A Place Beyond Courage

Written by Elizabeth Chadwick
Review by Pamela Ferrell Ortega

John FitzGilbert is King’s Marshal to Henry I. His duties are many, including responsibility for the good administration of the court, organising journeys when the court is on the move, ensuring the well-being of everyone and everything around, from the smallest hunting hawk to the most important guest, and keeping records of money owed by and due to the king. All is well until Henry dies without naming his heir; the crown is taken by his nephew Stephen of Mortain, but hotly contested by his daughter Matilda, dowager empress of the Holy Roman Empire. So begins one of the most turbulent eras in history. To stay on top, John must have his wits about him and tread a very fine line.

So runs Elizabeth Chadwick’s tale. As always, her facts are well researched, and her use of genuine people of the day intermingled with fictitious characters makes for a spellbinding story. I have enjoyed her books ever since I read Lords of the White Castle, and this one does not disappoint. She tells history as it was, but in an eminently readable form which can do nothing other than enthuse the most jaded reader with the past.

Most highly recommended.