Monday, April 3, 2017

Audio Review: A Place Beyond Courage (William Marshal #1) by Elizabeth Chadwick

Sometimes Keeping Your Honor Means Breaking Your Word 

The early twelfth century is a time for ambitious men to prosper. John FitzGilbert is a man of honor and loyalty, sworn to royal service. When the old king dies, his successor rewards the handsome and ambitious John with castles and lands.

But King Stephen has a tenuous hold on both his reign and his barons, and when jealous rivals at court seek to destroy John, he backs a woman's claim to the crown, sacrifices his marriage, and eventually is forced to make a gamble that is perhaps one step too far.





545 pages 
Published September 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks Landmark
 (first published October 4th 2007)
audiobook  16 hours and 31 minutes
*****


I was first introduced to John FitzGilbert the Marshall and always wondered who this man was that gave the famous 'anvil and hammer' speech. If you are not familiar with it I won't recite as it would be a spoiler for this book.  Suffice to say his reputation was greatly tarnished because of it.  

The year is 1130 when King Henry I is on the throne, but not for long, England is about to enter a dark period in history since the King dies with no male heir.  As the battle for the crown ensues John FitzGilbert's story comes to life.  He needs a wife and heirs himself while at the same time John must also decide who to support, the usurper Stephen or the King's daughter Matilda. I loved the way John's character was portrayed here, I got to know him, feel his drive, struggles and understand his motivation.  It was a dangerous time and one had to be careful with each move you made, decisions had to be made with little time to think and the consequences could be deadly.

The reading world is dominated with female protagonists and this book is a refreshing change.  It just goes to show that you can still get a great story with all the some elements as with a female lead - action, romance, political intrigue and be thoroughly entertained.  

Elizabeth Chadwick is a favorite of mine, her writing seems to revolve around this time period and it's one I enjoy reading.  She brings history to life with interesting research methods that bring forth books that I find captivating and I can't help but get immersed.  The author notes goes into detail about her motivation for writing this book and other facts in history about John and the times.

This was an audio read for me, Peter Wickham is the reader and he does a great job.

I highly recommend this one to those that love a romp through Medieval England.



I received a physical copy of this book from Sourcebooks but the audio version is from my personal library.

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