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Publisher's Summary

1347 is a year of war and unrest. England's army is fighting in France, encouraging the Scots to invade their old enemy. Thomas of Hookton, sent back to England to follow an ancient trail which suggests his family once owned the Holy Grail, instead becomes embroiled in the savage fight when the Scots come to Durham. Out of the horror he finds a new companion for the quest, but also discovers a new enemy in a Dominican Inquisitor.

All of Europe wants the grail. Many may doubt it exists, but no one would willingly allow an enemy to find Christendom's most precious relic, and Thomas finds himself in a murderous race with the Inquisitor and with Guy de Vexille, the mysterious black rider who murdered Thomas' father.

Thomas' father bequeathed him a mysterious notebook which confirms the grail's existence and offers clues to where it might be hidden. But his rivals have the advantage of the torture chamber of the Inquisition. Thomas, seeking help to decipher the book's cryptic pages, is delivered instead to his worst enemies.

He finds refuge in Brittany with the Countess of Armorica, but fate will not let him rest. He is thrust into one of the most desperate fights of the Hundred Years' War, the battle of la Roche-Derrien, and amidst the flames, arrows, and butchery of that night he faces his enemies again.

Don't miss the rest of Bernard Cornwell's literary masterpieces.
©2002 Bernard Cornwell; (P)2002 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Cornwell is meticulous about historical facts and period detail, and his descriptions of butchery with arrow, mace, and battleaxe are nothing if not convincing." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

Great!!

This series could be the next Rome for HBO. Could not read this fast enough.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Outstanding action in the Middle Ages!

This is a continuation of the story of Thomas of Hookton, begun in 'The Archer's Tale'. We meet up again with characters introduced in the first installment, such as Jannette, Sir Will Skeet, and new character are introduced, such as a nefarious Inquisitor. Several good battles, some surprises, good, good, good. And the narrator is absolutely excellent, and can play the voices of French and Scottish, as well as English, perfectly. Highly recommended!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 11-04-13

An action packed adventure

This is book two in “The Grail Quest” series by Bernard Cornwell. The story takes place in 1346 to 1347 with Thomas of Hookton and English archer is seeking the Holy Grail by following a book his father wrote. Thomas’s father was a priest and was said to be the keeper of the Grail. He was killed by Guy Vexille, Thomas' French cousin in book one. The book has great adventure, distressed damsels, armored knights, wayward bishops and beleaguered castles. Cornwell is famous for his meticulous historical fact and of battle scenes; he gives a magnificent description of the Battle of Durham, Neville’s Cross and La Roch-Derrien. If you do not like violent scenes skip this book but if you are a fan of historical fiction this book is for you. Tim Pigott-Smith does a great job with the narration of the book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great moments, but not as good as the first

The story coalesced so nicely in the first novel, I was surprised by how cobbled together this one felt. It feels like a filler between the first and third. Still wonderfully written and great to listen to. I wish Timothy Smith could narrate my day to day life.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Less Cornwell Better Than No Cornwell

It's something of a mystery why this Grail Quest series consists of three abridged books, when so much of Bernard Cornwell is available in full audito editions. It's a shame, because these are engrossing reads. So be warned that you're getting 6 hours for your credit, not the usual 19-12 hrs. But hey, you're getting Cornwell. Or chunks of Cornwell, at least. Excellent performance.

  • Overall

garbage

Poorly written. Lousy narration. I want my money back!

1 of 15 people found this review helpful