(2 book Giveaway!) A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick

Honor and loyalty like water..

A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick
Sourcebooks USA edition September 1, 2012
{Published October 4th 2007 by Sphere UK}
Review copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:Four Stars

My other Chadwick reviews:
The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick (2010, 4 stars)
The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick (2010, 4.5 stars)
Lady of the English by Elizabeth Chadwick (2011, 5 stars)*Favorited!
To Defy A King by Elizabeth Chadwick (2011, 4.5 stars)

The early twelfth century is a time for ambitious men to prosper, and royal servant John FitzGilbert Marshal is one of them. Raised high as the kin of the deceased King Henry battle each other for England’s throne, John reaps rich rewards but pays a terrible price for the choices he makes – as do his family. His wife, fragile, naïve Aline is hopelessly unequipped to cope with the demands of a life lived on the edge and, when John is seriously injured in battle, her worst nightmare is realised. Sybilla, bright, forthright sister to the Earl of Salisbury, finds herself used as a bargaining counter when her brother seeks to seal a truce with his troublesome neighbour, John FitzGilbert. And then there is Sybilla’s small son, William, seized hostage by the King for John’s word of honour. But sometimes keeping your honour means breaking your word.

Previous releases by Elizabeth Chadwick such as The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion chronicle the honorable William Marshal and his family during times of war and unrest in the 12th century. Stepping back a bit, A Place Beyond Courage is the story of William’s parents, John and Sybilla Marshal. The period is a harsh one, with the battle for the throne of England that lasted for many years, costing many lives and giving families little security. The one hope was for the future: young Henry FitzEmpress could take it over from King Stephen if England could just hold on for that long. This was an era that was aptly named in Sharon Kay Penman’s novel When Christ and His Saints Slept.

Elizabeth Chadwick is a master at this period and meticulously researches her material, and presents the story eloquently and passionately. The characters this time around however took awhile to ingratiate themselves, as John Fitzgilbert (Marshal) seemed all too eager to throw his word away, yet so was every one else when it came to the oath to the FitzEmpress. John’s first wife Aline is also a major figure for the first half of the book, and she was not someone to be admired. She was the opposite in character traits that a hardened man like John needed, and she could never evoke any sympathy from me. Several times over the narration explained that the marriage between Aline and John was one of little rapport and that they only coupled to beget that heir etc. Once Aline was out of the picture I was able to enjoy the story more, as Sybilla became John’s new wife and thus the story held a lot more hope. Sybilla was a strong young woman and perfect helpmate to John. Babies were born, and along came William whom we know from the other works of Chadwick’s. When we get to the part about William becoming a hostage under King Stephen, I cried. And when William came back alive (as we knew he would), I cried then too.

The rest of the story filled in the political pieces of the horrible era before young Henry Fitzempress became King and was full of battles, trebuchets, uneasy nobles and alliances that were made and broken over and over again. Fair warning, there was a bit more sexual content than I remembered from the previous books. If you are a newbie to the era, the many names and castles could be a little confusing yet a perfect beginner’s start to the period, but for the seasoned reader of the era it is a rehashing of the events with the main story coming from the outlook of John Marshal. Little William definitely stole the show here too, though. He is still my favorite knight!

Courtesy of the publisher Sourcebooks, they are giving away A Place Beyond Courage AND The Greatest Knight!!

Please comment here with your email address, and let me know what 12th Century reads you have enjoyed! US & Canada only please. Giveaway ends September 3rd 2012.

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23 Comments

Filed under 12th Century, 2012 Releases, 2012 Review, Elizabeth Chadwick

23 responses to “(2 book Giveaway!) A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick

  1. I love the 12th century. When Christ and His Saints Slept is a wonderful novel. The Morning Gift by Diana Norman (although hard to find) is another great one. And I've enjoyed the Brother Cadfael mysteries set in this era. Thanks for the giveaway.lcbrower40(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. I haven't read much in the 12th century – I was stuck on the Tudors for a loooong time, but I think the closest I got was When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Key Penman. I love that author, but have heard great thins about this one too!Great giveaway and good luck to everyone!jeskimo.kimono@gmail.cmom

  3. I don't need to enter as I just reviewed this one. I felt it was a touch slow at the start too and Aline drove me up a wall!

  4. I read and loved To Defy a King, as well as Lady of the English. So I'd love more Chadwick to satisfy the 12th century craving!!Thanks for the giveaway! allisonmharper@hotmail.com

  5. Oh I know!! It was getting a bit too much and if Sybilla hadn't come into the picture, I was going to be eye rolling the whole way through.

  6. I haven't gotten to the 12th century in my reading yet and I'm actually slowly working my way backward from the Tudor era. I'm almost finished Katherine by Anya Seton (which is incredible) and this is probably one of the only novels set in medieval I've ever read. I'm excited to branch out from my tudor roots and these novels look exciting!

  7. Oooh, these sound good — I have at least one Chadwick novel I haven't yet read — but everyone raves about her books. I don't mind me some sexiness in novels (sometimes I rather like it! ;)) — I'm trying to think if Anya Seton's Avalon is set in the 12th century — maybe? Or around that time (by a few hundred years, you know) — it's on my mind since I'm reading a Viking novel set in 9th century — also not 12th century, I know, but closer than some of the hist novels I'm reading! Thanks for the wonderful review and giveaway!unabridgedchick at gmail.com

  8. Jen

    I love the other Elizabeth Chadwicks books. My favorite being Shadows and Strongholds. If there is such a thing as a book boyfriend, Brunin is it. I also like The Champion and The Conquest (11th Century though).

  9. I haven't read much 12th century but I would love to read these. Thanks!Margaretsingitm(at)hotmail(dot)com

  10. Apart from Brother Cadfael I've read a smattering of 12 century books, but nothing springs to mind as a recommendation. Elizabeth Chadwick comes well recommended by Goodreaders, so I'd be happy to win these books. janesteen(AT)hotmail(DOT)com

  11. I read Time & chance by Sharon Kay Penman years ago – beautiful. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett I absolutely adore – read it like 3 times. I started Baudolino by Umberto Eco, but it just wasn't the right time for me to get sucked into it. I'm not sure Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay was 12th century, but I put it here because it was such a very good book. nrlymrtl [at] gmail [dot] com

  12. Have become totally engrossed with British history since "The Other Boleyn Girl" movie. And, having read and watched Pillars of the Earth, and read "When Christ and His Saints Slept" both fantastic reads/watch, I've been stocking my library with many books by different authors and created a chonological list of those books, trying to read in as much a correct sequence as possible. I'm reading Ariana Franklins "Mistress of Death" series, which although it includes historical references it is really independant mysteries about a non-royal Italian female forensics expert who Henry II uses to solve crimes in 12th century England. Not deeply pertinant to historical reading, but valuable for the living conditions and insight of the populace of the time. Would love to find and read more about the 12th century before moving on up the chronological ladder. Thanks!Stitchintime@t6b.com

  13. Have read and loved several of Ms Chadwick's books, also like Sharon Penman,Susan Higginbotham,Philippa Gregory, Ken Follet.

  14. That's a tough question for me. I don't recall any books about the 12th century that I would have read recently. I would like to get a copy of this one though. Thanks for making that possible. carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

  15. Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth and I loved it. I need to get the sequel. Thanks for a chance at what looks like a great book.catslady5(at)aol.com

  16. Lady of the English by Elizabeth Chadwick is one of my all time favorites. When Christ And His Saints Slept and Time And Chance by Sharon Kay Penman are on my TBR stack. I bought them back in June and am slowly making my way to them. Penman's Here Be Dragons was such a good read so I'm sure these two will be also. I'm such a medieval lover, the Plantagenets being my favorite. I have such a deep inner pull toward that era that I wouldn't be surprised had my soul lived then.Thank you for the post and giveaway. Two wonderful books by Chadwick. I'll be crossing my fingers, toes, and anything else crossable. 🙂

  17. I forgot to add my e-mail.leahweller(at)bellsouth(dot)com

  18. Looks like it's a popular one here, but I have to say The Pillars of the Earth too. It's one of my top ten faves of all time and will be a definite re-read for me someday. Thanks for the giveaway!truebookaddictATgmailDOTcom

  19. To be honest I can't think of a favorite book set in the 12th century at the moment! I tend to read more about a couple hundred years later and beyond :). I would love to get a start with these books though! Thanks for the review and giveaway!candc320@gmail.com

  20. Thanks for the great giveaway. I've never read a 12th century novels.Thanks,Terri C.niteofblu at gmail dot com

  21. The Pillars of the Earth is by far, my favorite read, to date!!!thank you for this giveaway!!!cyn209 at juno dot com

  22. I really enjoy Sharon Kay Penman's books and I LOVE Elizabeth Chadwick. My favorite of hers is "To Defy a King". Liz @ quietlyimpudent@yahoo.com

  23. I have this waiting for me on my shelf; I can't wait to read it! On Wednesday I am officially done with the semester, so I think I shall dive into it then 🙂 Thanks for the review!

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