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It is good to have another Thomas of Hookton story
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.