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1356 (Grail Quest)

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,809 Ratings  ·  714 Reviews
Go with God and Fight Like the Devil. A fascinating hero and the pursuit of a sword with mythical power - this is the remarkable new novel by Britain’s master storyteller, which culminates at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356.

Thomas of Hookton, a veteran of Crecy and many other battles, is the leader of a mercenary company of bowmen and men-at-arms who ravage the countryside
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published September 27th 2012 by HarperCollins (first published 2012)
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Jalen Anderson I read all of the Grail Quest books, and I don't feel they are very necessary to follow 1356. There are a few characters you may not know a whole lot…moreI read all of the Grail Quest books, and I don't feel they are very necessary to follow 1356. There are a few characters you may not know a whole lot about; however, it won't change your ability to comprehend what is going on. I would still say Archer's Tale is the best of the 4 books, however. It's one of my favorite all time books. It's probably because I really like traditional archery.(less)

Community Reviews

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Apr 15, 2015 Kaora rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
While this reads more like a standalone novel rather than a book in the Grail Series, it does reference some of the events in the other books so it is recommended that you pick this up only after you read the previous books.

Thomas of Hookton is searching for another holy relic. Known as La Malice, it is the sword of St. Peter, who is believed to give its wielder victory in battle. But as the English face the French in a battle where they are outnumbered, he is called to action.

I thought that thi
Lolly's Library (Dork Kettle)
3.5 stars

It took me a while for my attention to get drawn into this novel. Mainly because I discovered, only after I'd started reading the thing, that it's actually the fourth novel in Bernard Cornwell's Grail Quest series. Now, other people may have no problem picking up and reading a book from the middle of a series, but me? Um, yeah, that doesn't work for me. For better of worse, I tend to be rather OCD about book series: I hate reading books from the middle of one, and the idea of skipping a
This was a decent read, but a bit disappointing to one who has read a lot of Cornwell. It really seemed too light hearted, almost slapstick at times. It was more like a caper than a historical fiction novel, but had a drawn out battle thrown in at the end.

I did like the book, but never felt engaged like I have in other Cornwells. It just didn't match up with the previous books in the Thomas of Hookton series.
Nobody look as I try and slip this review through my updates and sweep it under the rug forever.
Oh the excruciating pain of it. I have been such a fan of Cornwell for so long that I feel guilt and embarrassment at my reaction to this book. I had really liked the Grail Quest series and Thomas of Hookton. I had been so excited to discover that after all those years there was to be a fourth instalment. There may have even been a happy dance involved when I heard he was writing a fourth book in the
Milo (Bane of Kings)
“A bloody, brilliant book that can be enjoyed by anyone. My favourite historical fiction author writes another strong entry in a great setting and delivers a great read that was one of my favourite novels of 2012.” ~The Founding Fields

I need to read more Bernard Cornwell. I know my brother’s a huge fan, owning most of his Sharpe books, and I read and enjoyed the first of that series and have seen the TV show with Sean Bean (which was awesome – and ladies and gentlemen, we have also found somet
Susan Johnson
Oct 30, 2012 Susan Johnson rated it it was amazing
Bernard Cornwell's strength is making a historical period come alive. He not only talks about the battle but the food they eat, the clothes they wear, the way they talk and other details that make the period real and like you are actually there. It's a very rare gift.
Lord Labrouillade has a beautiful wife who hates being married to him and runs off with another man. Who wouldn't hate being married to him? He's a fat, gross, cruel, unpleasant, coward of a man. The count enjoys a good meal. For hi
Jan 16, 2013 happy rated it really liked it
I thought this was vintage Cornwell. A well researched telling of the Battle of Poitiers - the second great English Victory of the 100 Yrs War and the campaign that led up to it. Mr Cornwell has now writen novels on all three of the great English victories: Crecy, Agincourt and now Poitiers.

As usual Mr. Cornwell writes vivid battle scenes. In addition to the combat, this has a little bit of everything - the battle scenes, wayward wife, chivalric knights, evil churchmen, early use of gunpowder, a
Carlos Río
Aug 08, 2015 Carlos Río rated it really liked it
Me encanta el humor que tiene, lo bien que presenta a los personajes para que te caigan bien o mal inmediatamente y no se te olviden (el autor es muy bueno caracterizando), lo bien que te mete detalles auténticos en medio de la historia (un problema que tengo con la novela histórica es que a veces los autores convierten secciones de la novela en libros de texto, para mostrar todo lo que se han documentado, y a mí esas partes se me hacen insufribles), y cómo va retorciendo la trama para ir subien ...more
Vagner Stefanello
Review in Portuguese from Desbravando Livros:

Por incrível que pareça, 1356 é apenas o primeiro livro do Bernard Cornwell que eu leio nesse ano de 2015, e quem acompanha o Desbravando Livros sabe que eu sou um dos maiores fãs do cara aqui no Brasil, então sempre tento encaixar pelo menos uns dois livros dele na minha meta anual.

1356 se passa dez anos após os acontecimentos da trilogia A Busca do Graal (as resenhas dos três estão no final dessa postagem), apesar de não ser considerado como o 4º l
Jamie Frank Dodson
Cornwell breathes life in English history with yet another wonderful page turner filled with his legendary twists and turns. 1356 is book four in The Grail Quest is a historical fiction novel series about a 14th Century search for the Holy Grail. Set around the time of the Hundred Years' War. They follow the adventures of Thomas of Hookton as he leaves Dorset after the murder of his father and joins the English Army under Edward III as an archer

In 1356 , Hookton is a veteran of Crecy and many
Jason Golomb
"They were mercenaries and they called themselves the Hellequin, the devil's beloved, and they boasted that they could not be defeated because their souls had already been sent to hell."

"1356" is a good, solid, testosterone-laden action adventure set in late middle ages France, amidst the ongoing feuds, battles and wars between the French and English. Bernard Cornwell is known for his meticulously detailed historical fiction, and his incredibly vivid and life like battle-realism. This book has a
Feb 03, 2013 Larry rated it really liked it
"1356" is about the 100 Years' War between England and France, fought entirely in France. The main character is Sir Thomas Hookston, a rarity in that he was a priest's son-turned archer who was knighted for hs fighting prowess. Hookston heads a mercenary band that fights for the English (60 archers and 40 men at arms) and is a complicated person, having studied to be a priest and having been declared excommunicant by the french-controlled papacy. As usual, Cornwell writes well and clearly about ...more
Drew Karpyshyn
Aug 26, 2015 Drew Karpyshyn rated it it was ok
I haven't read any of the other books in the series, so I did feel a bit like I was catching up with some of the characters. The way they were presented here felt a bit flat and clichéd, but maybe they are better developed in earlier books. A lot of the interesting historical details felt very similar to another Cornwell book I'd already read (Azincourt), so I didn't find them as compelling.

But my biggest problem with this book is how female characters were treated. Every bad misogynistic trope
Jan 30, 2016 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical Fiction Fans
Bernard Cornwell must have reincarnated from the periods of history he writes about. Otherwise how could he be so realistic and true to the times he chronicles.

I somehow missed this volume in the Thomas of Hookton series but have made up for my remission in three days. Cornwell's writing flows in such a way that the pages and the hours fly by and I realize too soon with regret that I don't have a Cornwell Novel left to read.

This book takes place in, surprise, surprise, 1356 and chronicles event
Feb 24, 2015 Paul rated it liked it
Boy, I wish GR would let us give half-stars. Three seems too low, but this is not quite worthy of four.

Like Heretic, this book was more story and less action. The story was great; I just prefer a little more excitement. I happened to read the hardcover edition of this, and emblazoned on the front of the dust jacket is a quote from George R.R. Martin about Bernard Cornwell's battle-scene prowess. Martin's right -- Cornwell's battles are top shelf. Unfortunately, there just weren't many in this, a
It's a little counter intuitive to say you loved a book that is mostly battle and brutal fighting between two armies in that long ago year of 1356, but it's the truth. Bernard Cornwell has the ability to create vivid pictures in the reader's mind, and to map out the happenings of long ago battles. He brings to life both actual historic characters and the characters that come to life through his writing skill.If I'd had Bernard Cornwell on my bookshelf in college, I would have aced those essay qu ...more
Jeff Cavanaugh
Bernard Cornwell is one of my favorite authors, and one of the best historical fiction novelists working today.

Unfortunately, this wasn't among my favorite of his books. While it wasn't nearly as cheesy as the subtitle (I have to think that was foisted upon him by the publisher), nonetheless it was an odd, disjointed novel that only briefly covered its nominal subject, the Battle of Poitiers.

Cornwell is at his best when he's working with a single main POV character. The Sharpe series, the Star
Nov 18, 2012 Ruth rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
c2012: FWFTB: France, archer, sword, outnumbered, battle. As pointed out in the Historical Note, the Battle of Poitiers seems to be a relatively unknown English victory in the Hundred Years War. The writing is superb as I have come to expect and the battle scenes are as vivid as ever. Thomas of Hookton has, of necessity, matured into a leader, husband and father and it was refreshing not to have to deal with his indecisiveness in this outing. One of my absolute favourite authors, George R R Mart ...more
Jun 19, 2014 Brian rated it it was ok
(Really, it's 2.5-star rating.) I came to this book without having read any of others in the series, but it did work well as an account of the events leading up to and including a specific, important battle. Cornwell does a nice job of mixing in enough of the backstory that, as a person new to both this series and Cornwell, I didn't feel in the dark as far as the character's motives were concerned. This book has a nice, quick pace to it that kept me turning the pages.

I appreciate Cornwell's atte
Steven Vaughan-Nichols
Apr 18, 2013 Steven Vaughan-Nichols rated it really liked it
A very good, but not great, Bernard Cornewell military historical adventure novel. Like most of his books he has a formula, which works really well for him and for yours truly. In it you have an rough jewel of a hero who must overcome enemies both nominally on his side and on the other. In the end, he overcomes them, but not without loss.

What makes these books, and this one, work is that they're set in historical times and he's great at catching the gritty reality of life of the times. In this
Stephen King
Oct 31, 2013 Stephen King rated it it was ok
I read this for my new fledgling book group - a male only collection. Never having read Bernard Cornwell before, but being a historian by trade, I was interested to see what all the fuss was about.
As many reviewers have noted, he's not hot on characterization or depth of plot. There's lots of detail of weapons, armour, clothing, etc, and when we finally get to the battle scenes he certainly knows how to evoke chaos and bloodshed. But more historical detail would have been most welcome - why wer
Levent Mollamustafaoglu
Bernard Cornwell is telling the story of the Battle of Poitiers in this historical fiction. I had not read him before but picked the book up randomly at the Library when I saw the genre of historical fiction. It also had the premise of a historical relic, namely the sword of St. Peter (known as "La Malice") which is supposed to bring victory to its bearer.

I found out that a known copy of this sword was in Poznan, Poland but it was treated as a successful copy by most scholars and none of the sup
While this historical fiction was interesting, I think I would have preferred to read an actual history without the fictional frame. Mediocre writing. Boring characters. The most interesting parts were the political and military history.
Profundus Librum
Feb 10, 2015 Profundus Librum rated it really liked it
Ha hinni lehet – biztos igaz egyébként – a borítón lévő pecsétnek, akkor Cornwell nagyjából ötven könyve több, mint húszmillió példányban fogyott el eddig. Igazi sztár-szerző hát, akinek könyveiben csalódni nem szokás az olvasóknak. Ezek a regények szinte mind elérhetőek már szerencsére magyarul – és bocsánat, de most pufogni szeretnék, mert erre nagyon háklis vagyok –, ezért nem értem, hogy ez az utoljára megjelent könyv, Cornwell magyarországi pályafutása során először, miért puha fedéllel jel ...more
Libros Prestados
Videoreseña del libro:

Es un 2.5 en realidad.

George R. R. Martin tiene razón: a Cornwell se le dan muy bien las escenas de acción. Y es una suerte, a la vez que es una suerte que el libro esté plagado de ellas, porque en lo demás cojea. No es un mal libro, ni mucho menos, es ligero y entretenidísimo de leer, pero que nadie espere profundidad ni en personajes ni en trama. Esta novela es una película de acción en libro y probablemente no quiera ofrecer más q
D.J. Butler
Nov 10, 2012 D.J. Butler rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of Bernard Cornwell's Richard Sharpe and Saxon Tales books. This is my first foray into his Grail series, and I have to say I don't like it quite as much.

1356 has a lot of satisfying historical and cultural detail, a great epic setting (the Hundred Years War and the Battle of Poitiers), and a cool Indiana Jones-y premise: la Malice, the cursed/blessed falchion of St. Peter, is in play in France, and the man who can seize it will be king. There are interesting secondary characters (
Ana Paula
Aug 13, 2013 Ana Paula rated it it was amazing
I was a little bit disappointed by the last 2 novels I read by him (The Fort and Death of Kings), so I was really relieved when 1356 entertained me from the very first page, and made me have that feeling of reading a good story once again. My favorite books by Cornwell are the Warlord Chronicles and the Grail trilogy, which I read 10 years ago. I've become more critical since then, so I was afraid this could made me enjoy this author's work less than I used to. But fortunately that's not the cas ...more
Benjamin Thomas
This novel can easily be read as a stand-alone novel but it does feature Thomas of Hookton, the protagonist of his "Grail Quest" series and I believe those that have read those three books previously will have an even greater appreciation for this one. The title of this novel, of course, refers to the year in which it takes place, 1356, during the Hundred Years War. The action takes place in France. The heir to the British throne, the Prince of Wales, best known as the "Black Prince" is set to i ...more
Feb 04, 2013 DR rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“1356” picks up the adventures of ferocious English archer Thomas Hookton, who is up to his usual trade—wrecking bloody revenge on enemies, sussing out mysterious religious relics (this time the supposed, Excalibur-like sword of Saint Peter), behaving with remarkable honor for an excommunicate from the Church and becoming rich from expert use of his great yew war bow. Leading a small army of dreaded mercenaries called the Helliquin (the “Devil’s Souls”), Hookton has a great business model for me ...more
Greg Deane
Aug 12, 2013 Greg Deane rated it really liked it
Apart from Cornwell’s usual Marxist condemnations of the upper classes and his predictable characters in period costume, he does bring to life the focal year of 1356 as it unfolded during the opening stages of the Anglo-French Hundred Years’ War, with St. Pete’s Sword, La Malice, as a central motif. The weapon becomes the object of a quest, just as the Holy Grail was the unattainable prize for the finest of King Arthur’s knights. But the knights, including those of the dubious Order of the Fishe ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Book listed as part of a series, but not 5 86 Mar 12, 2015 12:19PM  
The king at his craft - Huzzah! 5 34 Feb 18, 2015 05:17PM  
Books on Paris 1 3 Feb 06, 2015 08:05AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: 1356 1 3 Mar 20, 2013 06:51AM  
The best fight writer ever 1 12 Mar 13, 2013 06:11PM  
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Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother, who was English, a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted and brought up in Essex by the Wiggins family, who were members of the Peculiar People, a strict Protestant sect who banned frivolity of all kinds and even medicine. After he left them, he changed his name to his mother's maiden name, C ...more
More about Bernard Cornwell...

Other Books in the Series

Grail Quest (3 books)
  • The Archer's Tale (The Grail Quest, #1)
  • Vagabond (The Grail Quest, #2)
  • Heretic (The Grail Quest, #3)

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“Thomas nodded towards Keane. 'He doesn't want to be a priest and you don't want to be a monk. Now you're both Hellequin.'
Brother Michael looked disbelieving. 'I am?' He asked excitedly.
'You are,' Thomas said.
'So all we need now is a pair of ripe young girls who don't want to be nuns,' Keane said cheerfully.”
“The English chevauchée was a tactic to destroy a country’s power, to starve the lords of taxes, to burn their” 0 likes
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