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on 30 November 2015
A review of Harlequin and Vagabond

Ok look Bernard can write a mean plot, there's no let up, the bad guys are numerous and as mean as they get. The hero is not heroic but he is very resilient and sometimes foolish, always brave and has generally good intentions, but a saint he certainly isn't. Similar to Uhtred of the Last Kingdom. And there you have the only flaw with these books, the formulae is well proven but re-worked for different scenarios. You know the main character is going to have to endure a relentless series of misfortunes, betrayal, torture, battles, love and lust, revenge and glory. You know the evil characters are so vile it makes you want to shout with joy when they eventually get what's coming to them. Mr Cornwell is a fantastic story teller, of that there is no doubt. I can't give it 5 stars as I didn't buy the last book in this series. Why? I am 98% sure I know what happens but I can't endure the roller coaster ride to get there. At least not now, I need a break, something a but quieter and perhaps more unpredictable but no doubt I will go back for more later.
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on 12 August 2014
Bernard Cornwell is, in my opinion [for whatever that is worth] the best historical author currently working in the world of narrative fiction; based upon real-life historical events. He pulls no punches in respect to the often extremely violent reality of life during the wide ranging periods of human history he has covered. The net result is an authentic and often contemporary feel, featuring a cast of flawed characters that the modern day reader can identify with [in some cases], and entertained by until it becomes quite addictive.
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on 10 March 2016
There are very few writers out there who can equal Bernard Cornwell when it comes to historical novels, never mind surpass him. The Grail Quest series of novels cement that reputation and Vagabond keeps you wanting more though I prefer the Last Kingdom series. The only weaknesses are the bad guys who appear a little two dimensional, and a little like the villains from a batman comic in comparison to the heroes, who feel more rounded and to a degree more believable. That being said, I still cant put them down, so I have to recommend Vagabond.
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on 18 August 2013
An excellent follow-up to Harlequin (Book 1 of The Grail Quest), this story is full of gripping battles and detailed historical facts about the way of life in the 13th century. It moves along at a terrific pace and as usual Bernard Cornwell introduces such an array of interesting characters, each with quite amazing detail of their lives you get to know them quite intimately. Even if you have not read the 1st book in the series everything is explained so well that you are not left wondering where the characters fit in the overall plot. A great read.
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on 2 September 2013
I chose this rating as "Harlequin" "Azincourt" and1356"are the best of Bernard Cornwell's War Bow novels nevertheless he has produced another thoroughly good novel. It enriched with vivid descriptive settings in such accurate historical contexts making this work of fiction a "must read" for any student of mediaeval warfare or and the Hundred Years War. Having shared a holiday home near Mael Carhaix with my late wife for over 20 years, I have a natural fondness for the Cote d'Armor region of Brittany particularly south and east of Guingamp. Descriptions are also so detailed that, as an amateur bowman, I have managed to manufacture several "period" emulated variants of arrows loosed from English war bows. However, the novel is a thundering good read and difficult to put down. .It is as good as and perhaps better than any of the Sharpe series. I would recommend it to anyone who I am sure many will become fans of the author's Grail Quest books.
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on 1 June 2017
I have yet to finish this book but so far so good. It is a good follow up to the first book however I feel the first book was better and would give that 5. Having said that this review is not entirely accurate as I have not yet finished the book.
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on 2 February 2014
This is a great book, from a renowned author who doesn't fail to deliver yet again. The hero of the story Thomas Hookton is shown in all his humanity showing both strength and frailness as well as uncertainty and fortitude in equal measure. The quest for the grail is of course the main spine that runs through the story but the other characters in the book, both friends and enemies bring out the full character of our hero. Enjoy this fine story.
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on 17 January 2016
This is as usual a very good and interesting read. As with all the Sharpe books I thoroughly enjoy the story, and the action.
I have read many of Bernard Cornwell's books and can say without a doubt that he is my favourite author.
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on 13 June 2017
The first book in the trilogy was Harlequin and it was really good so I am envisaging this will be the same. Bernard Cornwell never fails to please. Can't wait to get started so I can order the last book in the series!
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on 10 November 2017
Good Cornwell book...further Adventures of Thomas of Hookton
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