Saturday, September 15, 2012


The giveaway for A PLACE BEYOND COURAGE is now closed.  Congratulations to the winners.  UK and overseas -  Jenny Quinlan, Kate Sands and Kim Moss.  USA  Aimee Bajorek, Lisa Margolis and Kelly Place.

 But it's not over!   I am holding a NEW draw to celebrate the paperback UK release of LADY OF THE ENGLISH on Thursday 13th September.  It's a busy month for me with releases of these different books in the UK and the USA.

I have 3 copies of LADY OF THE ENGLISH in paperback to give away in the UK and the rest of the world excluding USA.  However, if you are in the USA, I do have one of my Sourcebooks editions of LADY OF THE ENGLISH (different cover)  to give away -  so that I don't leave anyone out!

If you want to enter the drawing for  LADY OF THE ENGLISH, just send an e-mail to and I will add you to the list.  Please say if it's for the USA draw.

Closing date will be 2nd October.  I'm away at the HNS conference on the 30th September,  so I'll leave it open a couple more days.

Short excerpt:
"At length, it was Matilda who broke the taut silence. ‘When I return from this ride, I am going to tell my father that I will accept this marriage with Anjou.’
            He looked straight ahead and said stiffly, ‘That is a wise decision, Domina.’  
             She shook her head. ‘I make it because I have no choice.  I make it because if I refuse, the House of Anjou will become our enemy and unite with France and Flanders. I know why my father considers it a wise and prudent move.  She nudged her mare closer to Sable and fixed him with a steady look. ‘But tell me, my lord, did you think of all the consequences when you discussed the matter with him in private council?
            Shadows like delicate bruises were smudged beneath her eyes and Brian  had to glance away. ‘Yes, Domina, I did…but your father would not be gainsaid, and in truth, his reasons are sound.’
            ‘And you cannot look at me, my lord.’
            ‘What would you have me do?’ Now he did meet her stare and forced himself not to flinch from her scrutiny. ‘I am your father’s liege man first, even while I honour his daughter.’
            ‘Honour.’ She exhaled down her nose. ‘I wonder at the substance with which we gild that word.’
            ‘When the time comes, I will not fail you; I swear on my own life.’
            ‘And who will call that time, my lord - You, or I?  And who will decide if you have or have not failed?’
            They rode in silence again, and Brian kept his distance because he knew that if he let her in, he would fall apart under the truth of her stare and he could allow that to happen.  She was right.  Honour was both a gilded fancy and a stinking corpse, and she had not been the one to murder it in the name of strategy."

Monday, September 10, 2012


As LADY OF THE ENGLISH approaches publication day in the UK, I thought I'd reprise an earlier post on the Empress Matilda's treasures and wealth. The illustrations are all either firmly within my own copyright, or have permissions for use and I have lightly edited the text.  The photos are representative of the kind of objects with which the Empress would have surrounded herself.

Empress Matilda's Bling!

During the course of my research into Empress Matilda, I found a very interesting list of some of the riches she owned in her lifetime, so I thought I'd write a shiny post today, detailing that list and illustrating it with items similar to the originals, or dating from that time in history. (click on the images to enlarge). Matilda does seem to have liked her rich fabrics, gold and jewels, but when one examines any royal wardrobe list the same trend becomes obvious. Material wealth of the 'bling' variety in the Middle Ages wasn't just about being shiny and flashing wealth upon the person to enhance status (although that was part of it).  It was also about favour and patronage. Religeous establishments benefitted from rich gifts and became the storage places for much of that wealth - sort of unofficial banks where the goods could be kept safe until needed.  The royal personage got to store their valuables in safety and the establishment benefited from the patronage and status such a service conveyed.  Since many of the items  had religious connotations,  it was also about glory to God.
 Gold and silver artefacts and rich textiles were the rainy day funds should the monarchy fall on hard times. Mercenaries could be paid in jewels and gold cups. Loans could be secured against the wealth. In the early thirteenth century, William Marshal used just this ploy when he became regent. Whatever was left in the royal treasury at Corfe was used to pay the soldiers and keep them in the field. There was no coin to be had, but there were sapphires and emeralds, gold cups and bolts of silk.

Henry I had stored up a vast amount of wealth in his treasury, but when Stephen took the throne he used it to buy soldiers, to buy support, and to buy off the opposition.  We know that he gave items from the royal treasury to his older brother Theobald of Champagne as a settlement against Theobald relinquishing his claim to England and Normandy.  Theobald then used some of that wealth as a contribution  to the building of the new abbey church of St. Denis.
But back to the Empress. When Matilda left Germany as a widow in 1125 or 1126, she returned to Normandy bearing a wealth of treasure acquired during her marriage - among which was at least one dubious (mis) appropriation - the Hand of Saint James, which she presented to Reading Abbey. There is a little about the hand here. The hand, however, would originally have been displayed in a ornate relic case perhaps looking a little like this one.  The see-through windows on the fingers would originally have contained fragments of a saint's bones.    Click to enlarge

Later on, the German emperor asked for the return of the hand, but Matilda wasn't having it and offered him a large travelling tent instead. (fashioned from rich materials and so big it had to be raised mechanically). I suppose that exchange is no robbery...

Matilda also returned from Germany with at least two crowns that had been worn by her husband the Emperor. One 'of solid gold, decorated with gems' was worn by Henry II at his coronation and was so heavy that it had to be supported by two silver rods when worn. The front of the crown was adorned by a jewel of great size and value with a gold cross superimposed. The smaller of the crowns had been used by the emperor on feast days. Matilda also had a crown of her own, decorated with golden flowers.

Imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire. It is made in hinged segments, so can be packed flat for travel.

Among the gifts Matilda gave to the Abbey at Bec0Hellouin were the above mentioned crowns and also ar golden cross decorated with precious stones, two gospel books bound in gold and studded with gems, two silver-gilt censers, a silver incense box and spoon, a gold dish and a gold pyx for the Eucharist. There were three silver flasks, a ewer for holy water and a silver basin. Add to this two portable altars of marble mounted in silver and an ebony chest filled with relics. There were more textiles in the forms of holy vestments - chasubles, dalmatics, copes, and an imperial cloak belonging to herself, besprinkled with gold. All of the above list was donated in her lifetime. 
After she died, the abbey also received the ornaments she had used in her own private chapel. These included service books, a gold chalice and spoon, four chasubles, two tunics, two dalmatics, six copes, two of which were interwoven with silver, two silver censers and two boxes which were described as 'eggs of griffins'. The legs and claws gripping these 'eggs' were fashioned of silver. The griffin's eggs could have been many things. Ostrich eggs, which were highly prized, or egg-shaped polished agates as per the Greek legends. We don't know. There was a popular 12th century story about Alexander the Great harnessing a pair of Griffins and having them fly him to heaven to see God, only to be asked by an angel why he wanted to see God when he didn't yet understand the world he lived in. Chastened, Alexander flew back to earth. Perhaps Matilda had this pair of griffon's eggs on her altar as a reminder of this legend, who knows?
Gospel book with parts dating from 10th to 12th century

All the above was just the tip of the iceberg. Empress Matilda truly did live in a world of sumptuous glittered. When she died, as well as all her treasure, she gave thirty thousand shillings to the Grandmontine order. In physical terms at least, the Empress died a wealthy woman.
Below, I've added quick links to show what chasubles, copes and dalmatics are.


The Alton Towers tryptych.  Germany circa 1150


Saturday, September 01, 2012


First my apologies.
Life has been drastically busy chez Chadwick.
Outside of the day job, my father has just had major surgery.  He's out of hospital and doing well, but obviously helping him out has taken time from my schedule even while things have been hotting up on the writerly front, so if I'm a bit off the pace, there are reasons behind the scenes.

Anyway, I have suddenly realised that September 1st is publication day in the USA for A PLACE BEYOND COURAGE, and September 13th is when the UK paperback of LADY OF THE ENGLISH hits the bookshelves, so I thought I'd better get moving on a few celebratory giveaways.

A PLACE BEYOND COURAGE has been awarded a wonderful starred review by Publishers Weekly in the USA

A Place Beyond Courage
Elizabeth Chadwick. Sourcebooks Landmark, $14.99 trade paper (512p) ISBN 978-1-4022-7108-3
In this spellbinding prequel to 2009’s The Greatest Knight, Chadwick takes readers on a tour of royal intrigue in 12th-century England. After a fortune-teller reveals to a young royal servant named John FitzGilbert Marshal that one of his offspring will one day rule England, the unmarried man laughs in her face. Later, John’s wives—first the pious and meek Aline, and then the sassy spitfire Sybilla—bear him multiple children, and it soon becomes clear that at least one of them is destined for greatness. As an honorable servant to King Henry, John’s loyalties are thrown into turmoil upon his beloved leader’s death. He goes on to pledge allegiance to the new King Stephen, but others are less sure of the new monarch. As warring parties struggle for the throne, John must reconcile his wishes for his children with what is best for his country, and what he himself most desires. Based on real characters and extensive research, Chadwick’s imaginative tale will keep readers captive till the final page. 
Reviewed on: 07/27/2012

I have three copies to give away to USA readers - signed by me.  Just drop an e-mail to and I'll enter you in the draw.  Please state you're from the USA so as to avoid confusion.
A PLACE BEYOND COURAGE has also been reissued by my UK publishers with a new cover, so if you're in the UK I also have 3 copies here to give away - 2 to UK readers and another one for overseas excluding the USA.  Again, just send me a note to the above e-mail and I'll enter you.

Closing date Saturday 15th September - on which date I will be opening a brand new giveaway for copies of Lady of the English UK paperback. Watch this space!


I have a gorgeous new website now at  with new colours and features.  Do drop by and have a look.

I have handed in my Eleanor of Aquitaine novel THE SUMMER QUEEN and can now happily report that my agent said 'Wow!' and used words like 'Wonderful, powerful, major piece of writing.  My editor agreed and said 'unputdownable.'  I'm not an ego-freak, but it's lovely to have this validation of the writing and the research.  It's been a long haul!