The Outlaw Knight

Written by Elizabeth Chadwick
Review by Kathryn Johnson

Early in the novel, young Fulke FitzWarin, while serving as a squire in the court of Henry II, earns the displeasure of Prince John, future king of England, and thus begins the destruction of Fulke’s dreams, which include becoming lord of his beloved White Castle at Whittington. Friction builds between the two men over the years as John continually thwarts Fulke’s attempts to recover the family property. But it is only when John ignores Fulke’s seemingly justified claims of the castle and hands ownership over to Morys FitzRoger that Fulke turns to the ways of an outlaw in the Welsh border country.

A secondary plot involves a frustrated love affair. Fulke is deeply attracted to Maude Walter… but she is the child-bride of his mentor, Theobald Walter. John, too, lusts after her, making pursuit of the lovely Maude even more dangerous.

This is, of course, not Chadwick’s first novel. She has very nearly claimed medieval history as her private domain. Her books are wildly popular with good reason – she has the enviable ability to transport her readers back 800 years so capably that one can’t help feeling time itself has shifted. Scenes are vivid and textured with authentic details of battles, banquets, costumes, and manners. The Outlaw Knight is generously paced, spanning 40 years of Fulke’s adventures that lead the reader from Shropshire, England and Westminster, to Limerick, Wales and, more briefly, other locations. Devotees of English history will rejoice in this new addition to their library and burrow into the novel greedily.