Monday, March 01, 2010

Medieval Monday: THE SCARLET LION - Publication Day

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 There is already a review of the book up at this url.
I'll post continuing blog tour details at my News Blog 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.


Aarti said...

Yay for the release of this book!! I won't be getting the Sourcebooks edition as I already have the book in hardcover- and have had it for a while, so I hope mine is still the same story? Hope to read it soon!

Elizabeth Chadwick said...

Yes, it's the same story Aarti. Just a few copy editing tweaks and details that make a smoother transition with To Defy A King (due to increased historical knowledge)when it comes out in the USA, but it doesn't amount to a hill of beans as they saying goes.

hannah.ettema said...

I am so excited for The Scarlet Lion! When I finished The Greatest Knight I wanted it to keep going. I'm in New Zealand at the moment on study abroad, so I don't know if I'll have a chance to read it before I leave, but if not it will be the first book I read when I get back in June. Can't Wait!

Jules Frusher said...

Wonderful to read that piece from the Histoire. The same scene in the novel had me in tears (no small feat!) but I was surprised that something from that era could be so moving too. It is a real snapshot of the event that is still easy for us to relate to in the 21st C. Thankyou so much for sharing that with us - and the Akashic snippet too.

Good luck with the blog tour - if I can help in any way on my blog, let me know. I would be only too pleased.

Don't Panic said...

Wonderful! I'd love to be a lucky one to get a copy of the book (signed if I'm soo lucky). I am a huge fan of Sharon Kay Penman and yourself, and through Facebook was able to remind myself of the release of Scarlet Lion!

Thank you for all your wonderful books!

-Lindsay DeVries

Kristie Dean said...

I am so excited that the book is released! I hope I get the copy. Supposedly, I am a descendant of William Marshall, so it is even more interesting to read!
Kristie Dean

4everQueen said...

I read The Greatest Knight last month and now I'm ready for this great read--The Scarlet Lion. The notes on Marshall at his deathbed are touching... a great Knight indeed.

Hope to win one of these copies, thank you!

Anonymous said...

how I would love to win a copie of the book. I love your books.
keep up the good work and less you

bnhoffer2 said...

The Greatest Knight was one of my favorites! Thank you so much for your hard work and talent. I just can't explain how much your books mean to me.

Carla said...

A very moving extract from the Histoire, underlines again what a remarkable man William must have been.

Elysium said...

I read The Greatest Knight last mont and finished A Place Beyond Courage last nightI'd love to read The Scarlet Lion too!

Becca Randall said...

Thank you for sharing the extract from the Histoire. You can't help but admire William Marshall after reading your books, and it's nice to know that he was highly thought of then too.
Congratulations on the US release. Would love to enter the competition for a signed copy!

Terry said...

Congratulations on the release of the Scarlet Lion in the US! I have convinced my library that they need to own a copy to go along with The Greatest Knight. I really loved both of these books and am anxiously awaiting the release of To Defy A King (which I have already preordered.) Thank you for sharing such wonderful information on your website! Please don't enter me as I already own a copy. Hopefully someone new to reading your works will win.

themissus said...

Put my name in the hat! I love your work and am thrilled to be able to buy it easily in the states. Thanks for taking the time to post on your blog its always a bright spot in my day to spend a few quiet minutes feeding my brain!

molly said...

I'm so excited to read this!! I'm a huge fan of your work..I'm currently reading The Winter Mantle and loving it. Please put my name in the hat! Thanks again :)