Gr 4-7-A fictionalized account of one of history's greatest knights. The book opens as six-year-old William Marshal, the youngest son of an English lord, is taken captive by King Stephen in 1152. The ruler threatens to kill the child if the father does not surrender all his wealth. When the man refuses to pay the ransom, the young boy understands how society measures those who are not firstborn. From that moment on, William realizes he must learn to stand on his own and he does; first as a knight's apprentice, and then as a true and loyal knight to some of the most important rulers of the time. Tanaka weaves a fascinating tale filled with plenty of historical detail on life during this oftentimes brutal world. She draws on documents, maps, period reproductions, and other primary sources. Clear, colorful photos of sites and artifacts and original art complement the story line. Excellent organization is an added plus.-Betsy Barnett, Eads School District, CO Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.