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Azincourt [Paperback]

Bernard Cornwell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (247 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

11 Jun 2009

An extraordinary and dramatic depiction of the legendary battle of Agincourt from the number one historical novelist

Azincourt, fought on October 25th 1415, St Crispin's Day, is one of England’s best-known battles, in part through the brilliant depiction of it in Shakespeare's Henry V, in part because it was a brilliant and unexpected English victory and in part because it was the first battle won by the use of the longbow - a weapon developed by the English which enabled them to dominate the European battlefields for the rest of the century.

Bernard Cornwell’s Azincourt is a vivid, breathtaking and meticulously well-researched account of this momentous battle and its aftermath. From the varying viewpoints of nobles, peasants, archers, and horsemen, Azincourt skilfully brings to life the hours of relentless fighting, the desperation of an army crippled by disease and the exceptional bravery of the English soldiers.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 542 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1st Paperback edition (11 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007271220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007271221
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 3.3 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (247 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,767 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


Praise for Azincourt

‘If Bernard Cornwell was born to write one book, this is it. No other historical novelist has acquired such a mastery of the minutiae of warfare in centuries past. No one else could hope to take Shakespeare’s Henry V, strip it of its rhetoric and tell the unvarnished truth about the Battle of Agincourt’

‘A runaway success’

'Nobody in the world does this stuff better than Cornwell – action set six hundred years ago is a fresh and vital as six days ago, with rough, tough men at war, proving once again that nothing changes – least of all great storytelling’
Lee Child

‘An extrordinary and dramatic description of the legendary battle of Agincourt from the number one historical novelist’
Hampshire View

‘a vivid, breathtaking and meticulously well research account’
Paisley Daily Express

Praise for Bernard Cornwell and Sword Song:

‘This is typical Cornwell, meticulously researched, massive inscope, brilliant in execution’ The Sun

'Great action scenes, rich in period detail, are underpinned by a feeling for the passions that shaped the Britain we know today' Sunday Telegraph, Seven Magazine

Bernard Cornwell is a literary miracle. Year after year, hail, rain, snow, war and political upheavals fail to prevent him from producing the most entertaining and readable historical novels of his generation' Daily Mail

'Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched' Observer


'His best book yet. No one understands the experience of the common soldier better than Bernard Cornwell and in this gripping account of the Agincourt campaign, seen through the eyes of a simple archer, he tears away the gloss of legend to reveal the raw truth of medieval warfare in all its shocking brutality, filth and gore.'
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
195 of 200 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure history at its best 10 Oct 2008
It probably comes as no suprise to anyone who saw Bernard Cornwell's glowing comments on the front of Juliet Barker's excellent history book 'Agincourt', that Cornwell turned his attention Henry V's famous, almost miraculous, victory over the French. The problem is how to make such an extraordinarily well known story - thanks to Shakespeare and numerous histories - seem fresh and exciting. Thankfully, we are in the hands of a master at this sort of thing.

His story of Nick Hook, an English longbowman, does more than simply tick the expected boxes. It successfully puts the victory at Agincourt into perspective both politically and socially. It does so by bringing us firmly into the lives of the people. These people realised as properly medieval men and women. Cornwell scores over so many of his competitors by convincing us that these are not simply modern men in fancy dress. Faith in Christianity, for example, and the battle between the heretical Lollard beliefs, common in England at the time, and the Church are woven into the fabric of the story. It will come as no suprise that the battle scenes are strongly and convincingly portrayed.

I always hesitate before giving a five star review, but this is certainly worth it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Azincourt by Bernard Cornwell 9 Feb 2009
I bought this book abroad recently while nursing a winter-sports injury and couldn't put it down. It is excellent dramatised history, bringing the reader right into the campaign and battle and the minds of the people who were there. As an ex-soldier I immediately identified with the way he conveys soldiers' thoughts and reactions when they face unpleasant realities. It has sparked a great interest to know more about Agincourt (I have bought Juliet Barker's book on the battle), and about Henry V's real reasons for undertaking this risky business. Highly recommended.
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56 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous 10 Oct 2008
By edzshed
I've been a fan of Cornwell's for some years now and have read everything he's done, in the past I have found his one off story's lack the sheer brilliance of his books that are part of a series. Azincourt however is, in my opinion, the best novel Cornwell has as yet produced, it's simply awsome. There are some aspects here that just shouldn't work (mainly the bits with God and the Saints) but Mr C pulls it off without leaving the reader thinking 'yeah right like that'd happen'.

I read this in 2 days flat, it's the very best book I have read in a long time, I implore you to buy this book, you will not be disappointed.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Convincingly real 13 Oct 2008
The heaps of praise this outstanding novel is getting here (with sales to match, I understand) is thoroughly deserved. I have no wish to repeat the plaudits and plot descriptions already offered, but thought it worth sharing my opinion that this is the best work Bernard Cornwell has produced since his utterly engrossing Arthurian trilogy "The Warlord Chronicles" which appeared well over a decade ago.

What made those three books so captivating was the reimagining of an enchanted legend and the placement of that legend into both a historical context and into an atmosphere which seemed convincingly realistic. Plus, of course, an unputdownable narrative momentum, a Cornwell trademark.

Given the greater amount of recorded historical detail available to Cornwell here, a reimagining is less necessary. So, the author focuses on putting the reader right into the heart of the action, the fears, smells, sounds, prejudices, superstitions, heroism and malevolence of an age in which we should all be glad we didn't live. With the exception of the obligatory malevolent monk (Sir Martin, who's complete lack of any single redeeming feature makes him somewhat cartoonish to my mind) all the characters are well fleshed out and their motivations and actions seem believable and authentic.

Finally, the spiritual part of the novel, Nicholas Hook's "relationship" with Saints Crispin and Crispinian, is beautifully handled and makes deft use of a historical coincidence I was unaware of. In fact, Christianity per se is handled very well in this story - given the historical setting, there's simply no avoiding it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid historical adventure 3 July 2011
England, 1414. Nicholas Hook is a forester and archer involved in a bitter feud with a rival family, the Perrils. The feud eventually sees Hook declared an outlaw, and he flees to France to fight as a mercenary. He is at Soissons when the French retake the city from the Burgundians and brutally sack it in such a violent manner that all of Europe is shocked. Back in England, King Henry V means to pursue his claim to the French throne. Using Soissons as a demonstration of French brutality to inflame his troops (now including Hook), he embarks on the siege of Harfleur. But the French refuse to give battle, forcing Henry to march up the coast...and a confrontation with the vastly larger French army at wooded vale called Azincourt.

Azincourt (Agincourt is the English rendition of the name) is a historical novel depicting the epic Battle of Agincourt, regarded as an important turning point in the Hundred Years' War and the development of medieval warfare, with the supremacy of the English longbow confirmed (though, arguably, battles such as Crecy established this many years earlier). Surprisingly, it's the first English-language depiction of the battle in a novel in a century.

Bernard Cornwell is the go-to guy if you want rousing and entertaining military history. His works stretch from the fun Sharpe series to the far darker, deeper and more compelling Warlord Chronicles trilogy (his excellent take on the Arthurian legend). Azincourt, a stand-alone, falls somewhere between the two extremes.

The book is well-researched, and in an afterword Cornwell acknowledges some problems with clashing historical accounts of the battle, including recent suggestions that the numbers of British and French troops at the battle were much closer to parity than previously thought.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY ENJOYABLE READ
I couldn't put it down. As always, I was gripped within the first few pages. Even though I had a working knowledge of the events of the Battle, I was still engrossed by the... Read more
Published 1 day ago by amanda tucker
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
As are all the books written by Bernard Cornwell he just brings his books to life, and you cant put them down
Published 13 days ago by Mrs. L. D. Harding
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read as normal
Even through the site is the same as many others by Mr Cornwell it is still a very good read loved it an escapism
Published 18 days ago by Dr David F Eyles
4.0 out of 5 stars And I thought history was boring
Yet again Bernard Cornwell brings history to life, in his vivid and visceral style. If only I had been introduced to his books while still at school maybe I would have stayed awake... Read more
Published 21 days ago by Chris Lunnon
5.0 out of 5 stars Azincourt
Really enjoyed this book good characters and the story never seemed to slow. Got good impression of what it was like leading up to the final battle
Published 26 days ago by Mrs J Hilton
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent read
A fine story of the battle of Agincourt (1415) from the perspective of English archer Nick Hook.
Hungry army living off acorn stew before the battle worried me. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Mr. Stephen Parkin
5.0 out of 5 stars Azincourt
Loved it! A really good book. I was always interested in the French campaigns of the medievil period and Cromwell hasn't let me down. Read more
Published 29 days ago by nathan goodwill
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent read bought next in series
This book had everything . If you like history this is for you . I would recommend it to all avid readers .
Published 1 month ago by mike Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Really great book.
I become engrossed in this story and its characters.
The fact that it is based on historical fact made it even more fascinating. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Keith Renwick
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I was there amongst them, that's how good Bernard Cornwell is. One of the best ways to learn your history
Published 1 month ago by wilbur
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