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Customer Review

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grail Quest Vol 4., 13 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Azincourt (Hardcover)
First things first: this is probably the best book Bernard Cornwell has written in the past 5 years. Its greatest strength, but also its one weakness is that is effectively the 4th book in the Grail Quest series. To all extents and purposes the new hero Nicholas Hook is just Thomas of Hookton mark two (in fact Thomas of Hookton even gets a one line mention). You'd be hard pressed to distinguish the two and even the supporting cast are virtually identical. Nicholas is accompanied by a french girlfriend who's the daughter of a French knight and a friendly and most ungodly priest. So far, so Harlequin.

HOWEVER the reason people buy Bernard Cornwell's books isn't for the great characterisation or original plots- its for the battle scenes. Frankly no-one describes french men at arms being hacked apart with pole-axes and decimated by arrows in quite the way that Cornwell does and in this Azincourt excels. There's a shameless enjoyment to reading about any battle described by Cornwell and surely Azincourt was the ultimate battle, so he can really let rip on this one.

For me the historical notes at the back of the book are often the best bit of this sort of book. They put the novels into context, add in some detail and give Bernard Cornwell a chance to air his personal feelings. Again he excels in the back pages of this novel, making some very convincing counter arguments to some of the recent revisionist histories of Azincourt. Cornwell knows his history and makes solid assumptions when the 'truth' is less clear.

All Cornwell fans need this book on their shelf.
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Initial post: 14 Oct 2008 15:44:47 BDT
One thing I ommited from my original review was any mention of the evil priest 'sir martin'. I wonder if any other Cornwell fans have noted that this guy who makes up scripture to persuade young girls to undress and justify rape bears more than a passing resembelance to Obidiah Hakeswell? 'Says so in the scriptures' was one of the evil sergeants most frequently used catchphrases. Maybe he's an ancestor?
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