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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Review: The Scarlett Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical fiction
Trade Paperback, 576 pages
Book Source: Sourcebooks publishing

From Sourcebooks:

A page-turning novel of honor, intrigue, treachery, and love, continuing the story of England's greatest knight of the Middle Ages, William Marshal. By 1197 William Marshal's prowess with a sword and loyalty with his heart have been rewarded by the hand in marriage of Isabelle de Clare—heiress to great estates— and their brood is growing. But their contentment and security is shattered when King Richard dies. Forced down a precarious path by the royal injustices of the vindictive King John, the Marshals teeter on a razor-thin line of honor that threatens to tear apart the very heart of their family. This novel can stand alone from Elizabeth’s first US release, The Greatest Knight.

My Thoughts:

Oh Miss Chadwick. I tried! I really, really tried! So many of my blog friends love you to pieces, and devour your books. That's why I wanted to read this one. I got to page 185 and put it down for a bit. I was a bit bored with Marshal, his wife, and passel of children. I read another book and tried to come back to the Lion, but again, no interest. I could have cared less what happened to these characters.

But the funny thing is, I do want to read the beginning of their the story, The Greatest Knight. It sounds much more exciting than the Scarlett Lion. More action and intrigue to be had. I wanted to read the Greatest Knight first but couldn't fit it in. Could that be why I was not that vested in these characters? Possibly, but I was able to pick up their story no problem. I didn't feel I was lacking any background information.

I did skim through the remainder of the book and see that the story covers many years. Marshal sees several of his children married with families of their own. Marshal also finally gets the recognition he truly deserves. I won't give any more away than that. You can say I read the end of the book.

As with any novel, Chadwick's historical details and side characters are impeccably described. The battles, scenery, ailments, childbirth (said shivering) are described so as to firmly place the reader into the story. King John is swarmy, filthy, and just down right nasty. It is the perfect contrast to the goodness and honesty of Marshal.

A fellow reviewer friend of mine said she enjoys the Chadwick books about fictional people better then the real people. Therefore that will be what I choose the next time I want to read a Chadwick novel. The woman is prolific and wrote over 15 books. Her books are not small either people. I'm sure there is something there that will amuse me.

Other bloggers have read this book and enjoyed it. I've provided you links to other reviews as a counterpoint to my review:

Long and Short Reviews

She Read a Book

Laura's Reviews

Historical Tapestry

Also, please make sure you stop by Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table the week of March 21-27. They will have more reviews and articles about this book.

My Rating: n/a. I don't feel as if I can. I didn't finish the book, and didn't want to. Enough said.

Oh, and here is who I pictured as King John, but maybe a bit dirtier:

This was from Robin Hood on BBC America, which has been cancelled. But I highly recommend watching all of the seasons anyway.

Thank you to Danielle from Sourcebooks for my review and giveaway copy. Yes, giveaway copy. Stop back later for details.


Daphne said...

I'm so sorry to hear you didn't enjoy the book but I hope you'll try one of her other books.
My husband and I loved the BBC Robin Hood series and are so bummed the third season is the last - but the guy who plays King John is priceless in that role. He's exactly how I pictured him!

Trisha said...

It's so sad when a book doesn't work out, especially if it's an author or a genre that you really were interested in.

Thanks for the tv series recommendation; I just got through Torchwood and I needed a new show!

Blodeuedd said...

Truth be told, I LOVE Chadwick...BUT the greatest Knight, could not get into it, didn't really care for anyone, so I fear I would feel the same about this one

Unknown said...

I really think you might have a different opinion if you had read The Greatest Knight first. Even though they say it can be a stand-alone, I'm glad I took the advice and read TGK first - otherwise you are jumping in on the middle of their stories and don't have as much care for the family. I feel like The Scarlet Lion is not quite as good as TGK. I'm sorry it wasn't great for you.

Anonymous said...

I hate it when I have to abandon a book!

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