In the era of King Henry II, John FitzGilbert is the King's Marshal. He's earned his way there though trial by combat and does a good job with the sums. However when King Henry II dies, John must choose a side as two groups battle for the crown.
From a historical fiction point, I found this novel interesting. Most of the English historical fiction I've read takes place later than this so I didn't know a lot about the reign of King Henry II and directly following him. The book does a good job of describing what happened during that time and how much turmoil there was during that time when two families were battling for the crown.
From a story telling point, this book had some pretty boring parts. John is an interesting character but his first wife has less personality than a rock. This doesn't help move the story along much.
This book just plods along, which doesn't make it all too exciting. You want to find out what happens to John but there isn't a whole lot of action or cliff hangers along the way.
I was reading an advance copy so I hope everything had been fixed by the time that the book went for final publishing but there were major problems with placements of quotes. It was difficult to tell when someone was speaking because it was just as likely as not that when the character continued speaking, there would be nothing to indicate this.
First Line: "'Why,' John FitzGilbert asked with icy disspleasure, 'does the list say palfreys when the beasts I've just seen in the stables are common nags?'"