Medieval Historical Fiction Novel of the Week

William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, KnightChampion by L. Christian Balling

Hardcover – 309 pages
Publisher – Atlantic Monthly Pr; 1st ed edition (June 1988)

Editorial Review from Publishers Weekly

The charismatic figure of William Marshal, an English soldier of fortune, has inspired epics ever since his death in the early 13th century. Balling (The Fourth Shot, Mallory’s Gambit) sketches in Marshal’s young exploits against the Saracens as a Templar in the Holy Land and then dwells on his hero’s defense and romantic pursuit of Irish heiress Isabelle de Clare when he was in his 40s and she was 18. Among other historic personalities are squire Jean d’Erly, Marshal’s first biographer; deft politician Eleanor of Aquitaine;, her wheezing old husband Henry II; and their vicious, scheming son John. When John, as Isabelle’s guardian, threatens her with rape and the seizure of her castle, Marshal rides to the rescue. But vengeful John then sets in motion a complicated maneuver involving Marshal’s old enemy, the Templars’ok Grand Master Gerard de Ridefort and King Philip of France. Balling’s research is thorough, especially regarding political machinations, armor, weaponry, horsemanship and battle scenes, but chunky textbook exposition mars the novelistic mood, especially when it comes to relationships between the sexes. Champion will nonetheless please readers with an interest in the period.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Editorial Review from Library Journal:

Recently returned to England from fighting with the Knights Templars in the Holy Land, Sir William Marshall travels to Pembroke Castle, where he discovers the Lady Isabelle de Clare besieged by the hostile forces of John, deceitful brother of Richard the Lionheart. Marshall saves the castle through single combat, champions the lady’s cause before King Henry II and the exiled Queen Eleanor, and remains at Henry’s side to fight in the aging king’s final offensive against Phillip of France. Here is a fresh retelling of a slice of medieval history, its careful depiction of the code chivalry and of political intrigue softened by the love interest between Marshall and the Lady Isabelle. Joan Hinkemeyer, Englewood P.L., Col.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

*image retrieved from www.britsattheirbest.com

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Steven

My life has been pretty simple. I grew up in Alabama and graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor's in Advertising. I have spent about the last ten years in web development. In 1998, a friend of mine and I started a web design company we ran for three or four years before deciding to close it due to the demands of school. Since then, I stayed in the web working with various companies in Alabama. I worked for a brief period with Southern Progress, namely with Southern Living magazine and Health magazine, in their web departments. While there, I also wrote for Southern Living magazine, Health.com., and the company's internal newsletter. I write as much as I can. For the last five years, I have been working on my first novel. I am on the third revision now and hope to be finished with this draft by the end of the year. I also write short fiction, though not as frequently as I used to due to the time I spend on the novel. My goal is to have my novel published in the next three years. Other interests include: History (particularly medieval and ancient civlizations), Reading, Foreign Language (I currently speak Spanish but plan to learn as many as I can), Landscape Photography, the outdoors, sports (especially college football), and Travel.

2 thoughts on “Medieval Historical Fiction Novel of the Week”

  1. I read this one and enjoyed it, but you have to take it with an enormous pinch of salt and treat it as fantasy. The historical details of what happened and who was where are frequently very wrong indeed.

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