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To Defy a King

Narrated by: Patience Tomlinson
Series: William Marshal, Book 5
Length: 16 hrs and 31 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (62 ratings)

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Summary

The privileged daughter of one of the most powerful men in England, Mahelt Marshal’s life changes dramatically when her father is suspected of treachery by King John. Her brothers become hostages, and Mahelt is married to Hugh Bigod, heir to the earldom of Norfolk.

Adapting to her new life is hard, but Mahelt comes to love Hugh deeply; however, defying her father-in-law brings disgrace and heartbreak. When King John sets out to subdue the Bigods, Mahelt faces a heart-breaking battle, fearing neither she, nor her marriage, is likely to survive the outcome….

©2010 Soundings (P)2010 Elizabeth Chadwick

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kirstie
  • Chatham, Kent, United Kingdom
  • 25-02-11

Narrator!?!

I enjoy reading and listening to Elizabeth Chadwick's novels. However, regardless of how good a story is when it comes to an audiobook the narrator is a make or break issue for me. I have listened to other audiobooks narrated by this reader, though these have generally been either definitely smack bang in the middle of the 'chick lit' genre or orbiting it. Her voice seems (to me) appropriate for those genres. I would not put Chadwick's novels in the category of 'chick lit' just because she has prominent female characters. Everything about this readers 'voice' is, for me, totally wrong for this particular book. I will admit to a bit of a prejudice where female narrators are concerned - I have many favourite male readers, but very few female. As an avid listener of audiobooks I have come to the conclusion that if the narrator's voice (particularly idiosyncratic vocal habits) draws your attention more than the actual story you are not going to have an enjoyable listening experience. Just glad I borrowed the audiobook from library rather than used up my credits. Not one of Chadwick's best (IMO) but still an enjoyable read.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Mixed feelings

I've got mixed feelings regarding this production. The story is great, but it took me a long time to adjust to the narrator. I found mahelts voice rather too girlish and some of the other characterisations were so different from my expecta tions after the earlier books. also, and perhaps only for my downloaded version somehow, I had announcements of new chapters occurring during the actual chapter, minutes in. If I wasn't looking at the progress on my k/fire it didn't matter, but if I heard the announcement of the next chapter when I could see the progress bar, it was a nuisance. It happened on both my k/fires. Nit picking, but along with couple of other niggles, I found this book less enjoyable than the previous ones.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

To Defy a King

Loved it but I didn't like the narrator s voice and the habit of overemphasising each characters name , especially each time she said " Hugh "

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story but not excellent narrator

Loved the story but not the narrator she was not easy to listen to. The story painted a vivid picture of the time

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Nasty King John at his best

The book was quite slow in the beginning with a lot of unnecessary info which made it a little boring but after awhile the story kicks in and it's not just about Mahelt and Hugh, we see the nasty King John at his best and the wider picture if events of that time make for a more rounded and enjoyable book. Lots of repeated words like 'compressed lips' and 'frisson' which appeared several times and I felt sometimes that Mahelt was too imperious, but she was William Marshall's daughter so I suppose this could have been in keeping with her history. All in all another enjoyable read from the pen of Ms Chadwick, who certainly knows her stuff.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Marshall's family history moves forward

So well researched and full of historical detail. A very enjoyable listen taking The Marshall's story on another generation.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Compute
  • 21-08-15

Excellent +

This is by far the best of the William Marshal series. The way Elizabeth Chadwick tells the story of Mahelt Marshal enables her to become real, to simply step off the pages and begin telling you her life, her loves and her challenges. I rarely give a book 5 stars, but this one got it unhesitatingly. At the conclusion of the story I simply smiled and thought, what a wonderful book. Yes, Ms. Chadwick has become one of my favorite authors.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kathryn
  • 10-01-12

Excellent Story. Well told.

This is a good story and was well told. It kept my attention and did not violate the known facts of the life of William Marshall.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Panthea14
  • 18-04-12

Fabulous story, annoying narration

Would you consider the audio edition of To Defy a King to be better than the print version?

No, because the narration, I felt, detracted from the story.

How could the performance have been better?

It was the irritating voices the narrator felt she had to put to the characters...Mahelt was all high and little girly and Hugh and the other men, a gruff "woman pretending to be a man" voice. Very distracting!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The powerful relationship between Hugh and Mahelt really carried the story.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • C. Abbott
  • 18-11-18

Very disappointing end to series

It's quite jarring to encounter a female reader after the previous three books were narrated by the same man. I have found that men can perform female voices better than women can perform male voices. But the most jarring and disappointing aspect in this one was the lack of sympathetic main characters and the abrupt change in the relationships from the previous book. Mahelt was portrayed quite sympathetically and engagingly in Book 3, as was Ida. But in Book 4, Mahelt is a shrieking, unaware harridan and her mother-in-law, Ida, one of the main characters in Book 3, is a whining, emotional wreck. In addition, Ida and Roger's relationship did a complete reversal from Book 3 without any explanation. I found myself constantly annoyed at all of these issues while listening and nearly removed it from my device several times out of frustration. The quality of Mrs. Chadwick's writing is excellent, as always, but the story was like an after thought, an excuse to continue with William Marshall's story, even though he figured very little in it, and no history of any consequence was portrayed. The series could have successfully ended with Book 3.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Aubrey Wynne
  • 26-09-17

Loved learning about Marshall's daughter.

Any additional comments?

I loved learning about William Marshal's daughter and more about his grown children. It was interesting to see how things progressed in the world outside of his realm. I think Maheldt did her parents proud.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bella
  • 26-02-17

Chadwick

not one of Chadwick s better novels. Historical, but not a fast-paced piece of writing.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful