The first book in Bernard Cornwell's bestselling Grail Quest series, in a bright and bold repackage.
The year is 1342. The English, led by Edward III, are laying waste to the French countryside. The army may be led by the King, but it is the archers, the common men, who are England's secret weapon. The French know them as Harlequins.
Thomas of Hookton is one of these archers. But he is also on a personal mission: To avenge his father's death and retrieve a stolen relic. Thomas begins a quest that will lead him through fields smeared with the smoke of fires set by the rampaging English, until at last the two armies face each other on a hillside near the village of Crécy.
©2000 Bernard Cornwell (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
"Crackling with good deeds, fine characters and sparkling set pieces, it confirms yet again Cornwell's reputation for masterly historical novels" (Daily Mail)"It is all spectacular, rattling good stuff: war and torture; love, lust and loss" (The Times)"The battle scenes, as always, are masterful; and the vignettes of everyday living, in times of extreme hardship, have the ring of simple truth" (Sunday Telegraph)"A very fine writer" (Economist)
"Another Cornwell Corker!"
I only really discovered this author through audiobooks. His ability to develop genuine characters amidst the bloody violence of historical military campaigns is second to none. The sweeping battle scenes which are epic in nature are augmented with black, almost gallows humour and enough historical accuracy to satisfy most. I commend Cornwell for the fact that he dutifully sums up the history and where he has deviated from it in notes at the end of his books. Additionally providing other recommended reading for those interested in finding out more. If you like well-paced, bloodthirsty history books written with intelligence and panache then Cornwell is your guy and this isn't a bad place to start exploring his work.
Loved the story
Beautiful narration very believable and compelling
I will be getting more of the same
"A great story."
Having previously read this book I was a little dubious about having it as a audible book, but it was brilliant
the narration was brilliantly done, bringing the story to life.
Well worth the investment if you love this period of History.
Another good book from Bernard Cornwall, putting you into medieval England and France as an English Longbowman. The best thing about Cornwall are his battle scenes, in which Harlequin does not disappoint. He manages to put you right in the thick of the action, while also giving you a global picture of what is happening across the battlefield at the same time.
The narration is not the best but it was never bad enough to take me out of the story.
Also, I found some of the characters a bit thin compared to the well thought out characters in his later books, such as The Saxon Stories. This is why I dropped a star for the story. But if you have enjoyed other Cornwall books, I recommend you try this one.
A fantastic story. totally gripping from start to finish. Bernard Cornwell never fails to transport the reader to a totally enthralling world.
"Great story ruined by poor performance"
Pauses in all the wrong places are incredibly irritating. Like listening to a machine that doesn't understand what it's reading.
"An excellent story as ever."
As always a well researched historical novel . A good listen. A captivating story. Highly recommend it
As an avid reader I now enjoy listening and get the same thrill as before
This is a great story and well performed, but after Cornwell's superb Azincourt this felt the tiniest bit flat on compare.
"Decent story, interesting setting."
Sir Simon's introduction as an apparent Flashman facsimile - whose greyed perspective and motivations we are treated to inbetween chapters focussing on Tom - made for a compelling first act. However, this interesting set up is rarely used after then and the book suffers for lack of a truly memorable character.
Also, the audiobook is let down by overuse of the word "bastard" in the final battle scene that, when shouted in your ear rather than read off the page, starts to grate.
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