Templar Silks

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 14 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

William Marshal, known as England's Greatest Knight, is at the end of his days.  He sends off a friend to retrieve silk shrouds that will reveal his final secret to his family.  After the death of his Prince, William and his brother, Ancel, went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to atone for their sins and that of their dead Prince as well.  Once there, they become entangled in the dangerous politics of that region.  William makes it more complicated by starting a love affair with Pascia de Riveri, the concubine of one of the most influential people in that area.  It is at this time that William makes a pledge to the Templars that will be fully revealed at his death.  

If you are a fan of Philippa Gregory, the style of this book will greatly appeal to you.  I really did enjoy the writing style of this book.  It was told in a series of flashbacks or memories from William during the last days of his life.  I have read a few of the previous installments in this series.  This book specifically focuses on those years he spent in Jerusalem.  Not a lot was previously known about this time, so the author did take some creative liberties.  While it took me a bit of time to get into this book, it definitely picked up in pace and held my interest.  I haven't read many historical fiction works that are told strictly from the viewpoint of a male character, and I enjoyed the change.  3.5 out of 5 stars for me.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for providing a copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
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As William Marshal lays on his death bed at the age of 72, his mind wanders back to a turbulent time in his youth when he was Marshal for the young prince 'King' Harry (Henry II's eldest son who was given too much, too soon and rebelled against his father before dying of dysentery). Commanded by Harry he does something he deeply regrets. As a penance he undertakes a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to absolve not only himself and his knights, but also the (now dead) young king of all their crimes against God. Little is known about William's adventures in Outremer so Ms Chadwick has a free hand with the story.

After the Mahelt story in To Defy a King, this is Ms Chadwick back on form with a three year slice of William the Marshal's life story examined in detail. It's a novel, of course, not a history, so it's a 'what-if' wrapped around actual events. I still prefer The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion, but this is for the completists and well worth reading.
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I did not realise that this tale about how William Marshal sends for his funeral silks was part of a series, but it stands alone equally successfully. It creates the times of the Crusades, when William along  with his brother Ancel journey on pilgrimage to Jerusalem to atone for the robbery of an Abbey’s treasures by his late lord, Prince Henry and a promise he made at his death bed to do this. We see Jerusalem as a hot bed of intrigue and plotting between the different factions that live there, as well as the enemy factions that existed. William finds the allure of the mistress of one of the most powerful men in the Empire too tempting and is caught in her web. How he makes decisions and comes secretly a Templar is carefully explained. Elizabeth Hardwick has woven a wonderful story like her title she brings alive in magical detail life in the time of the Crusades like the historical silks of that age.
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When i requested this book at Netgalley, i didn't know this was the 6th book in the series. I realized that sometimes after - and i think i would have enjoyed it more if i actually read the 1th one and not jumped ahead to the 6th one - then i could have learned to know, connect and like William. Here, i had problems to do so, since i hadn't read the previous books. So, i don't know if i'd change my mind if i had read the first ones first, but maybe - here i ended up bored and skimmed most pages.
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Whenever I get the chance to read an Elizabeth Chadwick book I take it. And this book did not disappoint. It also doesn't hurt that I really do like William Marshall. Now as far as historical accuracy in this book I have no idea how close it is to what really happened. And for one I really don't care, to me, this is a historical fiction book and any facts that happened are just icing on the cake.


This book is more of a recollection from William as he is close to death's door. That part of the story did take a little bit of time for me to really get into. But I just loved the settings and the characters in this book. 

If you like historical fiction, especially this time period or stories about William Marshallgive this book a try you will not be disappointed.
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Although an enjoyable, well written novel, this was not one of my favourite of Chadwick's books - I think this may have been mostly due to the plot which didn't grip me. However it was still a strong novel, and I will continue to read more of her novels in future.
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Really enjoyed this book. It kept me interested all the way through. I would definitely recommend to a fellow reader. I like the cover as well.
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This book is one meant to be savored. It is a story of reflection and appreciation for the paths life leads one to. I haven't read any other books in this series and I didn't feel lost at all while reading this book. I rarely take so long to read a book but this one caused me to pause. It isn't a fast paced read but smooth and somewhat melodious. Chadwick crafted a wonderful tale that allows the reader to both reflect on what they are reading about Marshal and also to reflect on their own life. Marshal is an interesting character and I am looking forward to reading some of the other books in the series.
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This is a fictional historical account of William Marshall.  He was a knight, and he served King Henry, and during that period the king and his men robbed a shrine dedicated to the virgin Mary.  The king died from dysentery a few weeks later.  William agreed to take the king's robe and place it in the temple dedicated to christ in Jerusalem.  This they believed would atone for the sin of their robbery.  This story vacillates between William just prior to his death and his time in Jerusalem.  It's very detailed, and has a lot of historical facts about his life and journey.  Both William and his brother are faced with peril when trying to get to Jerusalem and upon their return trip.  It was fascinating, and I became embroiled the time period and how William came to receive the Templar silks that would serve as a shroud upon his death.
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When I read historical fiction, I want to learn. You can be assured that with this series you will learn much.  The author is known for her careful research which is much to be appreciated. I enjoyed the character of William Marshall as seen by the author. There is romance and action in this story and it kept me captivated.  
Many thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I was lucky I got this book from Netgalley because I have not had much luck with many good books I've wanted to read. Those on the wish list never come my way so this was one was a really good break for me.

Told in two different time lines though in the lifetime of one person - William - the story delves into the personal and political life of both the Kings of England the political strife of Jerusalem and the difficulty in holding on to it in the face of Saladin.

Descriptive in detail from both the workings of households in both states, to the journey itself. Perilous, facing brigands and treacherous weather it was a pilgrimage in adverse conditions and from which many did not return alive. It was also no ordinary turn around journey William and his group spent several years in Jerusalem, lived there under the patronage of eminent folk, he became a secular Templar and this added another dimension to the story.

The telling of his story towards the end of his life when death was around the corner was poignant and far sighted. A life story of great interest, the story thrown back to decades before when William was in his prime was out of a fantasy. Overcoming odds, making decisions which were vital for the groups survival were all mind blowing. I loved the juxtaposition of both history and personal melding together very well into a whole.

Ancient history told in a way to capture the interest of any modern reader.
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What a wonderful story!!
If you like a bit of history and the templars history especially, this book is definitely for you.
I admit it’s a very long book and it took me almost 3 weeks to read a few pages or chapters every day because I wanted to absorb everything, every little detail so wonderful written and described in this journal from France to Jerusalem. A journey full of dangerous situations, different languages,cultures and civilisations. 
So many feelings and so much despair, jealousy, love affairs and murderous thought, so many memories about family and life difficulties. 
I absolutely loved it.
 
#NetGalley #SourcebooksLandmark
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I have been a fan of Elizabeth Chadwick's writing for what feels like ages. She has a brilliance for writing well-researched, engaging and unforgettable historical fiction. In Templar Silks, this proves to be the case once again. I love the way she fleshes out the characters, the way they interact with their circumstances and the way that they work their way into my heart. The author masterfully tells a story, sets a scene and displays her research. I will always pick up a novel written by this author. A guaranteed win, and a definite recommend.
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Templar Silks is the story of William Marshall's time in the Holy Land. Like all of Elizabeth Chadwick's books it is rich in historical detail and although the author says that much of it is imagined it is completely believable. 
Of the many Elizabeth Chadwick books I have read the ones about William Marshall, England's Greatest Knight, are my favourites. Marshall is brought to life by Chadwick and becomes a cross as a compelling character, strong, loyal and with complete integrity. 
This week s a must read for any fan of historical novels.
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This book has everything. Templars, Jerusalem, intrigue, lust, love, and swordfighting. I started reading this book slowly during my last semester of school, but was trailed along by it because of it's wonderful story weaving. William (Gwim) is a crusader sent to the Holy Land to deliver his master (Prince Henry)'s cloak to Jesus's tomb. However, many different issues come about and it is not as smooth of sailing as one would hope. The true story of William Marshal is very interesting and quite colorful. Ms. Chadwick does a wonderful job portraying the interesting and daring exploits of Marshal in this land far from his home. As a fan of any sort of Templar fiction, this fit the bill and I greatly enjoyed following his journey from England and back again. I would suggest that anyone with an interest in historical fiction snaps this book up as soon as it's available.
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Having discovered Elizabeth Chadwick with her wonderful Eleanor of Aquitaine Trilogy I was delighted to be able to review Templar Silks. 
Chadwick has an amazing eye for detail in her writing. Never does the description feel laboured or over long, but rather there is an assault on the senses of the reader. Here, with the setting of this novel being the opulence of the Jerusalem Court of the the 1100’s , there is real scope to work her magic. Whether we are in the throes of battle or the inner sanctum of a court Mistress, Chadwick is skilled at drawing the reader into the novel. Her sense of place is excellent. 
This level of detail is testament to  just how well researched this novel is. Whilst it is documented that William Marshall did actually spend time in Jerusalem, his actions there  are largely unknown. This gives the author tremendous creative freedom, which in a historical novel can be both a blessing and a curse. The great challenge is always to stay true to character and importantly period. Through impeccable research Chadwick pulls it off.
Her portrayal of a life governed by earthly and spiritual duty is rich and colourful. Marshall is an honourable but flaw man, living in  treacherous  times. 
As with the Eleanor Trilogy there are strong female characters. Characters that use what power they have to make their own mark in a male dominated and often brutal world. Chadwick is often concerned with love but she is always concerned with power, and how the power balance is a constantly and ruthless shifting in uncertain times.
It was a pleasure to spend some time in this novel. Evocative and highly readable.
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I am a fan of Ms. Chadwick and her narration of history in the Medieval times. The period of history with King Henry and Queen Eleanor and their sons have long fascinated me.  William Marshall is a colorful real life character who has been well fleshed out in her books. This book however did not have the same impact as some of her other books. 
William Marshall is on his death bed and is finally ready to publicly claim his long hidden affiliation. The story alternates between the death vigil by his family and his time in the holy land. This is a bit disconcerting because some of the death bed chapters I wanted to quickly skip past while the sojourn in the Holy Land was fascinating.  Ms. Chadwick's writing brought alive a time in history in living color.  I could smell the spices and scents and sense the treachery that surrounds the knights and the templars. 
All in all a great book that missed being brilliant and squeeworthy.
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I love Elizabeth Chadwick books and this was a good one.
I was fascinated by the story, the characters and the well researched historical background.
It was an engaging and entertaining read, a very good historical fiction.
Recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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When Elizabeth Chadwick writes historical fiction, you know you can expect a great read and this book is no exception. I picked it up at every waking moment and did not want it to end. Fully emerged in the world of kings, queens and crusades I devoured every sentence. Well crafted, fast paced, intriguing and exciting are just a few words that come to mind.

Late 12th century. We follow the Great Knight William Marshal and his men on a pilgrimage from France to Jerusalem, doing penance for losing king Henry's son in a raid. The journey takes us through different cultures, different religions, harsh landscapes and rough situations before finally arriving in The Holy City of Jerusalem. Here we attend court, the scheming ladies, the jealous men, the love affairs and the battles with the Muslim army.
Throughout the book there's a great presence of the Templar Knights, which intrigued me most. Their total dedication to God, fight to the death without question, their support for the lesser man in society, their protection of the pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. Magnificent!

In between the long chapters are short interludes with William in the year 1219, on his deathbed at Caversham Manor in England, his memories from the past years playing tricks with him while under the influence of a poppy draft. His family is nearby as he slowly succumbs to his last breath. A beautiful way to keep the reader in awe of this Great Knight.

Templar Silks is superb historical fiction that will stay with me for a long time. Highly recommended!

Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebook Landmark for the ARC.
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Thankyou to NetGalley, Sourcebooks Landmark and the author, Elizabeth Chadwick, for the opportunity to read an advanced readers copy of Templar Silks in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.
I loved reading this book.  The imagery, the characters and the well written storyline provide a fantastic read
Elizabeth Chadwick does not disappoint.
Well worth a read.
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