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Publisher's Summary

At dawn on Easter morning 1343, a marauding band of French raiders arrives by boat to ambush the coastal village of Hookton. To brave young Thomas, the only survivor, the horror of the attack is epitomized by the casual savagery of a particular black-clad knight. Thomas vows to avenge the murder of his townsmen and recapture a holy treasure that the black knight stole from the church. But Thomas must first make his way to France, so he joins the army of King Edward III as it is about to invade the continent and quickly becomes recognized as one of England's most deadly archers.

When Thomas saves a young Frenchwoman from a bloodthirsty crowd, her father rewards his bravery by joining him in the hunt for the mysterious dark knight and the stolen holy relic. What begins as a search for vengeance will soon prove the beginning of an even higher purpose: the quest for the Holy Grail itself.

Don't miss the rest of Bernard Cornwell's literary masterpieces.
©2000 Bernard Cornwell; (P)2001 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Perhaps the greatest writer of historical adventure novels today." (Washington Post)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Jt
  • Ipswich, MA, USA
  • 05-18-07

Excellent Adventure

Even in it's abridged version, this is a wonderful adventure. No one writes a battle scene quite so well as Cornwell, (as seen in his excellent Sharpes series). This is the first book in a trilogy about Thomas of Hookton, an expert archer, who pursues venegence and Holy relics in the 1300's. Great characters, very engaging.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Barbara
  • POTTSTOWN, PA, United States
  • 03-05-14

My favorite series by far

I loved this book and went on to read the entire series. I highly recommend any of Bernard Cornwell's books. He is able to wind intricate tales and employ fabulous narrative. I spent many nights thinking "just 15 more minutes" till the middle of the night!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Includes the Violence of Hand-to--Hand Combat

An intriguing story, for sure, if you are enthralled by historical fiction -- but expect also frank and realistic battle descriptions. You'll never picture "war" the same again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great! Goes Perfectly with Agincourt

Goes Perfectly with Agincourt, Elizabeth Chadwick

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Action-packed historical fiction

This is an exciting tale of medieval times. There is a lot of focus on the battle scenes, and while they are riveting, I felt almost as weary as the soldiers by the book's end. The author doesn't shy away from depicting violence and brutality, which makes for some intense listening at times. But the characters are strong, and their noble struggles make you realize the terrible cost of war in any age.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Skip the abridged... it's all or nothing.

After reading about 70 pages I decided I liked this book so much I bought the audiobook to listen to on my way to work and then catch up where I left off in the print version later. I knew it was abridged, but figured that can't make much of a difference, right?

Wrong. The abridged version is missing so much of the colorful dialogue that makes books like this so enjoyable to read. This is the last time I'll get the abridged version of anything.

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I was there!

This is by far my favorite audio book. The performance was extraordinary! Close your eyes and be transported to this time and these places and live for a short time with these characters. Thank you for this wonderful experience!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Poor production values

Lots of faint echo and white noise sometimes I thought water was running in my house but it turned out to be this

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Cornwall is the bomb

Great narration, gray story. highly recommended. listened 4 times so far, never get dull. always captivating. Bernie is assuming my very favorite authors.

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awesome read

performance and narration was well done. I will definitely be reading it again. would definitely recommend