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Agincourt

Narrated by: Charles Keating
Length: 16 hrs and 13 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (3,701 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Bernard Cornwell tackles his richest, most thrilling subject: the heroic tale of Agincourt.

Young Nicholas Hook is dogged by a curse, haunted by what he has failed to do and banished for what he has done. A wanted man in England, he is driven to fight as a mercenary archer in France, where he finds two things he can love: his instincts as a fighting man, and a girl in trouble. Together they survive the notorious massacre at Soissons, an event that shocks all Christendom. With no options left, Hook heads home to England, where his capture means certain death.

Instead he is discovered by the young King of England, Henry V himself, and by royal command he takes up the longbow again and dons the cross of Saint George. Hook returns to France as part of the superb army Henry leads in his quest to claim the French crown. But after the English campaign suffers devastating early losses, it becomes clear that Hook and his fellow archers are their king's last resort in a desperate fight against an enemy more daunting than they could ever have imagined.

One of the most dramatic victories in British history, the battle of Agincourt, immortalized by Shakespeare in Henry V, pitted undermanned and overwhelmed English forces against a French army determined to keep their crown out of Henry's hands. Here Bernard Cornwell resurrects the legend of the battle and the "band of brothers" who fought it on October 25, 1415.

An epic of redemption, Agincourt follows a commoner, a king, and a nation's entire army on an improbable mission to test the will of God and reclaim what is rightfully theirs. From the disasters at the siege of Harfleur to the horrors of the field of Agincourt, this exhilarating story of survival and slaughter is at once a brilliant work of history and a triumph of imagination Bernard Cornwell at his best.

©2009 Bernard Cornwell (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"The greatest writer of historical adventures today." ( Washington Post)
"Nobody in the world does this stuff better than Cornwell. (Lee Child, author of Nothing to Lose)
"Readers who haven't discovered Bernard Cornwell don't know what they are missing....He may well be the best historical novelist writing today -- and Agincourt may well be his best novel yet. (Vince Flynn, author of Extreme Measures)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What is WITH that music?

It pains me to give anything less than 5 stars for this book, particularly Keating's narration which is absolutely luscious, nuanced and pitch perfect. So with all that--great story, superb narrator--why did some imbecile of a producer decide to keep interrupting the flow of the story with bombastic, overbearing, overwrought and hyperventilated orchestra music, dropped in (so far as I can tell) utterly at random with no relevance to the current action or the chapter structure or anything else? Seriously dude, I know what emotions to feel about the narrative. The reader is doing a great job. I don't need to be sledge-hammered by this kind of ludicrously inappropriate distraction. I don't know what they thought they were doing but here's a word for it: FAIL.

Must be the same producer who's done this to a couple of other Audibles I've (otherwise) enjoyed. I think maybe one of the Harry Bosch ones? Anyway, whoever you are: please, please please just STOP it.

331 of 340 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Harsh but Entertaining

"Agincourt" retells the story of the French defeat at the hands of the English made famous in Shakespeare's "Henry V." The author has extensively researched this historical event, and his retelling of it "feels" authentic. The novel also reworks a few familiar scenes from Shakespeare's play, which should satisfy those who have come to love that story. It is extremely captivating and highly believable. I couldn't put it down. I would, however, offer these caveats. The profanity is extreme and relentless, and some characters are grotesque - to put it mildly. The first hour is especially vile, and the descriptions of war are long and graphic. The excellent reader goes a long way in making the harshness palatable.

147 of 151 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Vincent
  • Fayetteville, GA, USA
  • 03-29-09

I felt like I was there!

Excellent story in a great historical setting. I loved the characters and shared the danger. This is the best audible book I've heard this year and will be looking for more of this author's works. The violence is graphic but I think it's good not to gloss over medieval combat. Otherwise, we fall into the danger of both romanticize it and losing the historical authenticity.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Love me a little Medievalism

Sometimes i get a little medieval and what i like best is when a story is as true to history as possible - yet still weaves in enough fiction to capture the essence of life. This one does it well with a narrator who keeps it flowing well. As for violence, well - it was a violent age. I found it not too heavy, not too light. I may dig into the author's reccommended sources for some more of the history, but he did a great job of skimming over the complexities of politics and relating some human interest into the time period.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Best middle-ages historical novel

This is a novel based on historical events, the French-English battle at Agincourt.
Cornwell is a master of historical perspective, and in Agincourt he develops an incredibly believable environment, both physical and political.
The setting and characters remind me somewhat of "Pillars of the Earth", but Agincourt focuses more on battle and has much more action. I was impressed by the depth of knowledge and description of medieval battle and weaponry; it was educational as well as highly entertaining.
Some historical novels tend to bore me, but Agincourt moved along with a great story, characters, and action.

35 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A fabulous and gruesome yarn

I don't often read historical fiction, but I will be returning to this genre soon and often in search of a work approaching the caliber of Agincourt. Cornwell does a marvelous job of fully and viscerally plunging you into life in feudal Europe. His attention to details, from the way longbows and arrows are fashioned to the unimaginable brutality of combat, makes the story utterly gripping. The reader gives an impassioned performance in his depiction of Cornwell's words. This one will really stay with you.

32 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic!

I have almost unknowingly been looking for a book like this for a long time! I am a fan of Stephen Pressfield's historical fiction books and George RR Martin does a great job mixing fiction and reality into his own realm (phenomenally so); but Cornwell does a great job of making his book, although grounded in history, into a story that puts you there in a way that few other historical fictions ever have managed! I am truly in awe! it is worth a read (or listen... the reader is great by the way)! Highly Recommend!

43 of 46 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kristina
  • Queensbury, NY, United States
  • 11-19-09

Can't get enough of this story

I have listened to this story three times over the past year and love it every time!!
The narrator is the so great; all of his voices are spot on. Mr. Keating has the ability to give subtle nuance to different characters; even his female voices sound right, somehow.
But the story is a terrific mix of history and battle theory, study on archery, small town boy against the world overcomes all with a bit of romance. I can't fault it - save that I wanted it to be three times longer!
If you are bothered by rough language or gory details, this book might not be for you. If you appreciate a straight-forward, well written, well narrated historical fiction, download away!

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 05-07-09

Engrossing

This book has a slightly different appeal than the Sharpe books for which Cornwell is justly famous. Because it is a one off without the support of a long established central character, it is slightly less rich in its biographical texture, but Nick the archer does not lack for complexity and humanity. As always, Cornwell shines in his ability to create the detail, color and emotional reality of a bygone era. Since a good deal of the book is about combat, the realism may be too much for some readers, but it is always aimed at communicating the truth of the moment rather than at its shock value. If you like Patrick O'Brian, you are pretty much a lock to love Cornwell. Exhaustively researched and meticulously recreated both physically and emotionally.
No review of this book would be complete without a bow to the narration which raises it from four to five stars. Brilliant work.

35 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jason
  • Jacksonvilee, FL, USA
  • 07-31-09

Simply Perfect

This was simply the most amazingly written, perfectly narrated tale I've ever surrendered to. Delicious, funny (the first time we meet Sir John is alone worth the entire purchase price), brutal, and detailed. I simply could not ingest the book fast enough.

I sit here now, basking in the afterglow of a masterful novel. The book is decidedly graphic, but not unnecessarily so: this book entails medieval warfare. In fact, it so captures the horrors of war that it makes me wonder how humanity ever crawled out of the Middle Ages alive.

The characterization in the novel is brilliant. And the characters are completely engaging.

Above all, though, I loved Sir John. Not only is he one of the most humorously written historical figures, but the sheer delight of Charles Keating's characterization is stupendous.

My only regret: you can only hear this "for the first time" once. But I will listen to this again and again in the future.

Simply brilliant. Simply perfect.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Dave & Jenny
  • 06-26-19

Get rid of that music!!!!

Good story; good performance. But why on earth have you put loud music over the narrator at the beginning of some chapters? It's so annoying.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris Underhill
  • 02-23-19

A battle royal!<br />

The story of Nicholas Hook is in many ways similar to that of Thomas of Hookton....in this case carrying both a powerful story of love across the barriers of English and French. It is also an interesting story of medival patronage...both at village and battle troop level. Ultimately it is a beautifully described battle scene which takes its time building slowly and carefully to the extraordinary end. Agincourt is a fine well told story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jen Berry
  • 06-26-19

same old, same old

ive already got this book, the only.difference is the unnecessary music. and why are dates read as per america ie 25 October and not the 25th of october

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • B. Strutton
  • 10-07-19

annoying music over start of chapters

like story thou bit wish I could turn off the music where it appears

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mike
  • 09-15-19

A solid romp, slightly marred by annoying music

Story: A decent narrative. Bernard Cornwell excels at describing the action and the book is at its finest when we're in the heat of battle. I found most of the characters quite one-dimensional and found myself not particularly interested in any of their individual outcomes, but I still enjoyed the book for its decent portrayal of the overall campaign and excellent action sequences.

Performance: Well-narrated on the whole. I agree about a previous reviewer who said it would've been nice if the characters' voices had been a little more varied, but it was fine for the most part. The main reason for only 3 stars is the incredibly annoying, distracting and intrusive music that occasionally blasts out at various intervals. It was infrequent enough not to ruin the audiobook, but it was totally unnecessary and when it did pop up I found it distracting while trying to listen to the narration. Would go up to 4 stars without the music.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Cuperman
  • 07-27-19

good

good story, good characters with acceptable narration, but annoying musical background every now and then.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-12-19

Very enjoyable listen

I'd agree with the other reviews that are questioning why the music is in there. its not very good and doesn't really fit with the story. just sort of comes out of nowhere.

Other than that its an excellent listen with a very good narrator

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sean Churchiill
  • 10-07-19

fantastic story

really enjoyed listening to this tile, another great novel by BC. would reccomend to all interested in historical events

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul Kersey
  • 04-22-19

brilliant story

brilliant . I read it years ago but when listening to it so much more detail . Excellent

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr G K Miller
  • 04-21-19

Just brilliant- please make this a movie

Loved it. Great story, brilliant characters, sublime performance.

I'd love to see how a director like Ridley Scott would bring this to the big screen. Please someone make it happen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-12-19

Phenomenal, please get rid of the music!!!

I see what they were ‘trying’ to do with the music, but in the case it just doesn’t work.

Amazing book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Reece
  • 01-10-19

recommended

Excellent story and narrator, the music added in really heightens the experience of the story