The Outlaw Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick

TOK
The Outlaw Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (560 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

A Deadly Rival.

An Ancient Family Dispute.

An Impossible Love.

He should have known better than to fight with the future King John. Ruthless and feared, John is not one to forget or forgive. But Fulke FitzWarin couldn’t help himself, and now the vindictive John has insured that Fulke will never become lord of the castle he loves.

Instead of accepting his fate, Fulke rebels. He begins an affair with Maude Walter, the wealthy widow desired by John himself. Negotiating a maze of deceit, treachery, and shifting alliances, Fulke’s route to success is blocked at every turn. And when the turmoil of the Magna Carta rebellion combines with a shocking tragedy, everything Fulke has fought for is thrown into the path of destruction.

THE OUTLAW KNIGHT is a magnificent, vibrant story set in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries—a time that boiled with trouble to the point King John, under duress, signed the Magna Carta.

While this is a tale of fiction, it brings out the king’s excesses, childishness, shameful ways, and his misuse of power that finally bring a longstanding problem to a head.

The characters Elizabeth Chadwick creates to go along with the historical characters make this a book that brings that time in history to life. Adrenaline-pumping action, enduring love, daily living activities, and how honorably or dishonorably characters deal with each other create emotional highs and lows that sweep the reader along into the thick of things.

Fulkes FitzWarin, an outlaw knight, tries to forge a life, stay an honorable man, hold on to his properties, and make a life for his family. But a set-to with Prince John in their youth dogs his tracks relentlessly. John’s vindictiveness seeps into every aspect of Fulke’s life. But, early on in his life, his mother instilled confidence in him and taught him not to fear challenges. His father instilled in him the need to reclaim Whittington keep and lands that were rightfully their near the Welsh borders.

Fulke’s tutor in arms, Theobald Walter, Theobald’s brother Hubert the priest at court, and Theobald’s squire Jean de Rampaigne are strong threads in this tapestry of yhis tale. They impact Fulkes’ life on many levels. The undercurrents in their relationships intrigue.

Elizabeth Chadwick weaves the women into THE OUTLAW KNIGHT in unique ways. True to the times, many of them were married as soon as they reached childbearing age. Maude, the daughter of Robert le Vavasour is offered to Theobald, a man old enough to be her father, but their properties join and it seems advantageous for both families. How Fulke figures into this marriage is a subtle thread that is scarcely visible, but is ever present. After Theobald’s death, Maude and Fulke are wed. Theirs is a fiery relationship at times and the suggested love scenes that one can imagine or sizzling. But the love they have endures; it is patient, and withstands adversity with unfailing strength.

Oonagh FitzGerald of Ireland, even though compelled to marry men of others’ choosing, knows how to use men to get what she wants out of life. Her connection with Fulke is a growing up experience for him. It is surprising who she ends up with.

Clarice, a ward of Hubert the priest, comes to live in Fulke and Maude’s household when she is eight years old and stays unwed long past her ‘prime’ even though she is wealthy and desired by many. She is one of the most unique characters in the story.

Elizabeth Chadwick has a magical writing style that lures the reader in and sweeps her along on a vicarious adventure in a time of history that brought out the best and the worst of human nature. Her memorable characters—protagonist, antagonist, and all the characters in between are so well developed, the reader feels as if they are acquaintances that stir emotions that range from hate to love and admiration. Excellent reading!

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