Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Champion by Elizabeth Chadwick

I can thank the online book blogging community for introducing me to this author. I had never heard of her, but according to people who have read her she is one of the best historical fiction writers out there.
My local library had 3 of her books in so I got all three. I started off with The Champion as it was written the earliest and you never know if an author has repeat characters in later books or not.
It has been a long time since I've read a book set in this point of history (the late 1100's-early 1200's). It took me a little bit to get into just reorienting myself with the time period, but it was well worth it.
The story centres on three main characters: Hervi - a tournament knight, making a living on the circuit, Alexander - his brother, recently having left monastic training, and Monday, a girl who is the daughter of Hervi's best friend.
The story takes us from the tournament fields to the courts of medieval England/France. We watch these characters grow and change throughout time. At times they are close together and at others they live lives apart and separate from each other, but they always remain connected. I don't want to give too much of the plot away (one of my big fears in book blogging).
Something that always gets at me when reading historical fiction is to find out how accurate the real historical characters are portrayed (such as King John). I think that's why it takes me longer than usual to get through these sorts of books, I get sidetracked while looking up my own information. It seems to me that Chadwick is well-researched (while she does admit to a little creative licensing) and mostly stays true to the time period and the real historical characters involved. I look forward to my next Chadwick novel.

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