Title: The Scarlet Lion
Author: Elizabeth Chadwick
Release Date: March 1, 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.25 out of 5
In this sequel to The Greatest Knight, William Marshal has settled down contentedly with his wife, Isabelle de Clare and their ever-growing family when King Richard dies unexpectedly. William pledges himself to the late king’s brother, John, but John doesn’t trust William. He pushes William farther and farther, stripping him of his honors and testing his loyalty over and over again. It’s up to William to balance his loyalty to the king with his duty to his family and legacy.
When I turned the last pages of the amazing novel The Greatest Knight, I immediately lamented that its sequel, The Scarlet Lion wasn’t available in the United States. I wasn’t sure at the time if it would ever be released in the US, but Sourcebooks Landmark has come through once again and made a not-to-be-missed work of historical fiction available for those of us on this side of the pond to read and enjoy.
The Scarlet Lion has the same spirit and fire as its predecessor. Once again, Elizabeth Chadwick is on point with her research. She makes the time period come alive for the reader, utilizing small historical details in order to really set each scene.
The characters of William and Isabelle are what really make The Scarlet Lion a wonderful novel. Their love story is simply amazing. What they had is as inspiring as it is sweet. That’s not to say they had a perfect relationship; they are at odds in this book more than once. But at the end of the day, it’s clear that they love and support one another. They’re both vividly drawn characters that are incredibly appealing. Chadwick hit a home run in her depiction of William and Isabelle.
It’s not necessary to read The Greatest Knight before picking up The Scarlet Lion. They both are standalone novels, and Chadwick does a great job of introducing new readers to her characters in this second book. However, that being said, I do recommend reading both of them in order, as The Greatest Knight is really a wonderful novel. The Scarlet Lion is definitely a worthy follow-up, though it does seem long at times.
I enjoyed The Scarlet Lion and certainly hope that this publisher will release more of Elizabeth Chadwick’s works. I’m looking forward to reading more of her novels and discovering new worlds and interesting people through her wonderful books.