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1356: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 8, 2013
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“In addition to carving out another action-packed martial adventure, Cornwell spotlights one of the most significant but often overlooked battles of the era.” (Booklist)
“No one picks a fight like Cornwell, who here does for the Battle of Poitiers what he did for the bloody fray that was Agincourt in the book of that name.” (Library Journal)
“A master of action-packed historical fiction…a vivid, exciting portrayal of medieval warfare….Nobody writes battle scenes like Cornwell, accurately conveying the utter savagery of close combat with sword, ax, and mace, and the gruesome aftermath.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Bernard Cornwell does the best battle scenes of any writer I’ve ever read, past or present.” (George R.R. Martin)
“Nobody in the world does this stuff better than Cornwell - action set six hundred years ago is as fresh and vital as six days ago, with rough, tough men at war, proving once again that nothing changes... least of all great storytelling.” (Lee Child)
“The reigning king of historical fiction.” (USA Today)
“Bernard Cornwell is a gifted and prolific historical novelist who seems at home in virtually every era….A lively, accessible account of a remote moment in European history, a book in which Cornwell’s gifts as scholar and storyteller come together spectacularly.” (Bill Sheehan, Washington Post)
“Tired of waiting for another of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones books? Cornwell’s latest novel may be your best option.” (Billy Heller, New York Post)
“Cornwell is one of the best writers of historical fiction.” (McClatchy News)
“The legions of Cornwell’s fans…will need little encouragement to devour this latest installment in the Hundred Years Way sequence. Everything you expect of a Cornwell offering is here in abundance: interesting characters, rich historical detail, thrilling battles, war, violence, gore, heroism, wry humour….Highly recommended.” (Historical Novels Society)
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Top Customer Reviews
This is how historical fiction should be written. The characters are written with strength. By the time of the final battle, I was so engaged in the story that I simply could not stop. That's not just a way to make a review sound good! I was honestly, extraordinarily hooked. I could "see" the battle taking place. I am now committed to reading the author's other titles as soon as I can.
I have a deep respect for the level of authorship this story reflects. I could see, hear and smell the din of battle in a way that only Martin (or Tolkien, for that matter) has enabled me in the past. I am in awe of this degree of rich, sweeping story telling. I hesitate to say that I was entertained. It's more like I was transfixed against my will.
The highly detailed narrative was a struggle for me at first. The first chapter's character is slowly woven into the fabric of the rest of the story, and although it turns out to be pivotal, I was lost in trying to grasp the significance.
Ultimately, though, I wasn't expecting to immerse myself so deeply in a story with such depth of range. It is not cookie-cutter fiction, folks. This is a serious novel, with amazingly detailed imagery and themes. And I enjoyed myself immensely.Read more ›
"1356" is a good, solid, testosterone-laden action adventure set in late middle ages France, amidst the ongoing feuds, battles and wars between the French and English. Bernard Cornwell is known for his meticulously detailed historical fiction, and his incredibly vivid and life like battle-realism. This book has all of that and more, but it's missing something that drives the success of his other stories: a robustly solid plot.
"1356" picks up the story of Thomas of Hookton, star of Cornwell's "Grail Quest" series. The book is positioned as a stand-alone novel set within the world and characters of "Archer's Tale", "Vagabond" and "Heretic", most recently published in 2003. Cornwell provides plenty of explanation and backstory to provide the historical context for the characters and their relationships, but what the story doesn't have, and what made "The Last Kingdom" so amazing, for example, is its epic scale and breadth. I'm not referring strictly to time-scale, but rather a story that's as bold and unique as its many battle scenes. "Last Kingdom" is major motion picture-worthy. The story behind "1356" would make a fine TV movie.
The plot revolves around a quest for a sword of historic and religious significance; supposedly, the holder of 'La Malice' will be the supreme ruler. Once that stage is set, the story is propelled by the different organizations chasing after this weapon of great power: Hookton, known as La Batard, is seeking the object for the English.Read more ›
With "1356," this criticism is now moot, as we now have another Thomas story. "1356" starts in typical Cornwell fashion - with a noble priest stealing a religious artifact and trying to stay one step ahead of murderous church minions. All the usual tropes from Cornwell books are here - rich clergy are usually villains, heroes are courageous and funny, and villains are (generally) craven and boorish. In "1356" we have a villain who is all too comfortable using a hawk as an interrogation technique (the bird is trained to pluck out your eyes - which I would find persuasive).
This quest for the artifact is motivated by the fact that the Black Prince of England is raiding and pillaging across France, burning crops and effectively denying France its vital revenue streams. King Jean of France, unfortunately, is too afraid of English archers to face them in battle. (After watching Thomas and his Hellequin destroy a French town, you understand Jean's reticence.) But Jean has a new ally, a Scottish general, who claims to know how to beat the English archers. Has Thomas of Hookton finally met his match?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellently detailed on the warfare of that time. The social, religious, and mindset of a long ago era, has been brought out by Cornwell in this novel. Read morePublished 18 hours ago by David Adelstein
I just love the Thomas Hookam series. Another conflicted hero. Cornwall loves these kind of hero's. It's a great insight into conflict between Englag and France in the 14th... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Mike
More of Cornwell's historical fiction at its best and fans of this author and the time period will not be disappointed.Published 1 month ago by Carl R D'Agostino( DAG)
I ran across this gem of a book as an audio selection at our public library. Now I'm trying to find an excuse for a cross-country trip so I can finish listening without... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Judith Wade
Cornwell is fantastic and this book is true to form. well written, great story and the history is well researched.Published 2 months ago by chris lavigna
First time reading Cornwell. Not a bad book, nor will it blow you away.Published 2 months ago by Andrew J Kirst
With his attention to historical detail, Bernard Cornwell has once again transported us back to the chaos of medieval Europe. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jason Stanley