Imagine a father putting up his 5 year old son as collateral for a bargain being made to a King, and if he doesn't fulfill his part, his son will be hanged. Can't imagine this, well it's true. William Marshall was just that child, and his father failed in his part of the bargain with King Stephen, bragging that what is his child's life to him after all he still had "his hammer and anvils to produce another one".
King Stephen, fully prepared to keep his word and hang young William recognizes something tenacious and noble about the little guy and spares his life. William will grow up being a squire to the great knights and learns the trade very well. He will become a knight that truly adheres to the chivalrous code.
He becomes a part of King Henry II's household pledging his loyalty to the royal family. He is put in charge of teaching and preparing the heir, young Henry, to be King. He pledges his word and life to this young man being there through the good and bad, and at his bed side when the young heir dies of camp fever. He will travel to the Holy Land to bow at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem to keep his pledge he gave to the dying Henry to ask for forgiveness in his behalf for his sins.
Through-out this story William will time and time again prove his loyalty and integrity. He is no bottom kisser for sure. Ms. Chadwick has done a marvelous job of portraying a man, a very good man, not a god that no one can relate to, but a man of flesh and blood. A man that is kind, funny, focused and passionate. In truth one HOT guy that every woman would desire.
I likened him to:
Russell Crowe as Maximus Mel Gibson as William Wallace Clive Owen as King Arthur
His character made me think of the song I Need a Hero from Shreck 2. Went on an YouTube search for a music video and found this:
Ms. Chadwick has now become one of my top 5 favorite Historical Fiction authors. I loved every chapter and that is saying a lot considering it is 529 pages. The book has it all: drama, comedy, adventure, intrigue, and romance. Treat yourself, get the book and go on a three day reading vacation. You will be transported back in time with a man that is larger than life.
This Sunday begins HFBRT The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick Event. Don't miss it. The Scarlet Lion (the continuing story of William Marshall) is another gem.