Vagabond

The Grail Quest, Book 2
Narrated by: Andrew Cullum
Series: The Grail Quest, Book 2
Length: 16 hrs and 7 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (881 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

It is 1347 - a year of war and unrest. England’s army is fighting in France, and the Scots are invading from the North. Thomas of Hookton, sent back to England to follow an ancient trail to the Holy Grail, becomes embroiled in the fighting at Durham. Here, he meets a new and sinister enemy, a Dominican Inquisitor, who, like all of Europe, is searching for Christendom’s most holy relic. It is not certain the grail even exists, but no one wants to let it fall into someone else’s hands. And though Thomas may have an advantage in the search - an old notebook left to him by his father seems to offer clues to the whereabouts of the relic - his rivals, inspired by a fanatical religious fervor, have their own ways: the torture chamber of the Inquisition.

Barely alive, Thomas is able to escapes their clutches, but fate will not let him rest. He is thrust into one of the bloodiest 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 once again.

©2002 Bernard Cornwell (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Vagabond

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

awesome sequel

Cornwell captures the chaos of battle better than anyone! historically accurate but never dull. the characters are human--they come alive in the story

1 person found this helpful

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Enthralling!!!

Never thought it possible to top The Archer's Tale... Vagabond was surprisingly better than the first, can't wait to buy the third!!!

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Better than book 1 (surprisingly)

*5 Significantly more enjoyable than book 1. I enjoyed book one but after the battle of Crecy I didn’t feel to excited to jump into book 2 (assuming Thomas would just get caught up in the siege at Calais) but Vagabond was great: fun devious characters like the scarecrow, a Scot on a blood feud for a traveling companion, coming to the aid of an enemy turned friend and of course Thomas fighting in historical battles (they were lesser battles I was unfamiliar with so I had to resist the urge to read up on Neville Cross and La Roche-Derrien until later). The 100 years war was such a brutal time and these books are much darker that the Last Kingdom series (taking place during the dark ages). The world building is fantastic and the little details really help the immersion. Bernard Cornwell always seems to do a great job of making you hate religion as a power structure but also appreciate and admire individuals who do their best to hold true to the actual tenets of their beliefs. I do have to say the minor love plot lines in his books always make me roll my eyes and women tend to be disposed. (Except the Warlord trilogy, Derfel and Ceinwyn was great and really the only love plot line I have found compelling in a BC book). Slight pet peeve: after a detailed discussion on the complex and specialized system needed to make arrows for a long bow (think of making a car, sub components produced then shipped to a central location for final assembly) Thomas later fights a mini guerrilla war in France with one arrow bag and no discussion on how he obtained more arrows. Sure it would be no problem for an archer to make a crude arrow to kill a deer at 30-40 yards but An archer cannot make an arrow with the precision to kill an armored man at arms at 150 yards any more than a modern soldier can make a round (from scratch) in a hostile country with no tools. This is a rare plot hole for BC who is otherwise meticulous with smaller details.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Medieval warfare at its finest!

As with the Saxon Tales, Cornwell spins an historically accurate tale of medieval warfare, complete with graphic descriptions of battle wounds and injuries, tactical maneuvers and strategy, whilst highlighting the importance of English archers and their lethal proficiency with the Welsh yew bow. Coupled with being set during the French Inquisition with Dominican inquisitors, one realizes that Church history is as bathed in blood as that of medieval history, and man’s inhumanity towards his fellow man is the historical norm rather than the exception. One begins to understand how Christendom paved the way for Western Civilisation that brought peace and prosperity to countless millions, worldwide, though often at the expense of the indigenous peoples who endured colonisation. Don’t become comfortable with favourite characters as many don’t last for the next book. While sad, each fulfilled a crucial part in the story and enriched the plot by their brief inclusion. Nothing ever turns out as you may expect, which makes the book an intensely satisfying one upon completion.

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Outstanding

The Vagabond was an unbelievable second chapter of the Grail Quest series by Bernard Cornwell. Wonderfully done by Andrew Cullum this makes you long for Part 3 of the tale!

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Another great Medieval adventure

Bernard Cornwell's storytelling abilities just continue to amaze. he provides enough detail for you to feel like you are there, but tell a good enough story to keep you interested. Andrew Cullman does well enough as a narrator, though he's no Jonathan Keeble .

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better than the first one

it was better than the first one. couldn't stop listening. several dynamic characters are introduced

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    3 out of 5 stars

Okay, but definitely not Cornwell’s best

I remember reading the Grail Quest series 15 years ago and they were my gateway to Cornwell’s Sharpe series. Vagabond strikes me as Cornwell still learning his formula that he perfected in his Sharpe books. I found that this story really dragged in places and could use a trimming edit. Cornwell tends to be quite repetitive with some things, including countless priestly blessings for warriors to bring mayhem to their enemies, French battle planning, and an overly drawn out account of Thomas being tortured. I also feel that a Cornwell misses the mark (pun intended) on the medieval mindset, with the result that several characters just don’t seem right. There are some good parts though, such as when he writes about the actual battles and some other adventure parts. I think that Andrew Cullum did a great job with the narration, making the characters come alive. If you are a Cornwell fan, give it a listen. If not, I’d suggest you try the Sharpe series first.

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  • EW
  • 06-28-17

Phenomenally written and narrated

Great characters and a story portrayed in a way that makes you feel like you were in the thick of the battle.

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BRAVO!

Exceptional story as always, and a mastery in narration!! If you love stories of battles, this is for you!