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1356 Paperback – 6 Jun 2013

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1356 + Heretic (The Grail Quest, Book 3) + Vagabond (The Grail Quest, Book 2)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (6 Jun 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000733186X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007331864
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 3.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (702 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bernard Cornwell was born in London, raised in Essex, and now lives mainly in the USA with his wife. In addition to the hugely successful Sharpe novels, Bernard Cornwell is the author of the Starbuck Chronicles, the Warlord trilogy, the Grail Quest series and the Alfred series.

Product Description


‘A reminder of just how good a writer he is’ SUNDAY TIMES

Praise for Bernard Cornwell:

‘The best battle scenes of any writer I’ve ever read, past or present. Cornwell really makes history come alive’ George R.R. Martin

‘He’s called a master storyteller. Really he’s cleverer than that’ TELEGRAPH

Nobody in the world does this better than Cornwell’ Lee Child

This is a magnificent and gory work' Daily Mail

'The historical blockbuster of the year' EVENING STANDARD

‘A runaway success’ OBSERVER

‘The characterisation, as ever, is excellent…And one can only admire the little touches that bring the period to life. He can also claim to be a true poet of both the horror and the glory of war’ SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

This is typical Cornwell, meticulously researched, massive in scope, brilliant in execution’ NEWS OF THE WORLD

About the Author

Bernard Cornwell was born in London, raised in Essex and
worked for the BBC for eleven years before meeting Judy, his
American wife. Denied an American work permit he wrote a
novel instead and has been writing ever since. He and Judy
divide their time between Cape Cod and Charleston, South

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Nick Brett TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Oct 2012
Format: Hardcover
After a long gap, author Bernard Cornwell re-introduces us to the characters from his "grail Quest" trilogy.

As the title suggests, this is set in 1356 during the Hundred Years War when the English had the upper hand in France. Archer Thomas Hookton, leader of a bunch of English aligned mercenaries (including a number of the deadly English archers) is given a mission to recover a holy relic which may give considerable power to whoever has it. Dodgy churchmen are also after it so Thomas and his men are involved in a game of cat and mouse with various bad guys until things come to the crunch when Thomas is with the heavily out-numbered English army at the battle of Poitiers.

It's hard to fault the author when on ground as familiar and well researched as this and it is a very entertaining book. Elements are slightly cut short as the story pushes towards Poitiers, but this remains classic Cornwell. Having said that, I detected a slight change in style, there is more swearing and character banter then usual and some very light humour at times. No complaints but it did feel slightly different.

Much to enjoy here and I certainly did.
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101 of 105 people found the following review helpful By adam-p-reviews on 11 Oct 2012
Format: Hardcover
Thomas of Hookton is back in Bernard Cornwell's new book 1356 and as usual, Cornwell does not disappoint with this novel. I have been looking forward to this book release for a very long time. Cornwell's Grail Quest trilogy was the first series of books that I ever read, so Thomas of Hookton holds a dear place in my heart and I couldn't wait to see what happens to him in 1356!

1356 sees Thomas and his group of rogue archers and men-at-arms (or otherwise known as the Hellequin) fighting as mercenaries in the French countryside. Thomas and his men are content; they are becoming rich off the warring French aristocracy and are able to help Frenchmen kill Frenchmen. However, Thomas knows that war is looming and when a message arrives from his liege Lord, the Earl of Northampton, Thomas is expecting to be wielding his bow back against the King of France. But, the letter is not what Thomas is expecting. The Earl of Northampton wants Thomas and his men to find a legendary relic called La Malice. La Malice is the sword of Saint Peter. The holy sword the Saint used to defend Jesus from the Romans.

The Earl of Northampton stresses how important La Malice is and Thomas sets out to reclaim it for the Kingdom of England. However, Thomas is not the only person looking for the sword! Thomas's nemesis Cardinal Bessieres is also looking for the relic in a vain attempt to become the next Pope! Both parties intertwine within the book, but the great finale between these two, and who ends up with the sword, is decided at the Battle of Poitiers! Will it be Thomas and the English or Bessieres and the French?

As usual, this was a great read from Bernard Cornwell and I'm glad that he has returned to this series because my favourite period in history is the Hundred Years War.
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Pyers Symon on 29 Sep 2012
Format: Hardcover
1356 is - as any history buff will know - about the Poitiers campaign which culminated in the crushing defeat of the French by the Black Prince. Cornwell reintroduces use to Thomas of Hookton - now older, married with a son. We follow his fights against the normal crop of enemies that Thomas seems to accumulate: fat counts, sadistic churchmen, power mad cardinals (plus a meeting with the Pope who at that time was resident in Avignon)... Sir Thomas (yes knighted by the Earl of Northampton!) has a group of archers by his side who follow him on his adventures picking up damsels in distress, a dodgy sword - oh and a "perfect gentle-knight" who possible takes chivalry a little bit too far....

It all ends at Poitiers - where one of the great English (ok plus Gascon and Welsh!) victories of the 100 Years War occurs.

The book stands apart from the Vagabond trilogy - prior reading is not required (although it will help if you have read them of course if only to get the characters) and is characterised by Cornwell's detail to historical accuracy (as always the historical note section at the end of the book is fascinating).

Oh: violence and blood. Lots of it ....
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Andy Herbert on 4 May 2013
Format: Hardcover
I was really looking forward to this book as Thomas of Hookton is probably one of my favourite characters. However as I started reading I just couldn't understand what had happened, there was no excitement and felt as if I was just being taken through the same old story with no real effort put in.

The reason for my high level of disappointment is due to what an amazing time I have had reading some of his other books. The grail quest and starbuck series are fantastic books and I could not recommend them more highly. I can remember reading them and being on the edge of my seat and just not being able to stop, in contrast with this book in which I just didn't want to carry on. Also in his earlier books I can remember characters being amazing and you fell in love with them, people like Thomas Truslow and Sir Guillaume d'Evecque.

In the end I stopped half way through and picked up Rory Clements 'Traitor', after no more than thirty pages I was hooked. That is what the old Cornwell was able to do.

My advice would be to read his earlier books and hope he returns to the same form again. Hopefully he moves away from these one off books and gives us a really cracking series again.
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