I'm combining my Medieval Monday post with a small celebration of the publication of THE SCARLET LION in the USA by Sourcebooks. This is the second stand alone novel about the life of the great William Marshal, THE GREATEST KNIGHT being the first, about his early life.
If you click on the images for the Sourcebooks front and back jackets, they will enlarge. I'm not going in for much of the trumpet blowing stuff here, I'd rather let the book speak for itself but I will say that I'm doing the blog tour thing and I'll be doing a guest interview tomorrow at Laura's Reviews http://lauragerold.blogspot.com/ There is already a review of the book up at this url.
I'll post continuing blog tour details at my News Blog http://elizabethchadwicknews.blogspot.com/ and on Facebook and Twitter.
I'm also going to run a small giveaway for 3 readers to win copies of the USA version of THE SCARLET LION. Just leave your name on the comments post and I'll announce a winner a fortnight hence on the 14th March. Open to all wherever you are.
And now to the Medieval bit of Medieval Monday. I thought I'd quote a piece from the Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal - William Marshal's biographical poem, in order to honour the great man. This is a sad piece, because it is taken from his deathbed, but it is also important in that it is taken from eye witness reports and it shows many things about the life of this great man, and his wife, about the mindset and belief of a medieval man, and about love, both the close one to one, and the wider ties of affinity.
So, we draw back the veil and come to William as he reveals a secret to his family as he lies ill at his manor of Caversham:
...the Marshal summoned his men and the countess once more, and he spoke these few words to them. 'In the name of God, my lords, hear me now. It is some time since I pledged myself to the Temple, and now I wish to become a monk in it, for I have no wish to delay further.' Then he said to Geoffrey his almoner: 'My dear brother,' he said, 'please go for me to the wardrobe, take my cloak from it, and bring it to me.' So much do I venture to tell you, that he had that cloak made for him a year before, keeping it in his possession without anyone else knowing of its existence. The earl, who was generous, gentle and kind towards his wife, the countess, said to her: 'Fair lady, kiss me now, for you will never be able to do it again.' She stepped forward and kissed him, and both of them wept. The good folk present there also wept out of affection and compassion; all those in the household gave vent to their great sorrow, showing pity at the sight before their eyes. The Marshal lost no time in having the cloak brought and laid out in front of him. His daughters who were present, stood around him in deep grief; nobody could speak words of encouragement to them which might offer them comfort. The grief there was so intense that they had to take the countess and her daughters outside.'
The above is only part of a much larger body of scenes depicting the final months of William Marshal's life, but while incredibly moving, it's not a downbeat or harrowing piece of work. In fact it's very uplifting and satisfying through the tears.
The composer of the Histoire says:
'It is the very truth that in this world the Marshal experienced many fine and splendid adventures. His dying was the best amongst them....All those of you who ever rejoiced in the great deeds you heard that he had done, will rejoice in that too...'
I have also put up a short piece in the random Akashic Records Posts on the right sidebar, about William in the run up to one of the most important battles in his lifetime.
You will find more details about the Marshals on my website too. http://www.elizabethchadwick.com/