Shortlisted for Book of the Month
England / Holy Land
Lying on his deathbed, William Marshal, England's greatest knight, sends a trusted servant to bring to him the silk Templar burial shrouds that returned with him from the Holy Land thirty years ago. It is time to fulfil his vow to the Templars and become a monk of their order for eternity. As he waits for the shrouds' return, he looks back upon his long-ago pilgrimage with his brother Ancel, and the sacred mission entrusted to them - to bear the cloak of their dead young lord to Jerusalem and lay it on Christ's tomb in the church of the Holy Sepulchre.
In the holiest of all cities, the brothers become embroiled in the deadly politics, devious scheming and lusts of the powerful men and women who rule the kingdom. Entangled with the dangerous, mercurial Paschia de Riveri, concubine of the highest churchman in the land, William sets on a path so perilous that there seems no way back for him, or for his brother. Both will pay a terrible price and their only chance to see home again will be dependent on the Templar shrouds.”
In this final chapter in the life of William Marshall, as William’s end is approaching, he sends for a possession kept for over 30 years which will enable him to take his final Templar vows and ensure his peaceful passing.
As he makes preparations he relives his personal crusade to Jerusalem, supported by the Templars, to fulfil his promise to lay the Young King’s cloak upon the altar in the Holy City to make atonement for the sin of sacrilege they committed at Rocamadour and his own failure to keep his Young King from harm.
He remembers the journey with his band of loyal men and the life changing events of their stay in the Holy City. Through his eyes we are drawn in to the places and people and the struggles and politics of those troublesome times and the fighting he undertook to help sustain the dying King of Jerusalem and the memories of his own passionate affair with the high ranking concubine of the powerful Patriarch.
Once again Elizabeth Chadwick recreates for us another time and place and makes it all come alive as we share with William his life and experience.
As with any Elizabeth Chadwick – Very Highly Recommended
© Sheila Swale
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