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Harlequin

The Grail Quest, Book 1
Narrated by: Andrew Cullum
Series: The Grail Quest, Book 1
Length: 14 hrs and 49 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (38 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The first book in Bernard Cornwell's bestselling 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.

©2000 Bernard Cornwell (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"Crackling with good deeds, fine characters and sparkling set pieces, it confirms yet again Cornwell's reputation for masterly historical novels" ( Daily Mail)
"It is all spectacular, rattling good stuff: war and torture; love, lust and loss" ( The Times)
"The battle scenes, as always, are masterful; and the vignettes of everyday living, in times of extreme hardship, have the ring of simple truth" ( Sunday Telegraph)
"A very fine writer" ( Economist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

good but not memorable

As usual, Cornwell does an outstanding job when describing battles, and this book is filled with these exciting and highly detailed chapters. However, the plotline struggles to develop in a rewarding way for the reader. By the end of the book I was left with the feeling that the main characters had not accomplished much. Having just finished listening to the Warlord Chronicles, I'd say the Harlequin is good, but not memorable.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great narration, with greater narrative!

Loved the book and the narration is amazing, really immersive.
Anxious to read the next one!

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  • Audible customer
  • 02-16-15

A great story.

Having previously read this book I was a little dubious about having it as a audible book, but it was brilliant
the narration was brilliantly done, bringing the story to life.
Well worth the investment if you love this period of History.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-27-17

Excellent period story

Loved the blend of history and story really drew my interest into this period of history.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-27-18

Brilliant

Excellent book brought to life by a superb performance. Definitely a must buy for any fan of historical fiction based in fact

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • B Gillingham
  • 07-26-18

A five star listen to as usual

Really enjoyed found hard to pùt, down wanted to know what happened next
Read really well read felt as though I was there

Can't wait to listen to next book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • RJB1
  • 06-27-14

Harlequin

Any additional comments?

Another good book from Bernard Cornwall, putting you into medieval England and France as an English Longbowman. The best thing about Cornwall are his battle scenes, in which Harlequin does not disappoint. He manages to put you right in the thick of the action, while also giving you a global picture of what is happening across the battlefield at the same time.

The narration is not the best but it was never bad enough to take me out of the story.

Also, I found some of the characters a bit thin compared to the well thought out characters in his later books, such as The Saxon Stories. This is why I dropped a star for the story. But if you have enjoyed other Cornwall books, I recommend you try this one.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 10-23-14

Another Cornwell Corker!

I only really discovered this author through audiobooks. His ability to develop genuine characters amidst the bloody violence of historical military campaigns is second to none. The sweeping battle scenes which are epic in nature are augmented with black, almost gallows humour and enough historical accuracy to satisfy most. I commend Cornwell for the fact that he dutifully sums up the history and where he has deviated from it in notes at the end of his books. Additionally providing other recommended reading for those interested in finding out more. If you like well-paced, bloodthirsty history books written with intelligence and panache then Cornwell is your guy and this isn't a bad place to start exploring his work.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Dr
  • 04-06-16

Outstanding

Loved the story
Beautiful narration very believable and compelling
I will be getting more of the same

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Stuart Rees
  • 09-03-19

Good story, bad editing

Great story but it's badly edited. Many sentences at the start of new chapters are clipped short, starting mid sentence.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kay
  • 06-24-19

excellent

Great reading of a fabulous book. can't 2aot to listen to the next in the series

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Johnny
  • 04-09-19

Good historical story

Really enjoyed the book will definitely go through the series and hope it delivers as good as I’m sure it will

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tudor
  • 10-04-19

Excellent historical novel well narrated

Imparts a thorough experience as if the author almost lived the experience with along with a hint of national pride weaved into the experience