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Showing 1-10 of 607 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 754 reviews
on January 4, 2015
I had quit reading Cornwell. I had read every single one of the non-Sharpe books and half the Sharpe novels when I had reached my fill. Now a couple years later I got the Cornwell hunger again. Fortunately in the meantime he has written some new stories.

Cornwell understands long bow archery - few writers do. In fact for a while there I thought I was the only one who did. But now I suppose with all of his readers the news is out. Maybe the movies will change. I'm so tired of tiny women drawing and shooting war bows. Or men holding the arrow all the way back for minutes while they await the order to fire.

For example I just re-watched the recent movie 'King Arthur'. In this film Kiera Knightly plays Guinevere. In real life she is tall enough but she is painfully thin. She looks like she weights perhaps 100 lbs. Yet somehow she is portrayed as being able to shoot her bow further than any of the 'Knights of the Roundtable'. This is the sort of details that simply 'takes you out of the movie'. We know from the 'Mary Rose' that few modern archers could draw an English (Welsh) war bow. The long bow archers were the largest strongest men under arms. We know from their skeletons that they were deformed much as modern power lifters are. They didn't need all that training for accuracy they needed it to keep their arms and shoulders strong.

Cornwell knows this too. So his stories make sense. He's refreshing.
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on February 5, 2014
In "1356" Bernard Cornwell brings back Thomas of Hookton, the main protagonist of his Grail Quest series. This story takes place about ten years after the events of Heretic. Thomas, now a knighted veteran, is a man of some wealth and fame. He leads his own company of archers and men at arms. Though he serves England, he operates independently in the countryside of Gascony.
This story has a lot of the tropes we have come to expect in a Cornwell story. There are of course desperate fights and escapes from perilous situations. And then there are evil men. The most malefic men in the book are a Cardinal of the church and his henchmen. They are almost matched in their vileness by the Count of Labrouillade, who is a pig of a man. As in all the Thomas of Hookton stories, there is also a holy relic. In this story, it is la Malice, a sword that was supposedly used by Peter to defend Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Cornwell hangs this story on the struggle to possess la Malice.
The story reaches its climax at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356. Cornwell shows us the battle by involving Thomas and his men in desperate and bloody fighting at various crucial points.
While not as good in my opinion as the Grail Quest trilogy, 1356 is quite entertaining, and it was nice to read another Thomas of Hookton story.
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on March 30, 2016
I enjoyed this series. Thomas is an interesting and sometimes conflicted character. The other characters could have used a bit more appearances through the story. For instance, Sam disappears then suddenly reappears without the close interaction of the first book.

I find Cornwell's books difficult to read because of the excessively long paragraphs. Most of his paragraphs should have been cut into three or four instead of one. This makes concentration on the book more difficult for me, not to mention more difficult to maintain your place, especially if my reading is interrupted by life. Nevertheless, Cornwell is a great storyteller and I enjoy his books.
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on June 19, 2017
This was the first Bernard Cornwell novel I read. I was immediately 'hooked' and
am a big fan now.. particularly his novels set in early England and through the Hundred
Years War timeline. These are not "IVANHOE" - type novels. The subject matter and
situations are Adult .. but elicit a more true-to-reality representation of life and times during the
Middle Ages and earlier.
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on May 21, 2015
Bernard Cornwell is an excellent story teller. This story is about the events leading up to the battle between the English and the French at Poitiers during the 100 years war. This was the second of the three major battles in which the English archers were the reason that the French lost all three battles. The battle scenes are described as if you were actually present on the battlefield. You actually feel part of the action. In the activities before the battle, you learn how the French held all the advantages. On paper, the French should have won the battle decisively. But, battles are not fought on paper, They are fought in person. You learn of all the French mistakes and all the ways that the English countered the French attacks. The story is exciting from beginning to end.
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on May 22, 2013
Cornwell simply plopped a few characters from a previous and great series into a story unrelated to them at all. This is far from being a 4th book in the series. It in no way ties back to the series and seems to simply be the recounting of a battle. It is lackluster and not up to Cornwell's normally high standards. Much like his most recent Death of Kings in the Saxon Tales series he seems to have peaked in both series and these are the downhill slog into a pit of boring nothingness. The reader can tell that these books are being hastily written and are put out to simply say "here is more of what you liked" but it’s not at all what you liked. It’s a dress made from the remnants of 100 fabrics which creates a functional dress, but an ugly one at best.
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on January 22, 2013
First of all, I have read all of the Richard Sharpe series and found them to be brilliant.....however, Bernard Cornwell must be slipping and looking just to fill pages with alot of words. If he mentions once the making of an English archer's bow from a yew and the specifics of the arrow, he does it at least a dozen times. I got so tired of it, I was personally ready to equip them all with slingshots just to include something new.

Now, on to the possible heresy of his wife and Thomas of Hookton's own condemnation by the Church....please, I got the gist of it after the first six renditions of the story.

C'mon Bernard....you're better than this!!
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on March 4, 2017
Boring to the point of tears. Little if any character development ,a bleak island in a sea of historical fiction. As an avid reader of historical fiction i found this to be painful to read , it was as if the author put little if any thought into this, making thigs up as he went.
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on August 13, 2017
This is a Great ending to the 4 part series on the hundred years. The next book on Agincourt is the real end of the hundred years war. I now understand why the French fired on the British warships off north Africa in ww2; their bad blood goes way back.
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on April 13, 2017
Last of the Thomas Hookton books. Typical Cornwell fare here. If you have read any of his other books you will see the obvious plot lines. Protagonist with a beautiful woman or two involved, a couple of bad dudes wanting to get Thomas, in and out of seamlessly precarious situations while on the search for a mystical object. Blood and guts flying every other page. Bernard Cornwell in all his gory glory. Nevertheless still a good read.
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