My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Shadows and Strongholds is another of Elizabeth Chadwick’s novels about life during and after The Anarchy. This time we follow a young boy, Brunin Fitzwarin as he grows to manhood.
As always, you can count on Chadwick to paint a vivid picture of the period. However, in this story I really feel as if she gave the characters a chance to shine. We are treated to story that is less tangled in history and more focused on the people. I have read Chadwick’s Marshal books (John, William and Mahelt) as well as her book about Empress Matilda. I liked them all, but they were less chapter driven. In this book, Chadwick takes more liberties with the characters and the lives and it really pays off.
Brunin and his family relationships are very well developed. We see how he interacts with his own family as well as the family of his foster father. I also loved the female characters– Sybilla, Hawise, Marion–. They really have a strong role to play in the book and move the plot. They play a role even though they are not Queens. Even Brunin’s grandmother is well developed.
If you like Chadwick, I think this is one of her better books.