Before we get into this week’s series, let me give you a little update on my marathon training, and a bit about coffee with friends.
Last week I ran a clean 60. My eustachian tube (the thing that leads to your eardrum–mine is effed up) has been bugging the hell out of me, so my longest run was only 14 miles. I hit it heavier during the week, including cross-training on the row machine and the stair climber.
I have come to the conclusion that nothing is more frustrating than repeatedly going up stairs and never getting anywhere. It’s worse than the treadmill, it’s way worse than an elliptical, it makes the row machine look like utopia. Basically, I’d rather have a Golgathan shit demon give me a pedicure than ever get back on that stupid thing.
I did precisely zero yoga this week, as I was simply too busy. Brigitte, my future yoga ass, was not added to in the slightest. However, Ursula, my wino ass, was padded quite nicely.
Ok, ONTO THE BOOKS!!
This week’s series is definitely a departure from the other three I’ve presented to you so far.
Hear me out. This week’s series is historical fiction set in the medieval era. I know, I know, you want to wave this one away because you once took an English History course wherein you fell asleep before you even reached the first Tudor. (Plantage-who?)
It doesn’t matter. I am quite certain most people will love these books. However, I know you’re looking for a more-specific set of parameters of who best is suited to this particular series.
This series is for the person who randomly quotes Braveheart or Excalibur. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves made you batty with Costner’s shit accent, period inappropriate costumes, and badly-researched script.
You may love all of those sexy Highland romances, or perhaps the movie Elizabeth. When you were little, you dreamed of being a princess or the King. You know all about ermine and chainmail.
It’s quite possible you’ve been to a Medieval Times, and wished the actors actually drew blood. (Because, jousting tourneys should end with a good maiming!)
What’s the series?
It’s the William Marshal series by Elizabeth Chadwick.
Based on fact, this is the story of William Marshal, the greatest knight of the Middle Ages. Unsurpassed in the tourneys, he adeptly manoeuvres his way through the colourful, dangerous world of Angevin politics to become one of the most powerful magnates of the realm and eventually regent of England. From minor beginnings and a narrow escape from death in childhood, William Marshal steadily rises through the ranks to become tutor in arms to the son of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. As champion on the tourney field and a royal favorite, William is in danger of petty jealousies at court. Dogged by scandal, banished from court, his services are nevertheless sought throughout Europe and when William’s honour is vindicated, he returns to court to win greater acclaim and power than before. A crusader and the only knight ever to unhorse the legendary Richard Coeur de Lion, William’s courage and steadfastness are rewarded by the hand in marriage of Anglo-Irish heiress Isobel de Clare, 19 years old, the grandaughter of kings and his equal in every way.
What I love:
This series is not merely a story told over several (5) novels. The William Marshal Series by Elizabeth Chadwick is a well-researched, sweeping epic of a tale, told by one of the world’s foremost Marshal scholars. It is fiction, yes, but it’s the sort of fiction that drives you to learn much more–beyond that of what’s in the pages you’ve read. It is similar to how fans of the Outlander series often become obsessed with the Jacobite revolution; readers of this series become desirous of knowledge of the medieval monarchies and courtly love.
This series will serve as a beautiful exordium into the vast canon that is historical fiction. And who knows, maybe even historical non-fiction. (It’s not all as dry as what you were forced to stomach in school.)
These books are not 200 page afternoon snacks. They’re meaty and long, and a full meal in and of themselves. (TWHS) At over 500 pages each, these books will take a few days to read, but let me tell you, they are PAGE-TURNERS. Think of what William Marshal witnessed! The fall of England in Normandy, a sibling rivalry and monarch so unpredictable that Shakespeare decided to immortalize it.
He stood witness to the MAGNA CARTA.
These are not small things.
Throughout the series, Elizabeth Chadwick takes on the heavy task of fluidly telling their stories in a fashion that maintains reader interest and piques their curiosity. She not only manages this–she excels. Every book is a revelation, each installment serving as lung and mallet for the reader, both keeping them lively into it, and forcing the breath from their lungs upon its completion. I daresay holding a bit of it hostage until the next book.
Absolutely a five-star series. Read it.
And now, the food.
I thought about creating a recipe revolving around this series, but they mostly ate meat and bread with honey, and drank a lot of booze. Granted, I’d be more than happy to just pour myself a glass of sherry and drizzle some honey on a flatbread and call it a day, but that’s not much of a recipe, is it? Yeah, no.
So I formatted a recipe for my training.
Almond Butter and Date Protein Smoothie
Delicious, a GREAT recovery or a meal. It packs a caloric punch, about 500 calories, but it’s all-natural, filling as a mother, and SO GOOD.
Almond Butter and Date Protein Smoothie
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Keywords: blender breakfast dessert snack entree
Ingredients (1 smoothie)
- 1, 5-6 oz container plain greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup milk (any)
- 5-6 dates, pitted
- 2 tbsp almond butter
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- handful of ice
dump ingredients into blender