A Place Beyond Courage

A Place Beyond Courage The Early Twelfth Century Is A Time For Ambitious Men To Prosper, And Royal Servant John FitzGilbert Is One Of Them But When The Old King Dies And His Successor Is Appointed, John Faces A Terrible Choice He Must Join The Rival Faction His Enemies Or Risk Losing Everything His New Wife Helps Him Carry His Burden, But His Final Choice Will Seal Not Only Her Fate, But Those Of His Young Children As The Fight For England S Crown Enters A New Phase, John May Be Forced To Make A Terrible Sacrifice

Best selling historical novelist Elizabeth Chadwick won a Betty Trask Award for her first novel The Wild Hunt She has been shortlisted for the UK s mainstream Best Romantic Novel of the Year Award 4 times and longlisted twice Her novel The Scarlet Lion about the great William Marshal and his wife Isabelle de Clare, has been selected by Richard Lee, founder of the Historical Novel Society as one

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  • Hardcover
  • 544 pages
  • A Place Beyond Courage
  • Elizabeth Chadwick
  • English
  • 02 January 2018
  • 9781847440518

10 thoughts on “A Place Beyond Courage

  1. says:

    22 Pearl Ruled p108 Rating 2 of fiveThe Publisher Says The early twelfth century is a time for ambitious men to prosper, and royal servant John FitzGilbert is one of them But when the old king dies and his successor is appointed, John faces a terrible choice he must join the rival faction his enemies or risk losing everything His new wife helps him carry his burden, but his final choice will seal not only her fate, but those of his young children As the fight for England s crown enters a new phase, John may be forced to make a terrible sacrifice My Review I know you re all familiar with the Mary Rose, Henry VIII s sunken battleship, and the mystery surrounding her loss in the Battle of the Solent in 1545 That s the kind of audience I attract, all five of y all.So when I say I foundered like the Mary Rose, I know y all will instantly picture a mighty carrack, gunports hazed in smoke, bravely firing upon the hated French Navy s galleys, when suddenly the vast edifice heels to starboard, takes on water, and vanishes beneath the waves.Aline laid her cheek against his breast and struggled not to weep He had said he wanted her to be steadfast Thank you, my lord, thank you Above her, she heard him sigh He tilted up her chin, kissed her damp cheek, then sought a fresh tunic She saw him note the jumbled state of the coffer contents, but he said nothing Aline dug her fingernails into the palms of her hands, and swore to try harder p108, US softcover edition The mighty ship of my pleasure in history, and in historical fiction, sank beneath the waves of the River Lethe, as all memory of consciousness and its cares and woes leaked from my snoring, drooling mouth This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  2. says:

    Chadwick never fails to deliver This is a prequel of sorts to The Greatest Knight, and is the story of John FitzGilbert, the father of William Marshal The story takes place amidst the backdrop of England s civil war between Henry s daughter Matilda and her cousin Stephen who usurped her crown, as John tries to juggle his perilous position between the two rivals for the crown John s first marriage to Aline the best he could make at the time in his position does not fare well as she is weak of mind as well as spirit, and when he chooses to side with Matilda he makes a advantageous marriage with Sybilla, who bears John several children including William The characterization of John started from a cat that always lands on his feet to a loving husband and father, facing the most difficult decision of his life The author did a marvelous job of bringing John, Aline and Sybilla to life, and most especially young William I was totally entranced at the way William was portrayed, from his exuberant first word to his innocent knowledge of the danger he was in whilst being held hostage by King Stephen While this is not a page turning, sit on the edge of your seat, action filled novel, I was thoroughly entertained throughout As always with Chadwick s books, the way she brings the medieval period to life in such a graceful and effortless way, be it the sights, sounds, smells, food, clothes and battles is just awesome As quoted on some of her book jackets, the next best thing to time travel Five stars.

  3. says:

    The first book from the William Marshal series, A Place Beyond Courage tells us the story of John FitzGilbert and his struggles to keep his life, family and court position safe from the chaos brought about by the civil war.The story starts with John FitzGilbert acting as King Henry I s marshal, an important royal position that he holds with efficiency and skill His late father, despite his minor family background, had secured the position out of hard work, cunning and the king s good graces, and he intends to uphold the same for his heir Then, the king dies and the claim to the throne by rival factions Stephen and Matilda nephew and daughter of Henry I, respectively results in a brutal and protracted civil war in 12th century England known as the Anarchy John initially swears his allegiance to Stephen who has usurped the crown, but defects to Empress Matilda later on His marriage to Aline Pipard, who in the book is meek, fretful and does not have the backbone to stand beside him in the most trying times of his political career, has proven lackluster and tedious, and with the hard times ahead, he needed a wife who will not just be loyal and dutiful in giving him heirs but will also serve as a partner through and through That prospect came with his second marriage to Sybilla of Salisbury Although the union was done out of tactical alliance, it has proven to be an auspicious affiliation with Sybilla s dependable stance and sharp intellect She bears him six children, one of whom is William Marshal He will be later known in England as the greatest knight that ever lived.When King Stephen besieges him at Newbury Castle, he has to hand in William, then five years old, as a royal hostage and a symbol of good faith that he will yield the castle on the agreed time However, John, long determined not to surrender, has used the standoff period to fortify his defenses and notify the empress of the siege When the king has learned of John s duplicity, he threatens to kill young William by hanging or burning John replies that he does not care what happens to the child as he still has the hammer and the anvil to forge better sons Fortunately, the king is not one to harbor grudges against innocent children and allows William to live When a peace treaty between Stephen and Henry II Empress Matilda s son is brokered and begins to have a solid framework, William is finally allowed to return home to his family.While this is the first book from the series, I actually read it last, following the hype of good reviews on the subsequent William Marshal books particularly The Greatest Knight and the advice of one reviewer that it can be a standalone novel John FitzGilbert was only given a page or two in the other books describing him as pragmatic and hard hearted, and after reading his hammer and anvil speech in The Greatest Knight, I was certainly displeased by him That is why I m glad to have read this book because it reveals the tender side of John and explains why he is so callous and unbending on the surface.Of course, we can t truly say if the actual John FitzGilbert bore the same likeable trait or gave much thought about the emotional roller coaster his family had experienced, but the appeal of historical fiction is not just in its ability in creating a believable picture of real events but also in conjuring up real like feelings or thoughts from historical individuals I kept thinking did the real John truly feel remorse for his hammer and anvil analogy and for letting others believe that his son was expendable to him Did he truly nearly break at the sight of his son suspended on a trebuchet Did he actually consider how privileged he was for having a strong and resilient wife in Sybilla Well, we ll never know unless there are written proofs of these musings, but this is exactly where Elizabeth Chadwick comes in and shows us her expertise in drawing plausible emotions from her characters I think developing the characters traits and making them look believable to the readers is her biggest asset.Also, I think every Elizabeth Chadwick book is like a magical door that easily leads us back to the olden times It s like the great distance between some 850 years past and the present is suddenly made penetrable by the compelling way she recounts historical events And she s so good at it that whenever I read her novel it feels like I have breached that gap to then and now and found myself face to face with these historical personalities I think I am bound to be trapped in the medieval period for a long, long time.

  4. says:

    A Place Beyond Courage is a novel of John FitzGilbert John Marshal In the year 1130 John is a royal marshal to King Henry I young he may be, but through his courage and cunning he earned his stripes and respect and men knew not to mess with him As royal marshal, John was the gate keeper to the king if you wanted to see the king, you needed to get past John first He was also in charge of the court s living arrangements, the horses, the dogs and hawks there was nothing John didn t have his hand in, including the approval and upkeep of the court whores This last part did have it s perks, as John says Where would the court be for information, madam, without the digging of prostitutes and priests When John gets to the point in his life where his thoughts turn to marriage and the begetting of an heir, he thoughts are to the practical, not romantic He marries the daughter of an acquaintance, Aline a nervous girl, afraid of her own shadow These two could not have been imperfectly matched Despite all the time John was away on court business and all the time Aline spent praying on her knees, they did manage to produce two sons, thus securing the FitzGilbert name.So, things are going well for Johnan heir with one to spare at home, the owner of many estates, a pretty, young wife so what if she passes out at the sight of blood or gives all his money to the church she s loyal and fertile, what else could you ask for Then King Henry has to go and screw things up by dying without naming a successor, throwing the court into chaos and beginning the fight over the throne of England between the king s daughter, Mathilda, and the king s nephew, Stephen.As sides are chosen and loyalties are made, John has to tread carefully, as he has haters on either side that would like to see him knocked down the ladder a bit He realizes that the only chance of securing his lands would be to align himself with his enemy, Patrick of Salisbury, who was his neighbor And what better way than to marry Salisbury s sister, Sybilla The little matter of getting rid of Aline is quickly dealt with and John is just as swiftly married to Sybilla Even though you know Sybilla is a much better match for John, you can t help but feel for the cast off Aline, who was quite unsure as to what it was she had done wrong to be so treated, then had her children taken away from her and packed off like an unwanted guest But, neither could you not like John s new wife, Sybilla, who was quite the opposite of his first John had finally met his match in this fiery, strong woman and in doing so, fell deeply in love.The dynamic relationship of John and Sybilla was a pleasure to read, Chadwick excels at capturing love and describing it well John saying that if he lost Sybilla, he would be like a boat with a hole torn in it s keep and the sea bleeding in to sink it They had many children together, including the famous William Marshal of Chadwick s novels The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion he was the kid in the famous hammer and anvil speech made by his father It was interesting to see this event through the eyes of John, a side I d never been privy to and one which absolves him of being the heartless bastard he came across as I also had wondered about what William s mother was going through when William was a hostage and now I knowhoping that her husband s intuition that Stephen would be too soft to really follow through with the threat would prove true, but bracing for the worst Those were some heart wrenching scenes Yet again, another of Chadwick s novels has been given another five star rating from yours truly No one can do medieval like Chadwick she brings the people and the places alive and it s pure enjoyment to read her novels I liked John a lot than I thought I would and am so pleased that Chadwick chose to write about him, he most definitely earned his place in the history books Very much recommended.

  5. says:

    John FitzGilbert aka William Marshal s father, was King Henry 1 s Marshal When Henry suspiciously died John had to play a fine line between his oath to Matilda and the usurper Stephen To play this game he needed a strong wife and alliance, not his current wife Aline who wasn t born or had the stomach to be the wife of a Marshal Words and honor had to be broken to survive Chadwick makes you laugh, get emotional and cheer like no other author I love how she writes about lessor known, but very important people who had huge parts in the history and the world we live in today Another 5 star read For those who have read the William Marshal books, you will love seeing William has a young kid If you haven t read them or any Chadwickrun to the bookstore

  6. says:

    Well written but essentially Emmerdale meets renaissance fair schtick.For people accustomed to meatier, historical fiction gristle, you re best off reading something else as this all feels considerably trite and focused on the intimate relationship side of things than the historical machinations and battles etc.

  7. says:

    I have a confession to make, one of which, as a self respecting reader of Historical Fiction, I am duly ashamed This is the first novel by Chadwick that I have read.I ve had several of her books on my must get a copy list for years now, and have never managed to get around to reading any of them, so when this title appeared on NetGalley although it s not a new novel, but a reissue , I decided to grab it to provide me with the needed impetus.As I expected, the novel didn t disappoint Chadwick s knowledge of the period is clearly extensive, and her writing, while it is informative and detailed, is never dull or too scholarly I know of William Marshal, soldier, statesman and one time regent of England, who is the principal character in two of her other novels The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion But I knew nothing of his father, John FitzGilbert, who is the focus of this book He s risen to the rank of Marshal to Henry I in his early twenties and is renowned as a warrior, diplomat and strategist He s clever and loyal, and intent on further advancement, but not at the expense of his honour as was common among many at the time This is essentially the story of a principled man who has to make difficult decisions for his monarch and his family in the turbulent times of the twelfth century The death of King Henry I caused what was essentially a civil war, as both his daughter, Matilda, and his nephew, Stephen, were rival claimants to the throne, Henry having given no definite decision as to his successor on his deathbed.Having a queen in her own right on the English throne at that time was unthinkable to many, and although Henry had insisted that his men swear fealty to Matilda and therefore signalled his intention that she should succeed him, his failure to secure the succession led to years of rivaly and insurrection and John FitzGilbert was frequently at the forefront of it.Feeling that the English will never accept a woman on the throne, John throws in his lot with Stephen, despite having sworn the oath demanded by Henry, and despite the fact that his decision puts him on the opposing side to one of his greatest friends, Robert of Gloucester, Matilda s half brother.Stephen however Is weak and easily swayed and it is not long before he is turned against John, leaving FitzGilbert no alternative but to switch sides.He is honest and steadfast an incredible tactician and fighter and a force to be reckoned with He is able to add to his lands and status, but none of that comes without a cost His first wife, Aline is completely unsuited to be the wife of a noted courtier and her health both mental and physical deteriorates rapidly during the period of her marriage to John She bears him two sons, but has no real interest in either them, or the events of the day, instead preferring to spend her time in prayer John s second wife, however, is a completely different kettle of fish Sybilla is extremely capable and has a spirit to match his and although their marriage was arranged in order to cement an alliance between FitzGilbert and the Earl of Salisbury, in her, John finds a true companion, someone to whom he can talk about politics, and who, on occasion, is able to give him good advice But even though John finds happiness with Sybilla, and she bears him several children, he is still being forced to make harsh choices When Matilda retires back to Normandy, leaving the field clear for Stephen, John finds himself under siege and in order to buy time, is forced to offer his youngest son William as hostage to Stephen Knowing that William will grow up to be England s Greatest Knight doesn t detract from the suspense at all Chadwick has managed to create a sense of peril and uncertainty around this episode, and the reader agonises with Sybilla as she has to send off her five year old to possible death, and with John as he stands his ground with Stephen It could be easy to dislike John at this point, but he was a man of his time and life was harsh and Chadwick makes it clear that has he has taken the only path realistically open to him at the time.This is a superb read about a lesser known historical figure The pace never lets up, the author s eye for historical detail and accuracy is immaculate, and in John Marshal, she has fleshed out the character of a truly remarkable man.

  8. says:

    This is a solid, action led historical romance I m not normally a romance reader, but I make an exception for Chadwick because she is a story teller first and foremost As she writes stories based on history, it s not as safe as some romance fiction, and certainly not as predictable Add in a lyrical style and a great pace, convincing characters and a lot of technical skill she s an author who deserves a much higher profile.Set duing the Stephen and Matilda chaos 12th century UK this story is also a serious history lesson as it follows the fate of a nation through the mayhem of an unclear succession Focussing on real historical figure John Marshal, this is a story with a lot of battles and action in it There are two lead females, and we see things from their perspective, although it s John who dominates again unusual in romance fiction The women are intersting, and pleasingly complex I gather this book relates to two other novels Chadwick has written about William Marshall I ve not read those, but this one certanly stands alone.I very much appreciated the inclusion of a few pages at the end in which the author explained her sources, why she had interpreted those sources in certain ways, and where she had made things up In historical fiction, that s a great help, allowing you to work out what to keep as fact It also illsutrates how the author worked with the available historical data, and as an author, that kind of insight fascinates me As a study in writing, I was also impressed by the structure with the author hat on again The plot runs over twenty odd years, with multiple characters who grow, develop and relate to each other The carefully crafted expressions of this, through scenes and interactions rather than any telling , made that long timeline plausible As a piece of crafting, it s impressive.

  9. says:

    I always like Elizabeth Chadwick s books, in fact I imported this one from the UK because I couldn t find it in the US Having said that though, I think this is my least favorite so far A Place Beyond Courage is the story of John Marshall, father of William Marshall who stars in The Greatest Knight also by Elizabeth Chadwick, and is memorable for his comment about having the hammer and anvils to form and better sons when faced with William s execution as a four year old hostage I probably had a prejudice against his character just based on that comment, but he doesn t get much endearing in this book The story begins with a description of his duties as the court pimp, moves on to marrying his ward for her property then abandoning her to marry someone with property, and all the while his behavior is vain, selfish, shallow and controlling The acts of heroism attributed to him seem to be less about valor and about a huge ego and an inability to back down To use some modern phraseology, he s a tool It seems harsh to describe an historical figure who has been fictionalized as a tool, however as part of her research EC uses the Akashic Record to access the characters personalities, so perhaps he was such a tool that he left his toolism imprinted on the sub atomic particles of the universe It s possible, I ve known some guys like that Anyway, it s hard to like a book with a romantic plot line when you despise the main character, but it did have lots of redeeming qualities in the other characters and it was very well written It was kind of a unique experience, in that not every hero is going to be lovable, some were probably assholes.

  10. says:

    I chose to read this book after thoroughly enjoying Lady of the English by the same author This book tells a story of the same period from the point of view of the royal marshal, John Fitzgilbert, who serves Henry I, Stephen and Matilda in turn.It is great to have discovered another historical fiction author who shows integrity and respect for the people they are writing about, I have to say Elizabeth is careful with the facts and does not speculate wildly, the depth of her research really shows and as far as is possible is accurate I found this book to be a good read but did not enjoy it quite as much as Lady of the English, though I can t quite put my finger on why However it did give me the other side of the story , it was well written, and I would recommend it.

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