To Defy a King [NOOK Book]

Overview

Spirited daughter. Rebellious wife. Powerful woman.

The adored and spirited daughter of England's greatest knight, Mahelt Marshal lives a privileged life. But when her beloved father falls foul of the volatile and dangerous King John, her world is shattered. The king takes her brothers hostage and Mahelt's planned marriage to Hugh Bigod, son of the Earl of Norfolk, takes place sooner than she expected. Mahelt and Hugh come to care for each other deeply, but Hugh's strict father ...

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To Defy a King

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Overview

Spirited daughter. Rebellious wife. Powerful woman.

The adored and spirited daughter of England's greatest knight, Mahelt Marshal lives a privileged life. But when her beloved father falls foul of the volatile and dangerous King John, her world is shattered. The king takes her brothers hostage and Mahelt's planned marriage to Hugh Bigod, son of the Earl of Norfolk, takes place sooner than she expected. Mahelt and Hugh come to care for each other deeply, but Hugh's strict father clashes with the rebellious Mahelt. When more harsh demands from King John threaten to tear the couple's lives apart, Mahelt finds herself facing her worst fears alone, not knowing if she-or her marriage-will survive.

A brilliant story of a vibrant woman in a tyrant's world, To Defy a King is another impeccably researched masterpiece from a beloved author.

"The best writer of medieval fiction." -Historical Novels Review

"I rank Elizabeth Chadwick with such historical novelist stars as Dorothy Dunnett and Anya Seton." -Sharon Kay Penman, New York Times bestselling author of Devil's Brood

"Brilliantly weaving a strong plotline, historical accuracy, depth of character, and dialogue filled with intelligence and wit...Elizabeth Chadwick is one of the very best of historical fiction authors." -Passages to the Past

"When Elizabeth Chadwick writes about history, you feel like you are there in the thick of it." -Long and Short Reviews

Elizabeth Chadwick is the author of 17 historical novels, including The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion, A Place Beyond Courage, For the King's Favor, Shadows and Strongholds, The Winter Mantle, and The Falcons of Montabard, four of which have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Awards. Visit elizabethchadwick.com

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A majestic High Middle Ages series continues in Chadwick's latest (after For the King's Favor) as Mahelt "Matty" Marshal, the daughter of legendary British knight William Marshal, becomes a bride at 14. Though the marriage, to Hugh Bigod, future earl of Norfolk, is arranged, Matty is open to it and embraces the passion that eventually comes. She bears Bigod four children and enjoys a peaceful life until tyrannical King John takes her paternal family hostage, first her brother Will, heir to the earldom of Pembroke, then her brother Richard, and finally her father, who has openly opposed the king's greed and land-grabbing. Matty's determination to save her father and brothers while also standing by her husband and keeping her new family safe creates both conflict and, ultimately, joyous rewards in a well-told saga filled with just the right amount of exacting period detail. Both longtime fans and readers new to Chadwick's series will be thrilled. (Mar.)
RT Book Reviews
It is no surprise that Chadwick is one of the most respected authors of medieval historical novels. 4 1/2 Stars, Top Pick of the Month
Booklist
Chadwick again captures the inherent complexity of medieval alliances and rivalries in this irresistibly readable historical romance featuring a willful and wily heroine ensnared in a particularly thorny political hornet's nest. Chadwick's characters step directly off the pages of history into this fresh fictional reimagining of a perilous time and place.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402250903
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 53,657
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Chadwick (UK) is the author of 17 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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Read an Excerpt

"It's not fair!" Ten-year-old Mahelt Marshal scowled at her older brothers who were immersed in a boys' game involving a pretend raid on an enemy castle. "Why can't I be a knight?"

"Girls don't go raiding," Will answered with the superiority that came from being male, almost fourteen, and heir to the Earldom of Pembroke.

She made a grab for his horse's reins and he snatched them out of her reach.

"Girls stay at home and embroider and bear children. Only men go to war."

"Women have to defend the castle when their lords are away," she pointed out. "Mama does-and you have to obey her." Tossing her head, she looked at Richard, who was twelve and could sometimes be persuaded to take her part; but, although a broad grin sprawled across his freckled face, he didn't leap to her defence.

"She has to do our lord father's bidding when he returns," Will retorted. "Papa doesn't send her out with a lance in her hand while he stays at home, does he?"

"I can pretend; it's all pretend anyway." Mahelt was determined not to be bettered. "You're not a man."

Richard's grin widened as Will flushed. "Let her defend the castle," he said. "She might have to do it one day when she's married."

Will rolled his eyes, but gave in. "All right, but she's not a knight, and she's not riding Equus."

"Of course not."

"And she can be the French. We're the English."

"That's not fair!" Mahelt protested again.

"Don't play then," Will said indifferently.

She shot her brothers a fulminating look. She wanted to ride Will's new mount because it was a proper, big, glossy horse, not a pony. She wanted to jump him over hedges as Will did and see how fast she could make him gallop. She wanted to feel the wind in her hair. Will had called him Equus, which he said was the Latin name the scribes wrote meaning "warhorse." Richard's docile grey wasn't the same challenge, and she had almost outgrown her own dumpy little chestnut, which was stabled up with a leg strain. She knew she could ride as well as either of her brothers.

Heaving a sigh, she stumped off with bad grace to defend the "castle," which for the purposes of the game was the kennelkeeper's hut. Here were stored the collars and leashes for the hounds, old blankets, hunting horns, various tools, baskets, and bowls. A shelf at Mahelt's eye level held chubby earthenware pots of salve for treating canine injuries. Mahelt took one down, removed the lid of plaited straw, and immediately recoiled from the vile stench of rancid goose grease.

"Ready?" she heard Richard shout.

Her left arm crooked around the pot, Mahelt emerged from the shed and, with a resolute jaw, faced the youths, who were fretting their mounts. Both boys bore makeshift lances fashioned from ash staves, and gripped their practice shields at the ready.

Uttering simultaneous yells, the brothers charged. Knowing they expected her to lose her courage and dash back inside the shed, Mahelt stood her ground. She scooped up a handful of grease, feeling it cold and squidgy-soft between her fingers, and lobbed it at the oncoming horses. Will ducked behind his shield, which took the first impact, but Mahelt's next dollop struck him over the rawhide rim, splattering his cloak and the side of his neck. Another scoop burst on the shoulder of Richard's grey. His efforts to control his shying mount left him exposed and her fourth handful landed a direct hit to his face.

"Hah! You're both dead!" She leaped gleefully up and down.

"I win, I win!" Triumph burned in her solar plexus. That was showing them.

Will was off his horse like lightning. Mahelt shrieked and tried to run inside the shed, but he was too fast and caught her arm. She spun round in his grip and struck his chest with her salve-covered hand, smearing his cloak with rancid grease.

"It's dishonourable to hit a lady!" she cried as he raised a threatening fist.

Will looked at his bunched knuckles and, lowering his arm, gave her a disgusted shove instead. "Look what you've done to my cloak! I pity whoever gets you to wife. You're a hoyden." Mahelt raised her chin, determined not to show remorse or be browbeaten. "But I still won," she said. "Against both of you."

"Will, leave her," Richard said with exasperation, wiping his face. "Let's go. There are better places to practise. We'd get more hurled at us in a real battle than handfuls of old grease."

With a final glare, Will flung round and remounted Equus. "It looks as if you've lost after all," he said as he gathered his reins.

Through a blur of angry tears she watched her brothers ride away. Raising her hand to wipe her eyes, she found the stink of the salve on her fingers suddenly unbearable. She was cold, hungry, and empty. Her victory was a hollow one and she was going to be in trouble for wasting the hound-keeper's salve and dirtying her brothers' clothes. She returned the pot to its shelf and closed the shed door. When she turned round, she jumped, because Godfrey, her father's under-chamberlain, was standing behind her. "Your parents are seeking you, young mistress." He wrinkled his nose. "God's eyes, what have you been doing?"

"Nothing." She gave him an imperious look to cloak her guilt. "Defending the castle."

Godfrey said nothing, but his gaze was eloquent.

"What do they want?" Facing both parents at once was generally reserved for serious misdemeanours. Her mother had eyes in the back of her head, but surely she couldn't know about the grease-throwing yet and Mahelt couldn't think of anything else she had done recently to warrant such a command.

"I do not know, young mistress. Your lady mother just said to fetch you."

Decidedly on her guard, Mahelt followed him to the solar, pausing on the way to sluice her hands in the trough and wipe them on a net of hay tied to the stable wall.

Her mother and father were sitting before the hearth in their private chamber, and she saw a glance flicker between them as she entered. She could sense an atmosphere, but it wasn't angry. Gilbert and Walter, her two younger brothers, were playing a dice game on the floor and a nurse was attending to her little sisters, Belle aged four, and two-year-old Sybire.

Her mother patted the bench and Mahelt came to sit in the space her parents had made for her between them. The fire embraced her with warmth. The hangings were drawn across the window shutters and the mellow glow from numerous beeswax candles made the room feel cosy and welcoming. Her mother smelled wonderfully of roses and the arm she slipped around Mahelt to cuddle her was tender and maternal. Mahelt decided her brothers were welcome to their silly game. Parental attention was better, especially if she wasn't in trouble. She thought it odd that her father was holding her floppy cloth doll in his big hands and looking at it in a pensive manner. Seeing her watching him, he put it down and smiled, but his eyes were serious.

"You remember a few weeks ago, the Christmas court at Canterbury?" he asked.

She nodded. "Yes, Papa." It had been lovely-all the feasting and dancing and celebration. She had felt so grown up, being allowed to mingle with the adults. She had been wary of King John because she knew her mother disliked him, but she thought the jewels he wore around his neck were magnificent. Sapphires and rubies, so her cousin Ela had said, all the way from Sarandib.

"You remember Hugh Bigod?"

"Yes, Papa." The heat from the fire was suddenly hot on her face. She picked up her doll and began fussing with it herself. Hugh was grown up, but he had partnered her in a circle dance, clasping her hand and winding her through the chain. Later he had organised games of hoodman blind and hunt the slipper for the younger ones, joining in himself with great enthusiasm. He had a rich singing voice and a smile that made her stomach flutter, although she didn't know why. One day he would be Earl of Norfolk.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 193 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(80)

4 Star

(68)

3 Star

(29)

2 Star

(9)

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(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 193 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 14, 2011

    This Author is AMAZING!!

    The first book I read written by Elizabeth Chadwick was a Free Friday book called The Greatest Knight. Truthfully? I was expecting a nothing book to fill times I needed to be doing something. What I read was amazing. As a historical author, Elizabeth Chadwick created a world that we have never seen. Filled with historical fact, using that information to bring life to the people she writes about. With a good 'inner eye' because of the way she writes you feel you truly know the people she writes about and the life they lived. To Defy a King delves into the live of Mahelt Marshall, daughter of William Marshall, labeled in english history as the greatest knight because of his loyalty, honesty, fairness and strong sense of family. During a time when women were honoured but not respected beyond bearing children, Mahelt stood strong to how she was raised, became partner to her husband and a strong influence to people around her.

    History come to life, with all it's excitement, sadness, drama and humor. That's what you get in this book - and any from Elizabeth Chadwick!! THANK YOU!

    34 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    great

    I was instantly immersed into this fantastic written story. Worth the time!

    20 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Highly Recommended

    This is the 4th book by Elizabeth Chadwick that I have read in the last three weeks and I was sad to part with the Marshals and Bigods when I finished. I love the huge window she opens into a very turbulent time with women who are more than chattel and men who knew the meaning of honor and chivalry. The eldest daughter of William Marshal and Isabelle deClare must have been special and this book shows her path as she winds her way from childhood as the cherished eldest daughter in the lively Marshal household through her often prickly path as a new bride, mother and chatelaine in the much more restrained Bigod household. As usual, the characters are richly drawn amid the events of King John's reign. Totally awesome!! I have been fascinated with William Marshal and his family for over 25 years, and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about him in these past four novels. I cannot wait for more of her bookis to make the transition to NOOKbooks!!

    17 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This is a great Middle Ages biographical fiction

    In 1204 daughter of renowned British knight William Marshal, fourteen year old Mahelt "Matty" Marshal marries Hugh Bigod, heir to the earldom of Norfolk in a politically arranged deal between two powerful families. Over the next few years, the pair shares a deep regard for one another that turns to love as they raise their four children.

    The serene rustic lifestyle ends for Matty and Hugh when King John begins systematically abducting her family. He arrests the heir to the Pembroke earldom, Matty's brother Will; and follows that with incarcerating her other sibling Richard. Finally King John goes after her famous father, who has made it clear he is against the monarch's avaricious stealing of land. Matty resolutely tries to get her family free while also remaining loyal to her husband and their children; not easy to achieve when contradictions and conflict are the norm.

    This is a great Middle Ages biographical fiction that enables fans of Elizabeth Chadwick to feel they are "living the history". The story line is character driven mostly by the heroine although the support cast especially her two families enhance the heroine's dilemma of being caught in the middle of rescuing her birth family and yet not endangering her married family. Readers will enjoy Matty's efforts to walk a thin red line as she knows not to waste her time pleading For the King's Favor since the Marshal kin are persona non grata, but cannot remain idly on the sidelines.

    Harriet Klausner

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 8, 2011

    Highly recommended...great sequel

    If you read the William Marshal book, The Greatest Knight, this is a continuation of the story of his daughter. Mahelt tells her story and you see the world and the world of her father through her eyes. I loved this book and wish that there were more.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Felt as if I were there!

    This author knows how to write historical fiction and back it up with facts! Obviously, she spends inordinate amounts of time researching before she writes her novels. At the end of the book, she almost tells another story about the facts and how she found them, what it means, etc. Fascinating!

    This story is of emotional power set against the road to Magna Carta and the fight to bring a tyrant king to heel. What courage it took in those days to defy a king, no matter how powerful and rich you were. Everything could be taken away, including your children, at the whim of a cruel, morally corrupt king.

    The characters were so interesting, and it thrills me to know they actually existed! Chadwick brought me to tears...and laughter, many times. I felt as if they were *my* family. That's the way I like to be affected and drawn in by characters in a book.

    Wonderful book, can't wait to read more Elizabeth Chadwick!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent Follow up to the Greatest Knight

    This book was fabulous - felt like you were stepping back in time. I loved how Chadwick continued the story of the Marshall that served the 1st King Henry and his sons. The Marshall was a key component to the success of this line of kings. Hence, his daughter was an image of him - moreso then his sons it seems. The story is longer, there are some parts of the politics that were a little over done, but overall the story is fantasic.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    Good

    Well written, obviously well researched. Not something I went tearing through either. If you like medival historical novels, you will enjoy this.,. The characters are human and flawed, a very good thing.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2011

    Another amazing spirited emotional read from Elizabeth Chadwick

    Another amazing spirited emotional read from Elizabeth Chadwick. This is a great follow up to The Scarlet Lion. This time Chadwick takes us on the journey of Mahelt Marshal (William's strong willed daughter.) If you have not read The Scarlet Lion that is OK. This is a stand alone book. If you love History and have not read Chadwick, you are missing out!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2012

    Good, but...

    Took me FOREVER to read! It wasn't bad, I just found it really easy to put down and because it didn't really captivate me until the very end, I can only give it two stars...

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2012

    Not as good as I'd hoped

    I was disappointed. The story sounded interesting, but I thought the writing rather flat and the transitions between sections was not as smooth as it could be.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2012

    Disappointing

    This book is a romance novel. Although i am sure the historical facts were correct they seem to have been thrown in as an afterthought. I had to struggle to finish it only because i had paid for it. Nook needs to reassign the genre on this one.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Interesting but shallow

    While I enjoy this time period, the style of writing by Elizabeth Chadwick is fairly shallow and unimaginative. I do have this book on my Nook, but did not finish it. I perhaps will go back to it when I have nothing else to read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2013

    Love it

    Love it

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  • Posted October 15, 2012

    Great Historical Novel

    I read The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion and then To Defy a King. These are all about the William Marshall Family. When you read these books, it is like you are transported back in time. She also pays a lot of attention to documented details. I have enjoyed all there of these books, and was sorry when they were finished.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2012

    Mahelt

    Another great book in the life and times of William Marshal! I have really enjoyed this series. If you love historical fiction you'll love this series. Best when read in order.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2012

    If you like history novels

    She has a number of books that use the same characters. I love history novels. It give you a great feel of what life was like during the time period.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    Well developed story

    a plot to chew on. believable characters. well researched

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2012

    Excellent Historical Fiction

    Very interesting for both those interested in the historical times and those looking for a goid fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012

    An interesting and worthwhile read

    I'm enjoying this book. The story is captivating and well written. This is the story of my 21st grandparents, so it personally has been verying interesting to me. The dates appear to be historically accurate; and, weaving it into an interesting emotional story makes it a worthwhile read for anyone who likes historical novels.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 193 Customer Reviews

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