Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

The Greatest Knight/The Scarlet Lion

User avatar
EC2
Bibliomaniac
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Postby EC2 » Mon January 30th, 2012, 1:28 pm

"Saxon1974" wrote:I just finished "The Greatest Knight". Quite an enjoyable read but there was one aspect I didn't love. I realize that I am probably going to get flamed for posting anything like that :)


Hiya, I'm replying on here cos I'm a member and everyone knows me, and cos it seems appropriate even though you won't find me doing the comment stuff elsewhere online. It's a fine line between adding insights and being intrusive.



This is merely my opinion though as all readers like different things.

Things I did like:

-I really enjoy Chadwick's easy reading style and ability to draw me into the medieval world and this book was no different in this area.

-I really enjoyed learning about this remarkable man and couldn't believe he was honorable enough to stick to his guns for loyalty as he did.


I think that sometimes loyalty went hand in glove with self-interest, I have certainly come to see that about him as I've continued to research - I didn't leave William and his family behind when I finished the novel; they are an ongoing project. I would say that with the above first line caveat of 'sometimes' on most occasions he does appear to have been intensely loyal. You choose one lord, you serve one lord and lead by example. The dodgy dealing over his French lands in The Scarlet Lion is a bit more of a grey area, and I think as he matured he learned to stand firm for what he was worth to kings.

-I realize his life is so full of details that writing a novel about him couldn't be easy and I thought Chadwick did a very nice job of this with having to span large gaps of time between some chapters. It felt pretty seamless.


Urggh, that was such a bane. I would really like to have written more - particulary on the chevauchee of the 1173 war but I was constrained by the contract to word count, so had to pick and choose what to write - ideally I'd have included much more.
-Thought she did a very nice job portraying the English royal family and they seemed consistent with every thing I have read about them.

-Seem very historically accurate (As much as I know about the subject)


Thank you - I did my best.

The one aspect that I didnt love:

I felt like the book had WAY to much about his familial life with his wife\concubine and the royal court political discussions. It felt like this was 80% of the book. Now I realize he really was a big part of English court politics of the time but it really felt like there were pages and pages and pages of it. I am a male reader however and I realize that my interest is more in his tourney and military career. I don't dislike familial details but would have just liked a bit less of it. I would have liked the book better if it was closer to 50/50. :)


This is where the personal taste comes in. :) I have reviews saying 'too much fighting, not enough romance.' And others saying the opposite.


There were many times in the book where I felt like the book was building up to an interesting castle siege and then I turn the page and he is back with his wife and tells her how the siege went in a few sentences after the fact. I felt like the book had a good start with the battle at Drincourt and some early tourney's but it felt like he really quickly become this great tourney champion without really showing us why he was so good. Same thing with his military skills.


Part of this is down to wrestling with word count and part of it again, is down to personal taste. There are several wonderful incidents from the Histoire de Guillame le Mareschal I had to leave out because there just wasn't the room.

Anyway, I hope I don't offend by posting my opinion as that's all it is...an opinion.


Absolutely not - thank you for your input!

I have read quite a few of Chadwick's books and really enjoy them even though some tend to vere too far into the romance category.

Cheers and keep them coming Ms. Chadwick! (Although I wish there were less Romancy covers for the newer ones) ;)


I keep telling them re the romancey covers but horse to water and all that. We are doing a reshoot in the UK of TGK, The Scarlet Lion, A Place Beyond Courage and The Time of Singing, but I don't know what will come of it.
My earlier novels do tend to veer more towards the romance side. I always say (beer glass being half full, not half empy!) that there's something for everyone. :)
Thanks!
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

User avatar
Saxon1974
Scribbler

Postby Saxon1974 » Tue January 31st, 2012, 3:53 am

Thanks for the response Mrs. Chadwick! It's not often you get a response directly from an author so that's a neat thing for me.

I'm glad your not offended by my comment on the romance vs military content. I kind of figured you were getting demands from both sides and since your early books lean more towards romance I would bet alot of your fans like the romancy parts. It's funny because I didn't get this feeling as much from Lords of the White Castle which is my favorite by you so far and If I remember correct that one had quite a bit of romance in it no? I even loaned that one to my Dad to read since he likes historical fiction as well.

"EC2" wrote:I keep telling them re the romancey covers but horse to water and all that. We are doing a reshoot in the UK of TGK, The Scarlet Lion, A Place Beyond Courage and The Time of Singing, but I don't know what will come of it.
My earlier novels do tend to veer more towards the romance side. I always say (beer glass being half full, not half empy!) that there's something for everyone. :)
Thanks!


Oh, good to know, if I like the new covers better I will buy TGK and Scarlet Lion again. I have not read APBC or TOS yet, but I will probably read APBC because I believe that one is about Marshals father so sounds interesting. I am in the USA but I will order a book from amazon uk even if it costs a bit more if I like the edition better.

"EC2" wrote:I think that sometimes loyalty went hand in glove with self-interest, I have certainly come to see that about him as I've continued to research - I didn't leave William and his family behind when I finished the novel; they are an ongoing project. I would say that with the above first line caveat of 'sometimes' on most occasions he does appear to have been intensely loyal. You choose one lord, you serve one lord and lead by example. The dodgy dealing over his French lands in The Scarlet Lion is a bit more of a grey area, and I think as he matured he learned to stand firm for what he was worth to kings.!


Interesting..I would hope that he believed in honor and loyalty in his heart but then realized it was a "valuable" asset to the royals as he grew more experienced. As he became more famous he did have more lands and more support from barons so that would make sense that he would have more chips to bargain with. This being said I just started reading the Scarlet Lion, looking forward to it.

This book also really made me think about King John. In my early days I used to think he was not "that bad" of a king and this was just a creation of the Robin Hood tale but the more I read and learn about him he sure does come across as a nasty character in some ways. But as in most things real life and not fairy tales, it was more a shade of grey with some good and some bad. I read in the Medieval Warfare magazine about how his nephew Arthur of Brittany was never seen again after being held captive by John after the battle of Mirebeau. After reading TGK I think it's definitely possible John was responsible for his death! I am going to guess some of those events are in the Scarlet Lion though so I hope I didn't spoil anyting for anyone.

I also wonder if John had not lost the French lands if he would be remembered differently by history. I would imagine that loss would have been seen as a big blow to English royalty of the time.

I will give an impression after the Scarlet Lion after I read it.

Cheers
Last edited by Saxon1974 on Tue January 31st, 2012, 4:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Tue January 31st, 2012, 3:22 pm

I really like to hear honest, heartfelt criticism, even against authors that are favorites of mine. I find it interesting to see how author readers can bring their own thoughts and life experiences into a book and see it in a completely different way than I did.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

User avatar
Saxon1974
Scribbler

Postby Saxon1974 » Tue January 31st, 2012, 6:05 pm

"Misfit" wrote:I really like to hear honest, heartfelt criticism, even against authors that are favorites of mine. I find it interesting to see how author readers can bring their own thoughts and life experiences into a book and see it in a completely different way than I did.


I agree, but I was a bit hesitant to post any criticism as I usually like to say "If you don't have anything good to say don't say anything at all".

Plus I have knew that Mrs. Chadwick posts on here so didn't want to give offense. I figured how does one really know how readers feel if honest opinions are not given? She is one of my favorite authors as well so I wanted to give my honest opinions instead of just unabashed praise. If I didn't like her books I wouldn't be posting on here.

Oh man right after I posted about arthur last night I read that chapter in the Scarlet Lion. Man oh man that part was hard to read. I felt so sorry for the poor boy. Having a young son myself made it even more sad and despicable.

User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: Heavenfield by L J Ross & Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Postby Madeleine » Wed February 1st, 2012, 9:56 am

Yep I was going to warn you about that bit....!
Currently reading "Heavenfield" by L J Ross & "Lost for Words" by Stephanie Butland


Return to “Elizabeth Chadwick”