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on April 21, 2017
Bernard Cornwell does a fine job of personalizing history. He places his central, quite believable character in the middle of the action. He also provides interesting details, such as the aiming and releasing of each arrow. Only a few events are manufactured when needed to explain the course of the battle. I only wish the author would produce more specific histories like this instead of embedding them in his series, which I also enjoy. More maps and illustrations would be useful, especially since skipping back and forth on a Kindle is difficult, nearly impossible

Of course, the writing is biased. We are encouraged to believe the English are in the right and everything works out in the end.
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on November 15, 2017
He writes a good novel and you receive a decent history lesson without the pain. I took two semesters of English history in college and Angincourt was just another battle. This made it a bit more interesting. This is a pretty dumb review but the bottom line is that if you enjoy historical novels and this period interests you, you will find Cornwell enjoyable. If you are more interested in history, read history books.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 29, 2015
I have read Judith Barker's fine historical account of the Battle of Agincourt fought on October 25,1415. However, I thought a fictional book by Bernard Cornwell would also be enjoyable and informative. I was correct on both counts! Cornwell, a very prolific historical novelist, spins the tale as he tells us the story through the eyes of an English archer and outlaw. The violence of battle is bloody and the action is swift. Cornwell includes a section on the development of the English longbow and an interview with the author is included. A good popular read backed up with good historical research make this book a page turner. Good fun!
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A rousing adventure story with a dash of romance. Nick Hook is an archer and a forester. The book trails him through some challenges in England (under the reign of Henry V). He goes to Europe to fight and escapes a massacre at Soissons, also saving the life of a young nun, Melisande. In part, the story is about their deepening relationship. It is also, in part, the story of Henry's campaign in France, starting with a siege that left many of his soldiers dead and weakened from illness. Then, the march that led to the sanguinary battle at Agincourt.

The book gives us a number of memorable characters. First Nick and Melisande. They begin as fellow escapees of the massacre at Soissons, and later wed. Then, the other characters such as Melisande's father, the Sire de Lanferelle (and a fierce fighter in battle who looks forward to dispatching Nick in battle while still wishing him well), the equally fierce Sir John Corneweille (leader of the English forces of which Hook was part), Henry V, Hook's brother Michael, Nick's sworn enemies from back home, and so on. The characters are decently drawn and their interactions move the novel along.

The difficult marches, the dysentery laying waste to many of the English during their siege, the terrifying battle at Agincourt where the English forces were outnumbered greatly (historians still debate how much outnumbered they were) and the French forces faced an almost impossible tactical situation. The military part of the novel works well by giving the reader a "soldier's eye view" of matters.

There is a bleak vision expressed throughout many parts of the book but it ends on a bright note. . . . The growing romance of Melisande and Nick adds a human element to the savagery that emerges in various parts of the book. The ending allows Nick to make up to some extent for a failure in protecting a human life at the outset of the volume, so there is a positive ending. . . . The book is pretty well written, too
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on April 28, 2017
I kind of knew about the miracle of the battle of Agincourt from reading Shakespeare's "Henry V," one of the master's great plays. This book brought the campaign and the battle to life. Also, the book explained how the Welsh and English archers were Henry V's secret weapon against the French. I recommend this book, and I plan to read more of Bernard Cornwall's fiction.
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on May 20, 2014
Set in the 1300's, this book is not relevant to the period I am studying for my own novel. But needing an audio book for a long car trip, I ran into the library just five minutes before closing time. Seeing nothing from the Tudor period I had not already read, I grabbed Agincourt. Bernard Cornwell is reliably a good read and this book is no exception. I bought the book because I didn't finish the CDs on my trip and was too caught up in the story to have it doled out in five minute blips as I drove to the gym or the store. I am enjoying the book, but am so grateful to have access to the reader's performance as well. Charles Keating brings out the charming innocence of Nick Hook, the archer who serves as main character. He also gives a full-throated voice to the villains and portrays women without making them sound like men in drag. The best thing in Agincourt is hard-swearing bloodthirsty Lord John. His extravagantly obscene commands and encouragements to the soldiers whose lives he cheerfully puts at risk at first shocked me, then made me laugh out loud. As a human being I disapprove of everything he stands for, yet--through the reading--he has become a favorite character. I think I am a good and creative reader, but had I experienced Sir John only from the printed page, I think he would have made a lesser impact. Charles Keating joins Will Patton on my list of readers to watch out for.
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on April 1, 2017
Okay for what it was, which is to say it was just a story, sort of a comic book minus the pictures. Predictable and repetitive, but I didn't exactly think going in that it would be a life changing experience. Not in any real rush to read any of his other books, based on this one.
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on April 20, 2017
Cornwell writes great characters that are easy to identify with making the history of the stories accessible to a modern reader. Fictitious characters in a historical context makes the time period come alive. And nobody writes medieval battles better. Equally balancing strategy and action, it's easy to feel as though you knew someone who was there. The fantasy content in the Thomas of Hookton novels is engaging and intriguing without feeling silly. Can't say enough about his books. Always a great read.
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on March 6, 2017
I'm a big Bernard Cornwell fan and thoroughly enjoyed this read. The background on the wars in France and the participants was enlightening. The difference in cultures and war philosophy was amazing.
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on May 10, 2016
This is MRS. Lars reviewing: I've read Cornwell's Saxon stories and liked them very much. I loved the detailed battle scenes and the descriptions of the shield wall and how it works. But I'm not a fan of the very dark, fermenting hatreds, and extreme violent torture and rape. I had to skim quickly with just one eye open over many parts of of those books. So what has that got to do with Agincourt? I'm about a third of the way through this one and it is more hatred, torture, and rape with less of the excitement in the Saxon series. It is well written, but for my own tastes, I wish it had more adventure and exitement.
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