Review: A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick

A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick
Series:  William Marshal (# 1)
Re-release Date: September 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pages:  528
Source:  book provided by the publisher for review

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.

Rich with detail, masterful in its storytelling, A Place Beyond Courage is a tale of impossible gambles and the real meaning of honor.


Review:  We find ourselves in the 12th Century where a civil war is taking place.  This story takes us from the present to the past as only Ms. Chadwick is able to do.  Doing away with the musty old history books and bringing history alive with her way with the little details, the showing of dark realism instead of romanticizing things.

When reading about how John Fitzgerald (Marshal) the father of probably one of the greatest knights William Marshal got his start.  Most time we hear of William Marshal were Ms. Chadwick gives us a look or should I say a prequel of sorts into how William got his start and what a better way than with his father.

John was married to a woman named Aline at first more of convenience or appearance than anything.  This marriage was not the match for John.  He wanted or needed more spark.  Once he made an alliance with Matilda he fell for fiery Sybilla and this is where we find the passion he so wanted.  During their marriage she gave John children of which one was William.

Because of the small details I enjoyed this much more than I would have otherwise.  The life, breath, courage, love, action all became real through the showing of life during this period in history.  With little effort at all we are taken into another time.  As if we were time travelers getting a glimpse at the past.

Ms. Chadwick has a way with developing characters, helping them to grow, and bond with each other through the scenes.  Each interaction is precise making it so real.

Kudos for Ms. Chadwick’s telling of the past making it come alive and not sugar coating it.  This series is well written and very entertaining for all those of us who enjoy the romance of the period or the history.  A great book for not only women but men also.