The Leopard Unleashed

Written by Elizabeth Chadwick
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

This is Elizabeth Chadwick’s third book and follows on where The Running Vixen left off, continuing the story of Guyon, lord of Ledworth on the Welsh marches and his wife, Judith of Ravenstow, which began in 1098. Time has moved on now to 1139, and Renard, one of Guyon and Judith’s sons, returns from the Crusades bringing with him a half-Welsh dancing girl called Olwen, whom he met in Outremer. But Renard is already betrothed to Elene. There is also Ranulf of Chester to deal with, a near neighbour who has designs on acquiring more land and doesn’t mind how he gets it.

Set against the turbulent times of the 12th century, the story is fast and furious, with real history retold in story form which only serves to enthral the reader and whet the appetite for more. The fictional characters blend in so smoothly with the time that the join is seamless, and they are as believable as the real characters portrayed. Elizabeth Chadwick is a master historical novelist whose immaculate research never fails to produce a gripping story where the pages simply have to be kept turning. Highly recommended.