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(Grail Quest #4)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  11,364 ratings  ·  945 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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Gustavo I read only this one. It was my first Bernard Cornwell book ever. I didn't even know that it was a serie. I think that the story of this book is quite…moreI read only this one. It was my first Bernard Cornwell book ever. I didn't even know that it was a serie. I think that the story of this book is quite independent and I like it a lot. Go ahead.(less)

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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  11,364 ratings  ·  945 reviews

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Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fans
I enjoyed reading this library book very much--4.5 out of 5 stars--rounded up to 5. This is book 4 in The Grail Quest series, more of the adventures of Thomas of Hookton, an English archer. Thomas is now Sir Thomas and known as "le Batard." He has been hired by the Count of Labrouillade to retrieve his wife, who has run off with a man her own age. Thomas is now the head of a band of mercenaries.
There are some well drawn characters:
Count of Labrouillade--a nasty, fat pig of a man
The Count's wife
Aug 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
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.
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Ok I have to admit this book had become background noise. I think I am out of the loop having not read the previous grail series.
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
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A question. Who writes historical fiction better than Bernard Cornwell? If you have an answer please let me know.

The years is 1356, what a surprise, and William Prince of Wales is causing havoc in France and Thomas of Hookton, now Sir Thomas, is in the thick of things.
This is the 4th book in the Grail Quest series. In the books #1,#2,#3 Thomas has been a busy boy. So far he has found the Lance of St.George's and the Holy Grail, no less. To find out what Thomas did with these Holy Relics you wil
J.P. Ashman
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Listened to this on Audible. An easy 5 * from story to narration.

I read the original Thomas of Hookton trilogy years ago, but it didn't take long to get into this (which could be read as a one off) and feel like I'd not been away from Thomas and The Hundred Years War.

Great characters on both sides, excellent battle scenes and plenty of smiles and grimaces both!
“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 som
Susan Johnson
Oct 27, 2012 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 14, 2013 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
Steven Walle
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book very much. It took place in France, England and Normandy. It was all about a fierce battle and the search for a holy sword that was suppose to save the world from evil.
WARNING!!! There is a whole lot of violence in this book. It is not for the faint of heart.
Enjoy and Be Blessed.
Blodeuedd Finland
Jul 03, 2019 marked it as dnf
Meh, dull beginning, i shall dnf
Aug 24, 2013 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
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
Aug 29, 2012 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
Dec 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Set after the English victory at Crécy, during the Hundred Years’ War and leading up to what by all accounts, this one included, was the apocalyptic battle of Poitiers in the year 1356 of the title. We’re in deepest darkest France and there’s something about a mythical lost sword - ‘la Malice’ - being found and transported somewhere by someone. It’s the sword supposedly used by St Peter - and maybe even touched by You Know Who - in the Garden of Gethsemane, when the Romans came to make an arrest ...more
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Maybe not the strongest quest story but Cornwell gives us battles and fighting better than just about anyone. Great historical fiction takes you to the 14th Century and the next big battle of the Hundred Years' War after Crecy, the battle of the Black Prince and the English army against the French at Poitiers. The fourth book in the Thomas of Hookton trilogy was worth a few hours to escape to another time and place. 4 Stars
Antonio Pontes
Feb 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, n-e2017
An OK book. I guess if you take it out of the grail series by Bernard Cornwell, it is a good book, but if you take it in comparison with the other three books, it is pretty weak.
But nonetheless is a Bernard Cornwell book, and these are always good read.
Despite being the conclusion of a series, this stands alone pretty well. This is a historic novel that leads up to a climax at the Battle of Poitiers, an important battle in the Hundred Years' War between England and France, and man, is there a lot of fighting. Unfortunately in audiobook I couldn't skim over the many gory battles. Cornwell also regards archers and archery like Tom Clancy regards submarines, and there are many lovingly detailed and repetitive descriptions of the archer's quidditc ...more
Feb 24, 2017 rated it liked it
I've owned this book for years, and back when i bought it Bernard Cornwell was one of my favourite authors. I still think this book was good, and he's really good at writing battle scenes / setting up the world of 14th Century France, this just isn't my kind of book anymore.
The audiobook of this was excellent, the accents were done really well.
Glad to have finished it so I can move this hardcover out of my collection.
Jan 27, 2016 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
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 11, 2014 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
Nov 18, 2012 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
Drew Karpyshyn
Aug 26, 2015 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
Steven Vaughan-Nichols
Apr 18, 2013 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 30, 2013 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
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Goodreads Librari...: Correction 3 12 Dec 16, 2018 01:18PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Book listed as part of a series, but not 5 90 Mar 12, 2015 12:19PM  
The king at his craft - Huzzah! 5 39 Feb 18, 2015 05:17PM  
Books on Paris 1 3 Feb 06, 2015 08:05AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: This topic has been closed to new comments. 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 birth mother's maiden n ...more

Other books in the series

Grail Quest (4 books)
  • The Archer's Tale (The Grail Quest, #1)
  • Vagabond (The Grail Quest, #2)
  • Heretic (The Grail Quest, #3)

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  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
28 likes · 46 comments
“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.”
“They’re the sort of dozy bastards who don’t think beyond their next pot of ale, but Thomas does, Thomas is a two-pot thinker, he is.” 3 likes
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