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Harlequin Audiobook

Harlequin: The Grail Quest, Book 1

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Publisher's Summary

The first book in Bernard Cornwell's best-selling 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.

©2008 Bernard Cornwell (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers

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4.6 (685 )
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  •  
    Syphi 11-27-14
    Syphi 11-27-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Masterful Tale Told by a Truly Gifted Narrator"
    Where does The Archer's Tale rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I love Bernard Cornwell and have read this story a few times before, although it has been some years. I needed a book for a road trip and was delighted to find this title in unabridged form for the first time. It is magnificent. Cornwell is unequaled in medieval historical fiction, and this narrator pays it the honor it deserves with an amazing performance. I rate this as one of the top five audio books I've ever listened to.


    What other book might you compare The Archer's Tale to and why?

    Agincourt and 1356 by Bernard Cornwell. One of the greatest pleasures as a book lover is listening to a great book performed by an able narrator who can convey nuance and feeling, and through whom the listener can differentiate characters simply from the unique, consistent voices affected by the performer. All of these books are of this sort.

    I would also compare to The Martian by Andy Weir or Daemon by Daniel Suarez. Each is a great story, great adventure, great narrator.


    Which character – as performed by Andrew Cullum – was your favorite?

    Too many to say. All are good, but a few that stand out because they are such fun characters are Will Skeet, Sam, Jake, Father Hobb, Jeanette, the Earl and, of course, Thomas of Hookton.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The Grail. A Quest. And a War.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike From Mesa 02-20-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Simply outstanding"

    Occasionally I come across a book that is so good that I have a hard time deciding if I want to continue reading it or put it down to extend the pleasure of reading it for another day. Bernard Cornwell's Agincourt was such a book and so is this.

    The Archer's Tale tells the story of Thomas of Hookton, an Englishman who is driven from his small town by its destruction by a group of men looking for some hidden religious relics. He ends up as an archer in the Army of King Edward and most of the story tells the tale of the army's fight in what is now France trying to recover the English King's lands during what we know as the Hundred Years War. Thomas loves his life as an archer and must wrestle with his love of the army and his vow to recover The Lance of Saint George which was stolen from Hooton during the raid that drove him from the village.

    Mr Cornwell is a master at character and story development and I found all of the main characters, both good and evil, to be interesting and believable and his description of life during the 1300s fascinating. The story leads to the battle of Crecy and the description of the battle, one of the most famous battles in history, is outstanding, even if a bit bloody. This is volume 1 in a set of four books of The Grail Quest. I planned to buy this book almost immediately after finished Agincourt but found when I selected The Grail Quest on the Audible website that only the first two volumes were actually available and I was unwilling to become involved in what I suspected would be a very interesting story without being able to complete the entire sequence. However the last two volumes, Heretic and 1356, although listed as not being available are, in fact, available although the volumes are not listed as part of the series and must be searched for individually. When I found them I immediately bought volumes 2 and 3.

    My only complaint about this book relates to the narrator. Mr Collum has an unfortunate habit of pausing for a long time between a statement and the description of who made that statement. For example, "Where are you going when you leave here?" followed by a long pause and then "asked the monk". It can be quite annoying and would normally have caused me to drop a star from the book, but Mr Cornwell's writing is so flawless and his books so interesting that I could not bear to do so, even given the annoying narration.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fernando Rodriguez United States of America 03-05-15
    Fernando Rodriguez United States of America 03-05-15
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    "Well written, great characters. fascinating"

    It was an entertaining story, full of memorable and captivating characters. The narration is superb, making the story so vivid that is hard to stop listening. If you like history you will love this book. Is very well written.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-08-16
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    "Well researched"

    Cornwell does his research like the best. You get a great story and know a little more history. Highly recommend all 4 books in this series!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andres 09-07-15
    Andres 09-07-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Fantastic book!"

    5th book i've read/listened by Mr Cornwell. This is superb!! Cant wait to get to the rest of the series.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CDub 03-07-16
    CDub 03-07-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Makes history a joy"

    I knew very little about this time in history, but feel I know quite a bit now. I enjoyed this audio book immensely. Great story, great detail, and great narration. I recommend it heartily.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    susan 10-28-15
    susan 10-28-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Good book but not as good as other Cornwell books."

    The historical accuracy was spot on but the story dragged a bit. The narration was good but not as good as his other narrator.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James W. 11-14-17
    James W. 11-14-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Okay, but not Cornwell's best"

    This was enjoyable enough book, but not really up to the standard of the Sharpe series. Weaknesses include thin characters and a sense that the book doesn't have the same focus as novels in the Sharpe series. The character Jeannette, for example, starts out as a plucky woman who becomes Thomas' love interest, then suddenly becomes a rather boring non-entity. I liked the Thomas character and Cornwell always includes a gritty description of the period and his battle descriptions are always excellent. The narrator did a good job I thought with the various accents and making the book come alive. So,overall, this is a good listen, but not great. AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rosanna Phelan Ijamsville, MD, US 09-05-17
    Rosanna Phelan Ijamsville, MD, US 09-05-17 Member Since 2015
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    "The. Quest Begins! I can't wait for the next book."

    Many storylines were set up in this Book 1 of the Grail Quest series. The best of all was Thomas and his growth from boy to man with the rigors of war. Bernard Cornwell presents historic scenes in such a way you feel like you are there and Andrew Cullum narrates with such talent that you are almost breathless and exhausted by battles end. No one does historic battles better than Bernard Cornwell.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben 08-24-17
    Ben 08-24-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Not quite like other Conwell sagas"

    Andrew Cullum brings a sprite attitude to one of Bernard Cornwell's Hundred Years War stories. Admittedly, I loved Agincourt, narrated by Charles Keating, despite the repetitive vulgarity. If you listened to Agincourt, don't expect quite the same, but a worthy tale nonetheless. It's an adventure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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