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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

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  • Overall
  • rhl60
  • Jamestown MA, United States
  • 05-12-09

Not for the Squeamish...

Thoroughly entertaining and well read. The author does a credible job in offering the the reader a notion of military practices and the attendant social conditions surrounding one point in time during the dynastic conflict that was the Hundred Years War. Good fare for an audio book when one is driving or exercising. It keeps one absorbed without demanding too much of the listener. Of particular interest is the review of source material in the epilogue - all good references for the historically inclined...

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

This was wonderful suprise...A great story

Where does Agincourt rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the best

What other book might you compare Agincourt to and why?

It is as good a game of thrones but a very different writing style, If one story was all told at once say Jon Snow's chapters put together to make a single book.

Which scene was your favorite?

Any of the battle's

Who was the most memorable character of Agincourt and why?

Nick Hook--this is his story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Two for the price of one

Cornwell's books are often dry. The blur between historical fiction and history almost disappears. I enjoy them because you 1) learn something you didn't know about a certain historical period; and 2) learn it while reading fiction! I always like my fiction liberally doused with history. Or is it vice versa?

This book was not as dry as other Conwell's I have read. It is gritty, bloody, dirty and disgusting. You are there in the middle of the mess surrounded by poor, stinking, starving wretches. And yet, for pages at a time you are participating in a great adventure.

I've read so much fact about this battle. I know it was an insignificant battle at the tale end of yet another ongoing and ultimately insignificant feud between England and France. But this little battle, that should never have been fought and the British should never have won has been studied by military tactitians for centuries. It's contribution to the art of war is undeniable. But it takes good fiction, like Cornwell's to make us think about the people behind the battle. How they felt, how they perceived the events as they occurred, how their perspective might have differed from the historians. That is what makes fiction a great way to explain history. And this book does that very well.

While it might not be Shakespeare, Cornwell's book does as much to explain the horrors of war as Henry V.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 02-23-12

We Few Band of Brothers

Charles Keating did an excellent job narrating the story. Cornwell made this battle come to life, I felt as if I was there, I could hear the twang of the bows, the crash of steel and the screaming of the wounded, no one writes a battle scene like Cornwell. This book is such a great way to learn history, Cornwell is accurate with the history but still manages to bring history to life. So many people have reviewed this book I really do not have much to add. The story does point out how religion played a key role in life at that time. You can not go wrong choosing to read a Cornwell book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • RB
  • Utah USA
  • 08-19-10

It's vulgar, it's profane and it's gruesome. . .

. . . and it's the 15th century.
Though this is not my usual "listen", I have to say that I was enthralled. I love all things France, especially the Medieval period, and that's what drew me to Cornwell's novel, Agincourt. Cornwell's novel presents warfare, rape, brutality, chauvinism; so you'd better be prepared because nothing in this story is sugar coated. But really, nothing was sugar coated about life during the Medieval times; the times were hard and brutal, and it was a time when Christianity was used as a psychological weapon as well as an excuse for horrors beyond imagination. It's all here; Cornwell's telling of the ravage of Soissons is nothing but heartbreaking - and he holds nothing back. This story is not only an exciting novel as well as an excellent record of 15th century life - especially warfare and the class structure. Through it all, Keating's narration is captivating and spot-on. Listen to this if you love history, but only if you can tolerate vulgarity, brutality, and profanity, which, really is what the history of the Western world is all about.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Henry
  • Richmond, TX, USA
  • 02-06-10

This is the Bernard Cornwell I like

I'm a big fan of historical fiction, and an even bigger fan of Patrick O'Brian. That interest led me to Cornwell's Sharpe's series, which didn't hold my interest: the volumes I read were too formulaic and predictable. Maybe I chose the wrong ones?
In Agincourt I found a book that gave me new hope for and interest in Cornwell. The writing really gave a sense of time and place, and especially the muddy, miserable mess of the medieval battlefield. This was a really immersive listen (credit to Charles Keating's excelent reading), and one that I know I will listen to again and again. This book is the reason Bernard Cornwell is again on my wish list and will soon be in my download queue.
(Audible: how about more of his Saxon Chronicles series unabridged? I don't like getting the abridged versions because I know I'm missing something.)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


After listening to this I felt as if I had just returned from a long, brutal journey across western medieval Europe... and it felt great, if that's possible. Like so many others have already said, authenticity practically oozes off the page/out of the speakers. It's like Clavell's Shogun, only much more visceral. There wasn't a moment during the listening when I was bored or not interested.

Great story, wonderful writing, intriguing characters and stellar narration. Throw in some perfectly timed bursts of music and this is easily one of the most entertaining audio books you'll ever find. Don't miss it!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Scott
  • Roseville, CA, United States
  • 04-15-09

The Grit of the Middle Ages and Warfare

This book does not "pull its punches". Contained is ALL the grisly nastiness of the age such as: some priests having license to do murderous things, very intense cursing, and brutally honest descriptions of real hand to hand combat, (e.g. swords pushed into open visors.) NOT for the squeamish, this a very historically accurate account of a REAL battle between France and England, famous enough to have earned its own name. (In a world of nearly constant war that is no small thing.) The English had bowmen who were heroically strong. The book gives you a deep understanding of the incredible strength and dexterity required to draw an the very thick, heavy, powerful, deadly bows of that age, an arrow from which could slice through metal armor. Described is how life looked, felt, and even smelled to soldiers. The descriptions in Agincourt top any filmed brutal historical battle sequences by NOT avoiding ANY of the awful realities of such combat. To his credit the author cites references (at the end of the book), several conflicting accounts of actual battle statistics and a the very few liberties he took (it is historical fiction) with events and why. Regardless, this epic tale is perfectly narrated and produced. (FYI, Agincourt was the inspiration for Shakespeare's King Henry V.) All that makes Agincourt a "must read" for those wishing an incredibly compelling, fascinating, and gritty story. This is no dull history lesson. Rather the author puts you right smack in the middle of one of the most amazing battles ever fought.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • David
  • Harriman, NY, United States
  • 04-08-09

Cornwell is phenominal storyteller

This narrator and the tale is the best I've read of Cornwell's thus far. I loved the Saxon Chronicles and have waited for another. Agincourt was riveting. I loved the characters and laughed out loud at Sir John's verbal barbs. Well written and void of a slow moment.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sue
  • St Louis, MO, USA
  • 03-21-09

not so much

I like historical novels and this one had some good reviews, but in the end I felt like it was a long gory description of a battle, with some story added on to the front. I was disappointed.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful