It isn’t easy to be at once both historically accurate and fictionally interesting, much less to be literary on top of that. Chadwick manages to do all three in creating William Masters, knight, first of the hearth, then servant of the Plantagenet kings. . . and Queen Eleanor.Masters is as upright as they come, loyal, honorable, savvy about court, a dynamo of the battlefield, and the best knight since Lancelot on the tourney circuit. How Masters remains likable while embodying all this perfection is due to the author’s talent. Masters weaves among the conspiracies and intrigues of court with increasing agility as he ages. He is falsely accused while serving Young King Henry, but clears himself, the only blot on his escutcheon.But there are faults in this novel: William Masters is a rather dull personality, emotionally flat and frankly unappealing because he’s not intellectual (in fact, he's illiterate) or devious himself. He is too transparent to the reader and his contemporaries.Chadwick sends him to Jerusalem for a year to carry out a death wish of Young King Henry, but she doesn’t spend any real or meaningful novel time with him there: he went, he saw, he returned.By the end of the novel, when Masters acquires the well-heeled heiress, Lady Isobel for his wife, it takes no time at all for her character to upstage that of her husband. She is intellectual, she is livelier, she is more unpredictable, and therefore, more exciting. The sequel to this novel only promises to be interesting if she figures into it.