Beth Cato's Reviews > The Archer's Tale

The Archer's Tale by Bernard Cornwell
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Apr 10, 2012

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bookshelves: in, 2009, historical, fiction, no-longer-own
Read in February, 2009

This is my first book by Bernard Cornwell, who is a rather prolific historical fiction writer across various time periods.[return][return]The Archer's Tale begins in the village of Hookton on the English coast. There, the lance of St. George was kept safely in the rafters of the church - until one day when Frenchmen raided the town and stole the lance. The only surviving villager is a young man, Thomas, the protagonist of the story. His journey leads him into France at the beginning of the Hundred Year's War. He is content as an archer for the king, but slowly, more clues emerge regarding the raid on his village and the history of the stolen artifact, and they seem to lead towards the ultimate of prizes: the holy grail itself.[return][return]I love historical fiction, but I admit I had trouble getting into this book. Maybe it was the male perspective. Maybe it was the blatant portrayal of rape, including that of a minor character. The viewpoint shifts were annoying at times and seemed to give away too much of the plot. One of the major antagonists of the book dies without much fanfare at all, which seemed anticlimactic. Still, the historical details were intriguing, if sometimes excessive (there was about a two page spread on how early cannons worked, and then they blasted a few times and didn't do much, and that was that). Thomas matured in the course of the book, but I never felt that invested in his survival.[return][return]I think I'll pick up some of Cornwell's other books on the medieval period, if I find them used and cheap, but I'm not going to run out and buy the rest of this particular series.
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