Warning! Spoiler Alert!
I have been reading Elizabeth Chadwick's William Marshal books, The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion. The first of these books tell of the true adventures of a young knight in the late 12th century up to his early marriage. The second tells of his married life and further adventures up to his death in the early 13th century. This is just the sort of book I have always enjoyed reading. It is a wonderful time period, full of crusaders, Richard the Lion-Heart, evil Prince John, and, in less-than-accurate versions, Robin Hood and Ivanhoe. I would have enjoyed these well-written and well-researched books anyway, but, due to my mom's geneology hobby, it has an extra dimension.
I am related to nearly every character in them. William Marshal and his wife Isabelle de Clare are my grandparents. In The Greatest Knight, a Lusignan killed William's uncle. I have Lusignans for grandparents, too. In The Scarlet Lion, the Marshals attended the betrothal of Hugh de Lusignan and Isabella of Angouleme. King John also attended and later stole the bride away for his own. I am descended from them. When John died, Isabella married Hugh de Lusignan, and I am descended from their children as well. I am my own cousin several times over. Also featured in the novels are Longespees, de Warennes, Bigods, as well as many others I am directly related to or descended from. It is ridiculous. Mom says that if we got all of our anscestors on one room, it would be an all-out war. I think she may be on to something.
Even without all of this added interest, though, The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion are very entertaining reads. There is romance, battles, hair's breadth escapes, captures and ransoms, and the fascinating life of one brave man.