cover image The Scarlet Lion

The Scarlet Lion

Elizabeth Chadwick, . . Sourcebooks Landmark, $14.99 (563pp) ISBN 978-1-4022-2999-2

William Marshal returns in this sequel to The Greatest Knight with the older and wiser William well settled with his wife, Isabelle de Clare, and their ever-growing brood. However, he is now in uneasy service to King John, who suspects William for his ties to John’s late brother Richard I, but cannot openly despise the powerful earl’s allegiance. Still, ever spiteful John systematically strips William of titles, power, honors, and even his son, Will, who the king demands as his squire. Then John dies suddenly, and William must take the rebellious kingdom in hand and assume the regency. Chadwick delivers another accomplished historical, albeit without the thrills of its predecessor. Like William, the story is too settled and comfortable to be as exciting as the story of the young knight on the rise, but the in-depth exploration of the intrigues of King John’s court is riveting. Isabelle remains a powerful noblewoman and excellent match for William. This will be best appreciated by fans of Chadwick’s other work or readers curious to learn more about medieval England. (Mar.)