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4.6 out of 5 stars
44
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 29 May 2017
True to Bernard Cornwell this is a great story line told in the authors usual brilliant style.I am now starting to read the follow up Fallen Angels once I have finished Waterloo.Cornwells knowledge and ability to produce one great novel after another is truly remarkable.
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on 3 March 2017
Very good
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on 26 July 2017
Gripping
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on 13 August 2017
Great read
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on 15 December 2007
This book is unusual for Bernard Cornwell novel, as the central character is not a soldier or a warrior and is in fact female. This however does not prevent A Crowing Mercy from being a thoroughly exciting and enthralling tale (and this is typical of Cornwell). Initially I picked up this book with a great deal of apprehension, as I felt it might disappoint when compared to later novels by the author. My concrens were dismissed from the start and I was hooked from beggining to end.

The novel follows Dorcas, known as Campion through life growing up in a strict puritan family, to running away from home during the English Civil War. The tale is filled with passion, intrigue and action as campion attempts to track down her unknown father and unravel the mysterious legacy he left her.

On the whole this is a fascinating book and well worth picking up if you like historical novels and even if your not normally a fan of Cornwell.
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on 7 October 2004
I think this is one of the best books i've ever read. I can't stop wondering what else would happen to all the characters had the book not finished. Beautifully written and it has all you could wish for from a book: it's witty, it's mysterious, it's romantic.
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on 9 February 2015
It is 1643, early on in the English Civil War. A puritan maiden with a name, Dorcas Slythe, as unsuited to her beauty and good nature as it is suited to her grim upbringing, is taking a forbidden naked dip in the river. There she accidentally encounters love in the form of Toby Lazender, a charming young royalist who renames her Campion and ignites in her a spirited determination to shape her destiny in spirit with her new name and love despite the machinations of her obnoxious family. The drama soon intensifies as this quest merges with one to find and secure four little golden seals which combined are the keys not only to an immense and mysterious inheritance but to resolving the conflict in her identity.

Bernard Cornwell is one of my favourite authors, and this is much my favourite amongst his books. It is as gripping as any of them and as commendable for historical accuracy (some points of nomenclature aside). The historical setting of a civil war rooted in differences of belief rather than local loyalties is as fascinating as one can get, and the superbly dramatic twists in the tale are in the finest tradition of story-telling. Sometimes I get a little tired of the gritty manliness typical of the author’s otherwise invariably youngish male heroes. The younger, more idealistic and eminently feminine heroine of this story adds passion and strong emotion to the other qualities of his writing. Perhaps it is thanks to the influence of his wife and co-author.

In some ways the story is old-fashioned, which I mean entirely as a compliment: the theme of love at first sight, which I found as convincing here as in Romeo and Juliet, may meet with scepticism in an age such as ours, emotionally impotent and cynical enough to imagine love springs from deliberation. The ugly duckling theme of a young protagonist with qualities inexplicable for her apparent family turning out to be the child of unsuspected, nobler and better parents is in a fine literary tradition extending from the ancients to the 19th century which jars even more with modern dogma. Cornwell pulls no punches in depicting the mean-minded hypocrisy typical of Puritanism, and his heroes, without having any illusions about Charles I as a man or king, are firmly royalist, which may annoy today’s republicans and others who would prefer not to be reminded how deeply unattractive the Roundheads were.

It is not perfect: the main characters are rather black and white, with looks and manners to match. Arch-villain Sir Grenville Cony, for example, was “a grotesque man, of stunning ugliness, … short. His monstrously fat belly was supported by thin, spindly legs that looked unequal to the task of holding such obscene grossness. His face was uncannily like the face of a frog.” Sadistic and unscrupulous, he is devoid of redeeming qualities. Nevertheless, he and the other protagonists are engaging and individually convincing enough. Lady Margaret is especially realistic and fascinating; like Campion, I found myself hanging on her every word. If some over-the-top characterizations are usually literary faults, in a page-turner as charming as this they are like the faults of someone with whom one has fallen in love, forgivable and even endearing.

Edmund Marlowe, author of Alexander’s Choice, a love story with a very different ending, amazon.co.uk/dp/1481222112
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on 24 March 2008
I really enjoyed this book, I thought the story was exciting and it kept me up during the night to see what else might happen. Thoroughly nasty pieces of work with a real women of character. Couldn't wait to follow the story onto the next generation.
I recommend this book to anyone with a stressful life who wants to escape for a bit !!
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on 13 December 2003
This book may be twenty years old but it is WELL WORTH READING.
The pace starts quite slowly, but this is only really to introduce the characters, some of whom you will really hate and others you think how on earth will they get out of certain situations (note - no plot spoilers in this review!!) But then the pace does hot up and then you can't put the book down... well I couldn't!!
I would recommend you borrow or buy it because you won't want it to end.
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on 13 February 2015
A beautiful young woman is bathing nude in a stream (against the rules of her dour and punitive Puritan father) , when a strange and dashing cavalier comes across her and gives her a new name, deciding that Dorcas Slythe is too ugly for her loveliness and names her Campion.Instantly they become lovers

Dorcas is beaten and tortured by her father, her psychopathic brother Ebenezer and their housekeeper the cruel Goodwife.
she is forcibly betrothed to a man she despises. Heres where the plot thickens and the mystery comes in as her inheritance known as the covenant made up of four seals, leads her gain and again into danger and abuse. and the villainous Ebenezer and the evil sir Grenville plot her demise and several times rescued by good people, while the English Civil War rages and all are swept up in it's tide.

Great background to the Civil War and Puritan tyranny and misogyny of the time. Gripping romance and thriller, keeps you engaged until the end.
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