The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones

The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones

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A renowned scholar brings to life medieval England’s most celebrated knight, William Marshal—providing an unprecedented and intimate view of this age and the legendary warrior class that shaped it.

Caught on the wrong side of an English civil war and condemned by his father to the gallows at age five, William Marshal defied all odds to become one of England’s most celebrated knights. Thomas Asbridge’s rousing narrative chronicles William’s rise, using his life as a prism to view the origins, experiences, and influence of the knight in British history.

In William’s day, the brutish realities of war and politics collided with romanticized myths about an Arthurian “golden age,” giving rise to a new chivalric ideal. Asbridge details the training rituals, weaponry, and battle tactics of knighthood, and explores the codes of chivalry and courtliness that shaped their daily lives. These skills were essential to survive one of the most turbulent periods in English history—an era of striking transformation, as the West emerged from the Dark Ages.

A leading retainer of five English kings, Marshal served the great figures of this age, from Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine to Richard the Lionheart and his infamous brother John, and was involved in some of the most critical phases of medieval history, from the Magna Carta to the survival of the Angevin/Plantagenet dynasty. Asbridge introduces this storied knight to modern readers and places him firmly in the context of the majesty, passion, and bloody intrigue of the Middle Ages.

The Greatest Knight features 16 pages of black-and-white and color illustrations.

 

Editorial Reviews
Review
“Mr. Asbridge has written a rip-roaring new life of Marshal, which will leave readers hungry… a generally splendid account of a great medieval life.” (Wall Street Journal)

“The Greatest Knight gives us a moving portrait of one man’s struggle, ascent and final (peaceful) demise.” (The Sunday Times (UK))

“Big, readable, and enlightening… a rousing history.” (The Dispatch)

“Asbridge has fashioned a rare and fascinating tale: a biography of a medieval knight told with all the rich detail, dialogue, and action that is usually possible only for figures from later periods. Asbridge is a wonderful guide to the complex politics and history of medieval England.” (Christian Science Monitor)

“The term ‘medieval biography’ doesn’t necessarily conjure up a lot of excitement among the general book-loving population. But . . . it really should. This blood, guts, gore and gallantry romp through medieval history, following the great knight William Marshall . . . is way more fun than it should be.” (New York Post)

“A rich and elaborate tapestry… a story about how medieval knighthood worked; the interlocking web of obligation and fealty, friendship and loyalty… [The Greatest Knight] will appeal to history buffs as well as fans of fiction set in the medieval period.” (Library Journal, starred review)

“A valuable biography of an important figure in a distant, violent, barely comprehensible era.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A rare kind of history book … There are enough epic journeys here to satisfy Tolkien lovers, enough backhanded politics to engage fans looking for the next Game of Thrones book, and enough excitement for any reader to believe that true history is the greatest story of all.” (Portland Book Review)

“This is medieval history at its very best – a compelling story told by a historian whose knowledge is both thorough and extensive, and whose enthusiasm for the subject rings out on every page.” (Ian Mortimer, author of Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England)

“Captivatingly written and eye-openingly informative, The Greatest Knight is … a first-rate history told by a master of the craft. Read this book, and you’ll never forget the name William Marshal-nor will you ever think of the Middle Ages in the same way again.”- (Toby Lester, author of The Fourth Part of the World and Da Vinci’s Ghost)

From the Back Cover
A thrillingly intimate portrait of one of history’s most illustrious knights—William Marshal—that vividly evokes the grandeur and barbarity of the Middle Ages

William Marshal was the true Lancelot of his era—a peerless warrior and paragon of chivalry—yet over the centuries, the spectacular story of his achievements passed from memory. Marshal became just one more name in the dusty annals of history. Then, in 1861, a young French scholar named Paul Meyer made a startling discovery during an auction of rare medieval manuscripts. Meyer stumbled upon the sole surviving copy of an unknown text—the first contemporary biography of a medieval knight, later dubbed the History of William Marshal. This richly detailed work helped to resurrect Marshal’s reputation, putting flesh onto the bones of this otherwise obscure figure, yet even today William Marshal remains largely forgotten.

As a five-year-old boy, Marshal was sentenced to execution and led to the gallows, but this landless younger son survived his

The Hamilton Affair: A Novel Paperback

The Hamilton Affair: A Novel Paperback

 

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A New York Times Bestseller and one of the best historical fiction books of 2016 and 2017!

”A juicy answer to Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton…”–Cosmopolitan

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Revolution, and featuring a cast of legendary characters, The Hamilton Affair tells the sweeping, tumultuous, true story of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler, from passionate and tender beginnings of their romance to his fateful duel on the banks of the Hudson River.

Hamilton was a bastard and orphan, raised in the Caribbean and desperate for legitimacy, who became one of the American Revolution’s most dashing–and improbable–heroes. Admired by George Washington, scorned by Thomas Jefferson, Hamilton was a lightning rod: the most controversial leader of the new nation. Elizabeth was the wealthy, beautiful, adventurous daughter of the respectable Schuyler clan–and a pioneering advocate for women. Together, the unlikely couple braved the dangers of war, the perils of seduction, the anguish of infidelity, and the scourge of partisanship that menaced their family and the country itself.

With flawless writing, brilliantly drawn characters, and epic scope, The Hamilton Affair tells a story of love forged in revolution and tested by the bitter strife of young America, and will take its place among the greatest novels of American history ever written.

Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade, Yucca, and Good Books imprints, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in fiction–novels, novellas, political and medical thrillers, comedy, satire, historical fiction, romance, erotic and love stories, mystery, classic literature, folklore and mythology, literary classics including Shakespeare, Dumas, Wilde, Cather, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Editorial Reviews
Review
“Cobbs’s depiction of Hamilton will endear him in the hearts of readers and shed light on one of the most misunderstood figures in American history and the woman who shared his life.” –Publishers Weekly

“Author and historian Elizabeth Cobbs’ fictionalized spin on the life of the founding pops and his better half, Eliza Schulyer, is a juicy answer to Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton…” –Cosmopolitan

“Although it’s entering a crowded field of biographies, fictional or not, of various Founding Fathers, Cobbs’ meticulous account holds its own–even without catchy tunes.” –Kirkus Reviews

“If you want the authoritative biography of Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow is the place to go. If historical fiction is your preference, Elizabeth Cobbs has now written the Hamilton novel that immediately leaps to the top of the list.” –Joseph J. Ellis, author of Founding Brothers

“The Hamilton Affair is a captivating historical novel from cover to cover, vividly recreating Hamilton’s dramatic and inspirational life story. Highly recommended for both public library collections and personal or book club reading lists, The Hamilton Affair is all but impossible to put down.” –Midwest Book Review

“Cobbs’ novel presents a thoroughly researched portrait of the Hamiltons that makes you feel like you are in the room where it happened. It’s a bouquet to obsessed Hamilfans, but this well-written novel is enough to keep the lay reader satisfied, too.” –The Miami Herald

“Why did Alexander Hamilton risk everything? Why did Eliza Hamilton stand by him? This complicated couple who did so much for young America spring to life in this entertaining, well-told tale.” –Cokie Roberts, author of Ladies of Liberty

“With the expertise of an historian and the intimacy and immediacy of a gifted novelist, Elizabeth Cobbs plunges us into the cauldron of love, war, betrayal, slavery, blackmail, revolution, dueling, and banking in which our nation was brewed–and delivers us into the conflicted heart of one of its most passionate and misunderstood heroes.” –Stephen Harrigan, author of the bestselling The Gates of the Alamo and A Friend of Mr. Lincoln

“Historic scholarship and creative music have suddenly turned Alexander Hamilton into one of the hottest of the nation’s Founding Fathers. The Hamilton Affair promises to turn up the heat even further. Elizabeth Cobbs’ superb novel about the many lives and perils of Hamilton and his wife Eliza adds delights and insights that are as fascinating as they are fun. Think of it as a terrific–and must–companion to all things Hamilton.” –Jim Lehrer

“It’s been more than 200 years since Alexander Hamilton was as celebrated as he is right now. What a stroke of luck that an actual award-winning historian has come along just now with such a richly detailed and entertaining novel about the most freshly fabulous American Founder.” –Kurt Anderson, author of True Believers

“Can’t get tickets to Hamilton, the megahit Broadway musical? Don’t despair, check out Elizabeth Cobbs’ finely tuned fictional biography of one of America’s most intriguing yet vastly underrated Founding Fathers. Born on the Caribbean Island of St. Croix, the illegitimate Hamilton survived impoverishment, the death of his beloved mother, and a devastating hurricane before emigrating to New York at the age of 16. Determined to better himself, the über-intelligent Hamilton attended King’s College (Columbia University), where he excelled as both a student and as a leader. Hamilton’s close relationship to George Washington, his friendships and conflicts with his fellow revolutionaries, and the rise and fall of his political star are all detailed, but it is his courtship of and marriage to the beautiful, vivacious Elizabeth Schuyler, a member of one of the oldest and most distinguished colonial families, that serves as the centerpiece of Cobbs’ page-turning historical novel. Cobbs paints a portrait of a love so deep it was able to survive betrayal and a devastatingly public scandal. The focus alternates between Alexander and Elizabeth as their tempestuous tale unfolds in all its triumph and tragedy. Hamilton’s true story is so fantastical, it is amazing that it has taken this long to transform his life and times into a national sensation.” –Booklist *Starred review*

About the Author
Elizabeth Cobbs is a historian, New York Times bestselling novelist, and documentary filmmaker. She is the author of four books on American history and a winner of the Allan Nevins Prize. Her novel Broken Promises: A Novel of the Civil War won the San Diego Book Award.