Review: The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick

by Elizabeth Chadwick

Regular readers of this blog are sure to know about my literary love for Elizabeth Chadwick novels. So, it was with great delight that I settled in to read about the next chapter in William Marshall’s life, in The Scarlet Lion. 

The Scarlet Lion covers the latter half of William’s life, where he is once again thrust into a role he would rather not play, but where his sense of honor and duty compel him to act. When King Richard I dies William is one of the first to pledge his loyalty to the new king, John. But John doesn’t have any liking for William and makes sure he knows it. William has to walk a very thin line with John and his infamous Angevin temper.

Meanwhile at home, Isabelle is continually in the birthing chamber as their brood expands to 10. Yet, she is aching to go back to her homeland of Ireland and to reclaim her de Clare family inheritance. This issue will serve as a point on contention and even rift in their otherwise tight marriage.

And those aren’t the only lands that the Marshalls are fighting for. As William has lands in both Normandy and England, he is in between a rock and a hard place when King Philip of France asks William to pay homage to him for his land in France, which would mean that William would have to fight for the French if there were ever a war between the two countries. Needless to say, King John doesn’t much like this and if there was ever a king you should not piss off, it would be King John. We’ve all heard of the Angevin temper, but John takes it to a whole other level – he is just plain evil and there were many times I wanted to jump through the pages and just throttle him. I was kinda hoping EC would throw in a scene where Isabelle would lay him out flat with one punch!

While not as action packed as The Greatest Knight, unless you count all the action on the marriage bed and then the birthing chamber, it is none the less engrossing and entertaining. William and Isabelle are great fun to read about and I am so glad that I had the chance to know about their lives.

Brilliantly weaving a strong plot line, historical accuracy, depth of character and dialogue filled with intelligence and wit, is why Elizabeth Chadwick novels is one of the very best of historical fiction authors.

FCC:  I acquired this book with my hard-earned money, so there!

Have you entered the GIVEAWAY for both copies of The Greatest Knight AND The Scarlet Lion?  Click HERE to enter.  Everyone is welcome and it ends on March 27th.




  1. When Will I be able to get this author's book!! Sounds like a gr8 book Amy!

  2. Hi Veens...this book was released on March 1st so it's available at bookstores OR enter our giveaway and you can win both William Marshall books!

  3. Definitely agree it was a great book on a forgotten hero! I enjoyed both of the books very much. Great review, Amy!

  4. I'm reading this now and am really enjoying it. I'm looking forward to Mahelt's adventures, too, even if I have to wait until 2011 to read about them!

  5. Reading all of our reviews (so far) it looks like we pretty much have the same opinions on the book :)

  6. yay! I've only got three books to get through and then I'm reading this one! It's been so hard not to pick it up and start reading it. Love that William!

  7. After reading so much about Chadwick and hearing how much people love her books, I went out and grabbed a copy of The Winter Mantle, and I am really excited about starting it! Great review, I have a feeling I will be trying to add more of her books into my collection!

  8. Thanks for the lovely review Amy!
    And you have NO IDEA how hard it was to fit birthing all those ten children into the novel - LOL. Every 18 months or so I had to mention yet another addition to the brood as Isabelle produced yet another one. By my reckoning William was 64 when his last child was born! Could have been worse I guess. I could have written about Maude de Braose and she had 16!
    All best
    Elizabeth :-)

  9. I'm so glad that I took your advice and started reading Chadwick's books. I agree that TSL did have less action than TGK but it was much more of a character driven book and I loved them so much!

  10. Don't you kind of wish you were on the receiving end of some of that action?!

  11. I really enjoyed this book as well - great review!

  12. Great reasons as far as why Chadwick is your favorite. Loved the review Amy we all love him.

  13. Hahah - Love EC's comment. Makes me think of the Beatles' song "When I'm 64"!

    I loved this book and I, too, am so glad that I finally had the opportunity to read one of Elizabeth Chadwick's highly acclaimed books. She surely did not disappoint and lived up to all the hype (a seldom accomplished feat!). Another great review, Amy!


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