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Azincourt

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  11,647 ratings  ·  895 reviews
Agincourt is one of the epic battles of history. Fought by two badly matched armies in atrocious conditions, it resulted in an extraordinary victory, a triumph of the common man over the aristocrat, which has been celebrated ever since.

Bernard Cornwell's Azincourt, the first novel to have been written about this battle for a hundred years, makes you feel that you are one o
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Published May 22nd 2009 by Harper (first published 2008)
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Jason Koivu
May 15, 2014 Jason Koivu rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: super hardcore Cornwell fans and those interested in Henry V
Bernard Cornwell, that bastard, has written a goddamn straightforward story just enjoyable enough to get me through to the goddamn end. The bastardly forced romantic storyline was as unnecessary as the goddamn gory battle details, but I understand that they are there for a goddamn reason. However, overall it's just not goddamned engaging enough for me to give this goddamn bastard of a book more than two goddamn stars. Also, I am completely done with the words goddamn and bastard. Reading "bad wo ...more
Michael
The tale of the battle of Agincourt told through the eyes of an archer, Nicholas Hooks.

Cornwell is a master of captured the drama of history from different perspective and making the story come alive. And in that, he's very successful here. It's clear he's done his research and knows his history. He knows the nuances of the period and ably weaves them into the story.

He does this by creating a character we can follow and genuinely care about. Nick is an archer in training who quickly becomes an o
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Lance Greenfield
I just love good historical fiction! It brings history to life for me in a way that those boring history lessons at school never did. My favourite writers in this genre are Conn Iggulden and Bernard Cornwell, although there are many others who light up all of my lights.

There are many books about the Battle of Agincourt, but this has to rate as one of the best. That is unless you want the non-fiction, factual version of events. But who is to say what is factual? There is even much disagreement am
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Brittany B.
***Note: I apologize for the misspelling of Cornwell as Cromwell. I changed it here, but I can't change in the comments.

Amazing!! 5 Stars! A new favorite author!! Such a good book, though not without its quirks.

The main thing to note is that this book is about a famous battle, so there is an extremely long battle scene. I became a little tired of the scene, but I realized this book is about a battle and so what did I expect. I love the writing style of Bernard Cornwell. I am excited to read hi
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Jamie
A riveting and graphic fictionalized account of Henry V's campaign in France in 1415, from the seige of Harfleur to the Battle of Agincourt, told from the viewpoint of a lowly English archer.

Bernard Cornwell is not a literary writer, and his characterization is fairly shallow. The personality of his characters mostly comes through in their dialogue - but that works quite well in a book like this one. I enjoyed Sir John Cornewaille's heated, filthy rants against the French, and the way his confes
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Artemas
Bernard Cornwell is absolutely terrible at showing the softer side of war. This book was filled with violent, gritty, visceral, dishonorable, disgusting, horrific acts of warfare...and I loved every page of it.

You can tell that Cornwell has done his homework and the battles spring to life just like the great yew longbows mentioned in the book. The siege and battle sequences were so well written that I could almost smell the blood, piss, and shit.

I highly recommend this one for fans of historic
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Michael Ames
This is a thrilling, moving, informative and entertaining narrative of the battle of Agincourt (of Shakespeare's Henry V fame). I was completely addicted to the audiobook for days on end. Could not stop listening.

And I simply cannot recommend it to anyone else to read.

Unless, of course, you already live on a diet of blood, gore and profanity, and will therefore not be deeply disturbed by the all-to-real imagery of life and war in the 15th century. I've struggled to understand if the degree of gr
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Terri
Alright...those who know me...now you have all picked yourselves up off the floor I will explain the dismal rating. And as I explain it, it may pay to keep in mind that the only reason I gave it 2 stars instead of 1 is because I am a gutless coward.
Here we go.
I simply did not like it. I could not even finish it I disliked it so much. ME! A Bernard Cornwell fan of the highest order!
There are other 2 star reviews here on Goodreads that echo my own feelings on this book, so let me keep this short a
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Rio (Lynne)
3.75 Stars

I'll never look at the Longbow the same again. I also didn't realize it was England's primary battle equipment that was exclusive to the English. The Longbow is credited for winning not only The Agincourt Battle, but the Crecy one as well. The English could not be defeated in an open field. Even with 6000 English and 30,000 French (according to Cornwell) which is why the Agincourt Battle went down in history as one of England's most successful battles.

Cornwell tells the story around Ni
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Bob
Unfortunately, I read this after reading Cormac McCarthy's 'All The Pretty Horses'. I think I'd have liked it much better if I hadn't. The death toll feels about the same in both books, but Cornwell is writing an adventure, so if he kills off 3,000 in a day, it seems to be all in a day's work. McCarthy can get more feeling into one murder that happens out of the narrator's sight.
On the plus side he really seems to have done his research (though at the end of the book he recommends Robert Hardy's
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Barbara
I, too, am a fan of the middle ages. I, too, am glad I don't live there. In addition to all the comments already made about this book, with which I agree, I want to add that I got a huge kick out of Sir Robert Cornwall, who could swear as poetically and inventively as my father did.

I'm within four discs from the end and they still haven't gotten to Agincourt yet. Hmmm.
They got to Agincourt. What a lot of hacking and slashing! It's fascinating to hear how much influence a pdestrian thing like mud
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Mike
Azincourt gets 3 Stars because a)Cornwell writes a great battle scene and b)who cares what else, I read it for the battle scenes, none better. Not much of a plot here, Henry V goes to France to take what is "his" and the French object. Long siege at Harfleur weakens the English Army but Henry decides to march to Calais, giving the French King a two-fingered salute. The armies meet at Azincourt and I appreciated how Cornwell explains how the battle likely went, especially from the archer point of ...more
Aaron
I have always been a big fan of the Middle Ages. Well, let me rephrase that. I find it interesting, but I definitely would not have wanted to live back then.

I ran across a number of book reviews for this while doing orders for books at work, and after I read Jondude's review, I knew that I had to move it to the top of my to-read pile. I am really glad that I did.

It all starts with Nicholas Hook in the English countryside. He works as a forester, someone who maintains the local noble's forest by
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Maryanne
I learned just what I expected - all the gory details about these particular medieval battles: Soissons (which I had never heard of before), Harfleur, and Agincourt (Azincourt is the French spelling - I assume that's what they called the book in Europe; my book is called Agincourt but these tiny pictures are hard to identify so I'm stuck with the "z" here). At least he didn't describe anyone's dysentary in detail! I had known in theory what fighting in plate mail was like but this is the real th ...more
Graham
Cornwell's 1415 battle opus, AZINCOURT, is his stand-alone retelling of the famous battle in which Henry V and the English army took on the might of France on St Crispin's Day. What's surprising is that this famous and humungous battle only occupies that last fifth or so of the book and before then we get lots of build up and other events that came before.

I'm in two minds about this novel. When it works, it really works. Cornwell always weaves in the little story and the big story, and it's the
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Benjamin
This novelization of this famous battle makes an easy read as long as you can abide the depictions of violence, and I mean the skull crushing, teeth flying, eye-stabbing kind with all the attendant blood and gore. It was a violent period; hand-to-hand combat, the long bow notwithstanding, was the norm. As far as I can tell, the author followed the historical evidence fairly closely, embellishing by telling the story through the eyes of a superior bowman.

This is an easy way to absorb some absorbi
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David
Bernard Cornwell really cranks up the heat of battle in this fine historical novel. I always like a writer who is confident enough in the quality of his work that he can take time to write a note at the end and tell where he deviated from history, or where he just guessed a few things.

However, the wonderful historical information at the back of this book (the author's notes on touring the battlefield, Henry V's speech from Shakespeare's play, a Carol to Henry V, and an interview with the author
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James
My love of Agincourt comes directly from the Bard himself, and by extension the superb Kenneth Brannagh film of Henry V. Bearing that in mind, imagine how intrigued I was to find that Bernard Cornwell, renowned for his historical fictions, was writing a novel of that most famous battle. Did it live up to my expectations? Well no, but it's still a good book, and if the subject matter interests you I encourage you to pick it up.

I will say one thing for Cornwell, and that is that he certainly does
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Kelly
Great historical fiction...that being said, I'd say 80% of this book is comprised of brutal, detailed, gory battle scenes so I finally had to skim some of it near the end. I could not take any more knives slashing through people's eyeballs (and poleaxes crushing skulls with the accompanying blood pouring out of helmets). Not a book for the faint of heart when it comes to war or violence (with rape and pillage). I had to kind of mentally compartmentalize it while I was reading because it is prett ...more
Magdalena
I do love Cornwell's books. This is the story of the battle of Azincourt (spelled as Agincourt in English), between the English and the French, in 1415, as seen through an English archer. The protagonist, Nicholas Hook, is skilled with the longbow, a weapon that Cornwell implies was crucial to the victory. Back then the French army didn't use bows, but crossbows and guns. These, though effective at killing, were slow to load, which proved a deadly disadvantage when opposed to the nimble archers ...more
Wilfred Berkhof
On our last trip I was left without a book for the flight back home, so whilst shopping at Asda I saw this Bernard Cornwell book on sale for only 3 pounds. Now I've always wanted to give Cornwell a go. Now for 3 pounds you can't really go wrong and it proved to be a well spend 3 pounds.

Although the book does have a quite standard story line with no real surprising turns and shockers that does make for a fun easy read. Cornwell's easy prose also makes for a fast read, so perfect for a couple of h
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Dergrossest
Cornwell is the modern master of historical fiction from the Dark and Middle Ages. In this story about the Battle of Agincourt, his talents are on full display as he brings to life the harsh realities of pre-Industrial Age class, religion and warfare. Agincourt is a great vehicle for all of this as a hopelessly outnumbered English army primarily comprised of commoners collides with the flower of French nobility in the muddy fields of northern France. As always, the author keeps you glued to your ...more
Dawn
A fascinating look at the conquering of France with the longbow. It shows the brutality of the time, how powerful the church was and the great difference between the lords and the rest of the population.
No matter how small a role a character has in this story I still found them interesting and how could you not love Sir John!
I think Bernard Cornwell is fast becoming one of my favorite writers
Luisa
At first it took me a little while to get into it.. Maybe because I read it in Portuguese (and although I am Brazilian, I prefer reading in English, but it's a borrowed book :D), or maybe because the first few chapters are really about setting the scenes in a major way.. I don't know why I didn't immediately love it.

However, after I got into it I realised the details in this book, the amazing way it is written and tied together make it a wonderful book. As my very first Cornwell read, I was comp
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Ron
This was a really good book, about which I just wrote a long review, which Goodreads just ate.

Sorry, I'm not doing it again.

If you like gritty military historical fiction (with maps), read this. If not, don't.
Bryn Hammond
Abandoned p. 64. It's only my second Bernard Cornwell, but I am assured, and do believe, he does much better. I'm off to read one of his others.
Hana
Extremely bloody, graphic, laced with profanity and rather too anti-clerical, Agincourt still managed to be both completely believable and fascinating. I know very little about the Hundred Years War, but Cornwell managed to make the history lesson compelling and clear. The history was well-researched and the period detail brutally convincing. As a child, I used to love visiting the Medieval armory section of New York Metropolitan Museum, so it was particularly intriguing to learn so much more ab ...more
Paul Pessolano
Bernard Cornwell is the author of approximately 30 books. Some are in sequence (ig The Sharpe Novels). "Agincourt" is a stand alone novel that ranks up there with his best novels. I was reading 100 plus pages a night and could not get enough.

"Agincourt" is an historical novel that has its basis in the English victory over the French. The battle was immortalized in Shakespeare's "Henry V". Although there is so skepticism about the number of participants in the battle, it is widely thouht that the
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Susan Garrett
I'd loved the Sharpe series on TV, but hadn't dipped into the books. I'd even downloaded a digital sample of Agincourt from Amazon for the iphone Kindle app, read the first few pages, then passed.

But then came an NPR interview with Cornwell about his upcoming new Saxon series novel . . . and I decided to go back and take a look at Agincourt. What intrigued me was that a man who had made his fortune on series novels wrote a one-off. Oh the lead character is interesting enough to go series and Cor
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Mike
No other battle in the history of all war springs to mind as readily as Agincourt in terms of the mixture between the fame of the clash itself and its wider irrelevance. Henry V's foolish and arrogant march around north-western France, made because he had run out of money and wished to prove that God backed his claim to the French throne, was a ludicrous gamble which only really paid off because of the weather. Had Henry's army not taken so long to capture the port of Harfleur, any battle would ...more
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Historical fiction book suggestions? 5 35 May 14, 2014 07:08PM  
major themes 12 105 Aug 23, 2013 01:52PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Same ISBN 3 17 Mar 31, 2013 02:56PM  
Ancient & Med...: DECEMBER 2012 (Group Read 2) Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell 244 119 Mar 23, 2013 02:56PM  
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Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother 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, Cornwe ...more
More about Bernard Cornwell...
The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories, #1) The Winter King (The Warlord Chronicles, #1) The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Stories, #2) Lords of the North (The Saxon Stories, #3) The Archer's Tale (The Grail Quest, #1)

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“Shit!” Evelgold added.
“What?” Hook asked, alarmed.
“I just stepped in some.”
“That’s supposed to bring you luck,” Hook said.
“Then I’d better dance in the goddam stuff.”
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“The first sound was the bowstrings, the snap of five thousand hemp cords being tightened by stressed yew, and that sound was like the devil’s harpstrings being plucked. Then there was the arrow sound, the sigh of air over feathers, but multiplied, so that it was like the rushing of a wind. That sound diminished as two clouds of arrows, thick as any flock of starlings, climbed into the gray sky. Hook, reaching for another broadhead, marveled at the sight of five thousand arrows in two sky-shadowing groups. The two storms seemed to hover for a heart’s beat at the height of their trajectory, and then the missiles fell. It was Saint Crispin’s Day in Picardy. For an instant there was silence. Then the arrows struck. It was the sound of steel on steel. A clatter, like Satan’s hailstorm.” 5 likes
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