Another winner by Elizabeth Chadwick. The Scarlet Lion is the continuing story of William Marshall found in The Greatest Knight. The Scarlet Lion continues now with William and Isabelle Marshall's family and marriage.
The story begins during the labor and delivery of the Marshall's fourth child in Normandy while William is at the service of King Richard. William has been in the service to the royal family all his adult life. He has earned their trust through time and again proven loyalty to them.
King Richard will die of a festering wound leaving no heirs to the throne. He will name his youngest brother John rather than his nephew Arthur the son of his elder brother Geoffrey his heir. This will cause dissension among the barons, some in Arthur's camp and others in Johns. William Marshall will campaign heartily along with William De Brasoe for John being King believing he is choosing the best of two evils. Arthur is a teenager and will fight for his right to be heir to the throne leading him to seek the aid of the French. Nothing goes as planned. John will end up capturing Arthur and use him as a hostage. Eventually John will kill Arthur himself and have him dumped in the Seine no one being the wiser about what happened.
The Marshall's will travel to Ireland to claim Isabelle Marshall's estate Kilkenny Castle in Leinster. Isabelle is reunited with her mother Aoiefe who is the daughter of the late King of Ireland. Aoiefe doesn't take to well to William because he is of Norman descent. She becomes a wedge in their marriage and thank goodness she doesn't live long enough to do some real damage.
Kilkenny is the place of choice for Isabelle. She wants to live and raise her children there. Can you blame her it's beautiful. However; can anything be easy for the Marshall's other than having children? Local nobility resents the fact that an English Earl is now their overlord, and will stir up trouble and rebellion from the beginning.
The Marshall's family will grow to 10 children and they will move back and forth from Wales to Ireland to England. They will have joy and sorrow as all families. William and Isabelle will grow older physically and wiser, but will remain in love and devoted to each other through-out. There will times that will heavily strain their marriage. Isabelle will not understand how William can completely serve King John knowing how evil and manipulative John is. William will remain true to his character through-out his life and men and women will hold his name in reverence, a man of integrity.
The characters are richly portrayed. I was transported back in time, truly feeling how it must of been to raise a family in the Middle Ages. Ms. Chadwick's descriptions never went over the top, they were just enough to get her point across and I as a reader really appreciate that.
I really enjoyed all the labors and deliveries especially of their seventh child Sybrie. Sybrie is my 26th great grandmother so it was really fun reading about her. I know it was a fictional account of the birth but really well done.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but I do recommend you read The Greatest Knight first, it will just make this story all the more enjoyable. Ms. Chadwick has a marvelous writing style that transports you right into the story. I look forward to reading A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick which is actually the prequell to The Greatest Knight, about John Marshall, William's father.
Don't miss out on the opportunity to win the HFBRT Chadwick Event giveaway of The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion.