1356

A Novel
Narrated by: Jack Hawkins
Series: The Grail Quest, Book 4
Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,265 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Bernard Cornwell, the "master of martial fiction" (Booklist), brings Thomas of Hookton from the popular Grail Quest series into a new adventure in 1356, a thrilling stand-alone novel. On September 19, 1356, a heavily outnumbered English army faced off against the French in the historic Battle of Poitiers.

In 1356, Cornwell resurrects this dramatic and bloody struggle - one that would turn out to be the most decisive and improbable victory of the Hundred Years' War, a clash where the underdog English not only the captured the strategic site of Poitiers, but the French King John II as well.

In the vein of Cornwell's best-selling Agincourt, 1356 is an action-packed story of danger and conquest, rich with military strategy and remarkable characters - both villainous and heroic - transporting readers to the front lines of war while painting a vivid picture of courage, treachery, and combat.

©2012 Bernard Cornwell (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A Classic Story Comes To Life

Any additional comments?

Overall, I loved this book. The narration was clear and distinct, and the story was well told. About my only dismay was when I realized that this actually the fourth book of the Grail Quest series, and then I was seriously annoyed to find that books 1-3 are only available as abridged versions.
I honestly don't know why publishers waste their time or effort with abridged versions, I personally won't waste time or money on abridged versions.
Maybe someday someone at Audible will realize that there is a HUGE market for unabridged books.

49 people found this helpful

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Excitingly descriptive medieval battles

Thomas of Hookton continues his battle against Christian relics. As you listen to the battle scenes you may have to duck to avoid the splatter of blood flying. A quite excellent tale of dastardly Royals, Clerics and varlets and god awful justice handed out. I am still trying to decide if I like this better than the Sharpe sagas. Well worth the credit and maybe even another.

10 people found this helpful

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Couldn't stop listening

What did you love best about 1356?

Being drawn into the ambiance of 14th century war and intrigue.

What was one of the most memorable moments of 1356?

The scene with Thomas, the fresco painter, the cardinal and the priest in the chapel was hilarious.

What three words best describe Jack Hawkins’s performance?

Almost just right

Any additional comments?

Hawkins is great, however he repeatedly irritates with a two of my pet peeves: the pronunciation of "all" as "auwlll" (it's amaziing how many words have that ending) and pronouncing the word, "vuLnerable" as "vuNNerable."

3 people found this helpful

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A First Class Yarn!!!!

I've always been a fan of Cornwell's medieval novels and this is the first one that I have had the pleasure of enjoying as an audiobook. The story is great and Jack Hawkin's narration is first class. Can't wait for the next installment.

7 people found this helpful

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1356: French Deja Vu All Over Again

Any additional comments?

1356 is a mix of the Grail Series that featured Thomas of Hookton and Agincourt. Both books ended with a battle where the outnumbered English army defeats a seemingly unbeatable French army outside a small town in France.

In the process, Thomas seeks the sword of Peter, rescures a captured woman; defeats a foe out to destroy him personally; and gets around to playing a key role in winning the battle.

Instead of seeking the Holy Grail, in this book, Thomas seeks the Sword of Peter. There was a belief back in the Middle Ages that a Holy Relic contained great power and the person who owned the relic would be able to use that relic's power for their own personal benefit. Therefore, the owner of the Sword of Peter (the one used to cut off the ear of the slave when Jesus was captured by the Romans) would be unbeatable in battle.

Each of Bernard Cornwell's series have a unique flavor. Their hero is a current or past military figure with his own strengths and weaknesses. That hero must learn to think of others beyond himself. That hero has a foe who personally dislikes him and decides to kill him. Cornwell does a great job is revealing the hero and making him likable without making him unbelievable.

I am a big fan of Cornwell and enjoyed this book. The format is more in keeping with the Grail Series that feaures Thomas and the book would seem to be #4 in the series.

If you like English history with a definite military flavor, you will enjoy this book. And the ending regarding the destiny of the sword was most unique and creative.

6 people found this helpful

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First class story; first class performance

Before I review the novel, let me write something about Jack Hawkins. I don't know how many people check the "sample" audio before they decide to purchase a book, but in this case don't be fooled by the short sample. It reflects nothing of the magnificent voices of Jack Hawkins. I know the term has been used many times, but he truly brings the Cornwell characters to life. I wish he had narrated all the author's books.
"1356" despite its blood and gore, is an incredible story with Thomas of Hookton, a leader of a group of mercenary archers, "the Hellequin" as its central character. This book culminates in the Battle of Poitiers, a rather unknown English victory is the 100 years war. But it is more than a tale of war; it is a tale of love between husband and wife (Thomas and Genevieve), a tale of hate between the Count of Labrouillade, a disgusting specimen of a man and his wife who sensibly runs off with another man, and it is a tale of a demonic priest, an ambitious cardinal and other corrupted and corruptible churchmen. It is also a quest story, this time for the sword that St Peter used to cut off the ear of an enemy. In fact, for those following Cornwell's quest novels, this is the fifth.
I highly recommend this book/

9 people found this helpful

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Terrific

Love the character Thomas. Hope for more of his adventures. Reader was also fantastic. highly recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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Awesome book. No historical notes in audible

Audible, the best part of a Cornwell novel is the historical note. Why don't you record those for his novels?

Where can I find the in text form to read?

2 people found this helpful

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classic Cornwell

The last of the series was another book you just could not stop listening to. Jack Hawkins was great! i just wish they would keep the same Narrator through the whole series..

2 people found this helpful

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Great series, but this one got lose in the end.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

The narrator did a superb job and really added an extra layer to the story.

Would you recommend 1356 to your friends? Why or why not?

Mr Cornwell is the master of historical fiction of this period in my opinion. It is well researched and has a fascinating story line.

What about Jack Hawkins’s performance did you like?

He has a voice that is very easy to listen to and you don't find yourself judging his voices of different characters.

If you could take any character from 1356 out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I don't know... given the types of people they are a night out that included a few drinks may end up in a deadly alehouse brawl.

Any additional comments?

It was a great story in a great series, But in the end it felt like the author was rushing to the conclusion. There were major characters that you were wondering about from the previous series that were explained away in a rather lackluster way and while the climatic battle was very exciting the "ride of into the sunset moment to end the series was lackluster. the last encounter with the main antagonist was very bland and major characters went away with just a few sentences that brusquely dismissed them. Perhapes there is more to come from Thomas of Hookton which would make my day, but the book reads like it is the finale and there is no mention of the fate of the heros after the end of the battle.

2 people found this helpful