion of tournaments, an easy-going and courteous man, and one who enjoyed the simple pleasures of life but also presented himself as a great magnate when it suited his purposes. He was a man of many talents, an accomplished soldier and a natural commander on battlefields, also a skilled diplomat with a dextrous ability to negotiate. He cared about his men and was very generous towards them. He was fiscally astute and he managed to keep the country from bankruptcy during his period of regency. In a nut shell, he was a respected hero who left behind a legacy hard to follow.

    Isabelle de Clare, Countess of Pembroke, was not only William`s wife but also his partner and equal. She always maintained her present during council meetings and stayed closed to her husband. She was a woman of strong character and very present in the day to day decisions. In William's absence, she governed the estate with the same dexterity as he would have. 10 pregnancies did not deter her willpower; she was his "Belle amie" throughout their married life, up till his dying breath. She survived him by one year despite their twenty year age difference.

    The author also covers a mix of individuals that influenced them during their life whether by choice or obligation. The list of people that crossed their path includes: Kings and Queens, Chaplains, members of the aristocracy, as well as some loyal and not so loyal followers.

    Once again Ms. Chadwick has given me hours of pleasure with this engaging historical fiction. The writing is colourful and lively and the author has stayed as close to history as possible but openly admits to have embellished parts of the facts to make William's life more memorable. This novel can stand on its own but to truly appreciate this time period; I would recommend reading "The Greatest Knight" first.

    Ms. Chadwick has thrilled me once more with this stunning and captivating story

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Sequel to The Greatest Knight, but can be read as stand alone

    To me, this book felt like I was reading one of Sharon Kay Penman's novels. There were some differences but the writing is almost similar and so is the idea of following a family through several years and how they have evolved through that time. It was an interesting historical read, I have never heard of William Marshal and it was a nice history lesson for me. The plot was well written although not as rich in history as say, for example, Sharon Kay Penman's When Christ and his Saints Slept. However, this book is a wonderful family saga as it takes you through William and Isabelle's life with their children, and the historical events surrounding them. There isn't much court intrigue here that I was expecting but I was willing to accept this, as the book was well written.

    The battle scenes are all right, although I expected a little more detail and more action. What was more central to the plot was mainly William and Isabelle's relationship, their family, and their endless fight against King John and his schemes. King John was every bit the villain here as I expected. He wasn't the explosive tempermental character that I thought he would have been, but more of a cunning, sly, scheming one that was constantly thinking of plots against his men or to have them turn against each other. It's a sneaky sly version of King John. An interesting side of him that I have heardly seen. It's a nice sight to read, as I'm used to seeing a different version of him altogether. I'd have to say, Isabelle is my favorite character. For a woman, and especially one during those times, she's extraordinarily strong and supportive towards William even when it came to her sons becoming "hostages". There was a very strong bond between the two and their love never failed. I thought they were both meant for each other, and complimented each other perfectly. My favorite part would be Isabelle holding off a potential invasion in Ireland. It showed her strength and determination to hold onto her beloved homeland.

    A few shortfalls do happen in this novel, I thought it was long in some parts, and it seemed to have dragged. It did take me quite a while to finish this book. I guess because it didn't have the intrigue and constant plotting of court life. I also expected a story rich with historical descriptions and lots of historical detail, but it was more of a family saga set in a historical setting. Nevertheless I do suggest fans of historical fiction to give this a read, I did learn quite a few things here and there, especially of the life of William Marshal. Also, there is an element of romance in the novel, it's really nothing that explicit. It's to be expected as William and Isabelle were central to the story.

    Overall, a good historical read that centralizes around a family saga. I do recommend this to those who enjoy reading stories of Medieval England.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    So wonderful!

    William Marshal, the hunky superstar of the Middle Ages. How I wish I could have known him. Elizabeth Chadwick brings him to life in her two wonderful books. When I finished this book, I just held it in my hands because I did not want to leave my time machine and enter the present reality. Sharon Kay Penman has always been my adored favorite author of historical fiction, but, I have to say that Elizabeth Chadwick is now on top. Please read, first, "The Greatest Knight" and then read "The Scarlet Lion." If you love historical fiction, you will love these books.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful

    I have to say, that in reading the first book about William Marshal (The Greatest Knight), I fell a little bit in love with him. The Scarlet Lion is the continuation of his story, and I am still a little bit in love with him. This is an excellent story of a man of honor, although there were times that holding true to his honor did him no favors. I made myself read the last hundred or so pages very slowly, because I just did not want this book to end. I have read four books by Elizabeth Chadwick, now, and I love the way her characters overlap. I know that I will meet William Marshal again in her other books, and I am looking forward to it.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2012

    Thoroughly Captivating!

    Grabbed me and pulled me into the story from page 1. What a wonderful look at such a great man and his family. I can't wait for Elizabeth Chadwick's new series in 2013!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2011

    Highly recommended -

    Elizabeth Chadwick took time in her story to give a history lesson not only of William Marshall and his family but life as it was in the Middle Ages.
    I found I couldn't put the book down and after I finished reading I had to know more.
    I would like to know how Isabel died as she died about 1 year after William.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2013

    Enjoyed this novel very much!

    Fun well written historical fiction. Great leisure read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A worthy read

    William Marshal was a great man and as such became legend. I enjoyed getting to know him and his family. It was a great read with a full spectrum of emotions. Elizabeth Chadwick is one of the greatest historical fiction writers that I have ever read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 11, 2011

    I love it!

    This is the second book and a must read it you liked the Greatest Knight.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2013

    The Scarlet Lion

    Everything I have researched about this most amazing man has been brought to sparkling life in this book (and the Greatest Knight) . Elizabeth Chadwick honored him and the man he was. I will say it was difficult reading the last few chapters knowing not only his death was imminent, but this book was coming to an end. And yes, I cried for an hour or so after finishing it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2013

    Thus is the story told after The Greatest Knight

    I wish i knew that this was the 2nd half of the story I'd have read it in order.. this was a well written story with a fast moving pace that kept it interesting without getting too bogged down in boring details..will go and read The Greatest Knight now and look for other stories from this entertaining author!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2012

    Worth every penny and more.

    Great sequel to The Greatest Knight. Ms Chadwick makes history come alive. Don't miss either one.

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  • Posted November 27, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    If you enjoy historical fiction, you will really enjoy this book. This is a continuation of "The Greatest Knight". Both are excellent. Read the Greatest Knight before you read this one and you will enjoy them both even more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2012

    Enjoyable

    A very good book. An enjoyable way to learn history

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2012

    Great Series

    While The Scarlet Lion is about the "more settled" years of William's life, it is captivating. Great series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2012

    Highly reccomend.

    This historical fiction book keeps you interested all through it.

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  • Posted April 11, 2012

    Very good

    This is the third book that Elizabeth Chadwick wrote about the Marshal family. I loved the first two which were about William Marshal. This one is about his daughter's life. Enjoyed it almost as much as the first two.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2011

    Great Continuation of the Marshal Saga

    This is a wonderful continuation of the Life of William Marshal and his family from the perspective of his daughter, Mahelt. I loved the "Greatest Knight", and was so happy to be able to read more about this family and how they helped shape Britain.

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  • Posted July 20, 2011

    So good

    It was so good. The end made me cry in a good way.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2011

    Great read

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 145 Customer Reviews

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