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Topic: The Greatest Knight - Chapters 1 - 10

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Subject: The Greatest Knight - Chapters 1 - 10
Date Posted: 6/26/2010 7:50 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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Discuss

Date Posted: 6/28/2010 6:14 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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I don't want to include any spoilers here..not yet, anyway.  But a few things got me to wondering....

First, William is called a "slugabed"...now, do you think that word was actually in use then?  Anyone have an Oxford English Dictionary on hand? 

Second, around Chapter 9, Eleanor is being held prisoner at Salisbury.  Henry has not allowed her to have her comfy bed hangings, or her own dishes (can you imagine traveling around with all that stuff all the time??) and it was also mentioned that her "usual" stack of books was gone.

I wonder, would Eleanor have a stack of books at her disposal?  This is 1173 or thereabouts; I always thought books were a very rare commodity, even for a Queen.  If she did usually have a stack of books...what would the titles be?  (Little guessing game, here).

I don't mean to sound as though I'm nitpicking.  These are just things that popped into my head while I was reading.  I love the opening, William's dream of being a young hostage and owing his life to King Stephen. 

Oh...I just want to say I truly, truly appreciate privacy...

Date Posted: 6/28/2010 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
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I don't mean to sound as though I'm nitpicking.  These are just things that popped into my head while I was reading.  I love the opening, William's dream of being a young hostage and owing his life to King Stephen. 

I so wish I had the time to reread this with you. As for the hostage bit, wait until you read it *firsthand* in A Place Beyond Courage.

Date Posted: 6/28/2010 10:26 PM ET
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As for the hostage bit, wait until you read it *firsthand* in A Place Beyond Courage.

Yes, I'm afraid I've added a whole BUNCH of books to Mount TBR.  Only Greatest Knight and Scarlet Lion are available on Kindle.  To Defy a King is on Kindle, but not in the U.S.!!  How cruel is that??  So it's scrounging for books.  But, I shall prevail. 

Date Posted: 6/29/2010 9:33 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
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My thought on the stack of books.  I think it's plausible for someone of her extremely high rank and wealth.  If known to love reading, they would be given as gifts that demonstrated the status and prestige to the giver as well as the receiver.  I also imagine she could delicately "request" a copy of a book (made to order, probably) when arranging for a nice donation to a religious order, which one in her position would be expected to do from time to time anyway.  Or such an order might be giving her books periodically as a way to stay within her consciousness and good graces, and hence, her financial support.  I would not even venture to guess how often a new (ie, new to her) book might come into her possession, and how many in such a "usual" stack are "new" books, or old favorites. 

Date Posted: 6/29/2010 1:49 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
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Vicki, you could post your questions (stack of books, etc) over at historicalfictiononline.  EC is a regular poster; she might answer your questions. 



Last Edited on: 6/29/10 1:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/29/2010 2:23 PM ET
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Donna, that's an excellent suggestion. She's active at Goodreads and Facebook as well and loves to answer questions from readers.

Date Posted: 6/29/2010 2:57 PM ET
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Ahh..I just sent her a friend request on FB.  I'm afraid to go to historicalfictiononline.  Maybe this winter...

Date Posted: 6/29/2010 3:34 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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First, William is called a "slugabed"...now, do you think that word was actually in use then?  Anyone have an Oxford English Dictionary on hand?

Good question, Vicky! And since I can't resist a research question ...

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, slugabed did not come into use until Shakespeare used it 1592 in Romeo & Juliet. IV. v. 2 Why Lambe, why Lady, fie you sluggabed.

It originates from the verb, slug, and the adverb, abed. Even the earliest use of slug is recorded as 1425. However, "Earlier evidence for the occurrence of the stem in English appears in FORSLUG v. (c 1315) and SLUGGY a. (a 1225).] " Abed, of course, was in use during Wm Marshall's time.

So, what did they call a slugabed in Marshall's time?

Not lazy = 1st use is 16th century.

Not sluggard = 1st use is 1398.

Not sleepy-head = 1577.

Maybe sleep abed??

Aren't you sorry you asked. LOL!

Date Posted: 6/29/2010 3:39 PM ET
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I am not reading this thread yet, just posting that I think SOMEBODY is deliberately running up the post count just to taunt me because you know I am not far enough along to join in yet LOL I am exactly halfway through chap 1-10 so I hope to be able to join in tonight!
Date Posted: 6/29/2010 4:26 PM ET
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LOL @ Christa...

Genie...NO, I'm not sorry I asked!  Thank you for doing the research!  I love information like that.  Now, about those books...cheeky

I like Sharla's musings.  This is long before Gutenberg, so each book was hand-written or hand-copied.  Just about as difficult to acquire as Ms. Chadwick's own books, I imagine.  I can see the Church trying to curry favor with Eleanor, over Henry.  Can you imagine living then: to which side should one gravitate?  I love Ariana Franklin's Henry; I love SKP's Eleanor.  I think I would have to be Switzerland.

Date Posted: 6/29/2010 5:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
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Vicky, I can either post your questions there for you or drop her a PM and get back to you here. What's your pleasure?



Last Edited on: 6/29/10 5:37 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/29/2010 6:28 PM ET
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Cathy, would you?  That would be great!  Please ask her about the books.  Would Eleanor have been accustomed to 'stacks' of books?  And if so, being imprisoned without them is a horrifying thought!

Also..please ask her if she has heard if and when any more of her titles will be available on Kindle for U.S. readers.  I'm hoping they will continue to release more here in the U.S.  Tell her I'm happy to beg and grovel.  laugh

Date Posted: 6/29/2010 9:02 PM ET
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Vicky, ask and ye shall receive,

First, William is called a "slugabed"...now, do you think that word was actually in use then?  Anyone have an Oxford English Dictionary on hand? 

No, it's first use is Shakespeare, but that's going back a pretty fair way and it didn't read oddly to me in terms of flow or I would not have used it (although readers are going to bring their own views to the reading and it may drag them out of the story)  If I wrote in William's language, I'd be writing in Anglo Norman!

Second, around Chapter 9, Eleanor is being held prisoner at Salisbury.  Henry has not allowed her to have her comfy bed hangings, or her own dishes (can you imagine traveling around with all that stuff all the time??) and it was also mentioned that her "usual" stack of books was gone.

I wonder, would Eleanor have a stack of books at her disposal?  This is 1173 or thereabouts; I always thought books were a very rare commodity, even for a Queen.  If she did usually have a stack of books...what would the titles be?  (Little guessing game, here).

Books - oh yes, they had books then.  Not quite in the quantities that many of us have in our TBR's (!!!) but in goodly quantities.  Henry II always had a book on the go and so did John. He used to borrow them from various bishops.  There are pipe roll records of book chests being especially made for him so he could transport them overseas with him.  His grandfather, Geoffrey le Bel was known to be a great reader too, particularly of Roman military campaigns.  Eleanor's tomb features her reading a book, so I like to think it's symbolic of something she really enjoyed doing.  Knowing that her 2nd husband and her youngest son at least were voracious readers and that she herself was well educated, books would have been an important part of her life.  Henry III's queen, used to commission various abbeys to write romances for her (in the medieval form of romance, not Mills & Boon style!).  The wealthy were patrons of the abbeys and the Church and could afford to commission books to be written.  As to what she would have read - I'm just off to bed now and haven't the time to look, but I'd suggest off the top of my head, Aesop, various bestiaries.  Romances of the Tristan/Iseult type, books of manners, troubadour stuff, bible stories, fabliaux and folk tales.

..please ask her if she has heard if and when any more of her titles will be available on Kindle for U.S. readers.  I'm hoping they will continue to release more here in the U.S.  Tell her I'm happy to beg and grovel.

I will ask Shana Drehs my editor at Sourcebooks.  What they seem to be doing is releasing in paperback and releasing on Kindle at the same time.  It all boils down to the territories issue at the moment.  My UK publisher is not allowed to sell my books in the USA either as paperback or as Kindle editions, although the former can be obtained from The Book Depository or Amazon Canada as far as I know.  The latter is just a no go.  But every time Sourcebooks USA release a paperback title, they should release that title in Kindle format too. So For The King's Favor should be next up in September, and then To Defy A King in March 2011

 

Date Posted: 6/29/2010 9:24 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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Cathy:

heart Thanks!!!!! heart

That's fascinating about the books, and especially cruel of Henry to not let her have any!  I'm hoping he relented eventually.  Good news about the Kindle editions, even if it is a wait.  I have a friend in England...and I was thinking, "Hmm, if I send her my Kindle..."  LOL..

As for the language, Ariana Franklin said (at the end of "Grave Goods") ~~"I am occasionally criticized for letting my characters use modern language, but in 12th century England the common people spoke a form of English even less comprehensible than Chaucer's in the 14th...since people then sounded contemporary to one another, and since I hate the use of what I call 'gadzooks' in historical novels to denote a past age, I insist on making those people sound modern to the reader."

Makes sense!  I just like word origins...but I like a good story better.  My hat's off to both ladies for making one of my favorite periods in English history so alive!

Date Posted: 6/29/2010 9:37 PM ET
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Very Cool Cathy!

Date Posted: 6/29/2010 11:03 PM ET
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How very cool that Ms. Chadwick so thoughtfully and thoroughly answered your questions!  The stack of books stuck out in my mind as well.  And also in the scene where William walks in as Young Henry is buying all of the expensive cloth...he passes the clerk named "Adam" on his way in, and then sees Adam Yqueboeuf (who I'm sure will turn into a supreme villain before this is all over!) in the chamber.  I'm having a hard enough time keeping all of the various Richards, Johns and Matildas straight.  Do we really need multiple Adams? Was Adam that common of a name?

Other than that little quirk, I'm loving the book so far. I will admit to being a fairly unsophisticated reader.  For me, it's way more about the story than it is about the writing. But even I am jolted every so often by the beautiful word pictures painted here.  There was one in particular that struck me, but now I can't find it again.  I'll make better note next time. 

I do keep trying to piece the bits of the story into the timeline of the Ariana Franklin books.  Mistress started around 1170 I think, so it is right about the time of these first 10 chapters.  I do like Franklin's Henry II, but I can see this Henry being that Henry too.  It's not altogether inconsistent.  

And I agree with Franklin about the "modern" language.  Reading a book recently that was entirely in the vernacular of the Civl-War U.S. just about drove me up a wall.  I don't think I'd hang in there with something 700 years older than that.  The occasional swiving and trencher pretty much set the scene well enough for me.



Last Edited on: 6/29/10 11:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/30/2010 7:20 AM ET
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Yay, Christa's here!  :D 

At first, I was trying to place the battles and whatnot, but I rapidly decided to abandon that.  They're knights, they're fighting bad guys, it's all good.  And I was also dismayed to finish a chapter, and see at the beginning of the next chapter that two years had gone by!  NO!  I want to drag this out, please!!  But as I get into the book further, I see that it's working.  Just because I could read about every morsel he eats, every breath he takes...well, yes, tedious comes to mind. 

Date Posted: 6/30/2010 7:50 AM ET
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LOL. You guys are having too much fun.

EC is a cool lady, responding to our questions at all - let alone so thoroughly and kindly.

Date Posted: 6/30/2010 7:52 AM ET
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Christa, if you are on Goodreads the reading progress updates are a great way to save your favorite quotes, as well as sharing them with your friends. I did that a lot with To Defy a King (and I was teasing the h*** out of them as well since I had an early copy).

Date Posted: 6/30/2010 9:03 AM ET
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Thanks for the tip about Goodreads, but the last thing I need is ANOTHER place on the internet to "waste" time.  (Coming from the person who was 10 minutes late to work this morning because I just COULD NOT stop playing Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook!)

Yea, Vicky, I learned quickly that I gotta check those chapter titles with the place and date and compare to the last chapter.  Our boy is growing up so quickly (sigh....)

And now I see you are already taunting me by running up the post count in the Chapters 11 - 20 thread!  Arggghhh!!!

ETA:  Have you seen your new Profile page here on PBS?  There is now a place to put favorite quotes!



Last Edited on: 6/30/10 9:20 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 7/10/2010 1:14 PM ET
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I started reading a bit late into this, but I'm finding everyone's comments insightful. Thanks to Cathy for communicating with EC and making me feel she's actually here with us answering questions and thanks to Vicky for posing those questions.

I like the way Chadwick juxtaposes the differences in the temperment of William and his brother, John, - one so calm and considered and the other hard and resentful - creating a more abrasive relationship. But for all John's sarcasm I do remember the opening scene where William is being taken away by his father, and it was John's eyes that were filled with tears and whose chin trembled. Lot's of inner conflict in John's feelings for William.



Last Edited on: 7/10/10 1:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 7/10/2010 1:20 PM ET
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Amerigo...I'm glad you got started on GK.  I too enjoyed the relationship between the brothers, and it's a strong theme throughout the book. 

Date Posted: 7/10/2010 3:21 PM ET
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Good catch, americgo!  I did notice the conflict in John's feelings later in the book, but didn't notice it in that early scene.