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Customer Review

114 of 124 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Transfixed by Story Telling Brilliance, October 15, 2012
This review is from: 1356 (Special Edition) (Kindle Edition)
I purposefully did not read the title summary for Harper's release, 1356, before reading the story. And until this book, I have never stopped to read any title by Bernard Cornwell. What I discovered was a dawning realization that this was an incredibly well-written, highly detailed historical fiction finding its zenith with the Battle of Poitiers in the year 1356. It's expansive. It's vast. The characters work. It's a walking adventure with great depth of detail and imagery.

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.

I would recommend this book to anyone who found themselves bowled away by George R. R. Martin grand battle mechanics or with Tolkien's worldwide scope. The author, Bernard Cornwell, is an incredibly skilled writer worthy of all accolades heaped at his pen. Without a doubt, this author is at the top of the literary game.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 8, 2012 6:44:20 PM PST
Ed says:
Reviewer must read Cornwell's Sharpe series as they evoke a similar reaction, at least in my opinion.

Ed Rachie

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2012 6:58:55 PM PST
Ethan says:
Thanks for the recommendation! I will give it a try.

Posted on Jan 1, 2013 12:26:09 PM PST
welcome to the world of Bernard Cornwell. Check out his Saxon series for total immersion.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2013 12:23:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 7, 2013 12:24:16 AM PST
JPS says:
...And, if you also like a few interesting twists to a well-known (semi?) lengendary story, go for his first trilogy on King Arthur (the Warlord Cycle: Winter King, Ennemy of God, Excalibur)

Posted on Jan 24, 2013 9:48:02 AM PST
Mary says:
Agincourt is my favorite--brilliant portrayal of the great English longbow and the men who wielded it. His books aren't for the faint of heart, but for those who are willing to extend themselves, the reward is great.

Posted on Jun 23, 2013 7:02:26 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 23, 2013 7:04:37 PM PDT
North Star says:
You should read the Sharpe series from beginning to end if you like Bernard Cornwell's writing. I also really like Agincourt which is a standalone book but very interesting and evocative of the particular short period in history when English long bowman had all the advantages.
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