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Agincourt

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4.13  ·  Rating details ·  22,384 ratings  ·  1,418 reviews
Agincourt is one of the epic battles of history. It was fought by two badly matched armies that met in atrocious conditions on St Crispin's Day 1415, and resulted in an extraordinary victory that was celebrated in England long before Shakespeare immortalised it in Henry V. It has always been held to be the triumph of the longbow against the armoured knight, and of the ...more
Hardcover, First, 453 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  22,384 ratings  ·  1,418 reviews


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Jason Koivu
May 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: super hardcore Cornwell fans and those interested in Henry V
Bernard Cornwell, that bastard, has written a goddamn straightforward story about the bastardly Battle of Agincourt just enjoyable enough to get me through to the goddamn end. The 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 bastardly stars. Also, I am completely done with the ...more
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.

It's apparent from Cornwell's writing that the man has done his homework. 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. However, it has been a
...more
Michael
Feb 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
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
...more
Alice Poon
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it
This was my first Bernard Cornwell novel and I picked it up because I wanted to learn about the historical background of the Battle of Azincourt, one of the significant battles in the Hundred Years' War, and about Henry V of England. When I closed the book, I was a little disappointed at the dearth of historical details relating to the ultimate and proximate causes that led to the battle, and the character of Henry V still seemed somewhat blurry in my head.

In the sweltering summer of 1415, the
...more
Sarah
Jul 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
So... I had high hopes for this one. I think I also hold Cornwell to a higher standard than most authors. So even though I'm only giving it three stars, this is probably a better account of a historical English battle in the Hundred Years War than most you will find. I just can't give it the same number of stars as my least favorite book in The Saxon Stories (if there even is such a thing).

For starters, our hero Nicholas Hook is kind of a bland guy (but one that actually lived! Which is pretty
...more
Lance Greenfield
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Matt
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
As always, Cornwell delivered a wonderful story that was impeccably researched and moved along well. I have to say that Bastard is my new favorite insult after reading this. It's annoying my dog I think but everyone in this book was a bastard!
HBalikov
Jan 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Bernard Cornwell must be the most obsessive novelist of English military history that lives (or maybe that ever lived). While this may seem a boring or potentially monochromatic palette, in his hands it is an amazing canvas.
Here he deals with the battle that made Henry V the stuff of legends. Though we get a very interesting portrait of him, the story (as is typical of Cornwell) is told from the perspective of a mere archer. We learn how he got to be one of the kings archers and the medieval
...more
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
...more
Leila
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am an avid fan of all Bernard Cornwell's books but this one ranks among my favourites. I found it exciting, beautifully written and the preparations for the battles plus the actual actions were so gripping. An utterly absorbing book which I have read quite a few times.
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
...more
SonOfYork
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Simply excellent. Brilliantly written, easy flow and so much detail!

This book follows the fictitious character of Nicolas Hook and its climax is the famous battle of Agincourt! What a battle it was! I could tell the author did his research. This was simply gripping.

If you love English history, find entertainment in the blood and gore of humanity's strifes with one another, this book is for you.
J.P. Ashman
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Listened to this on Audible and it was just as good as I remembered. Colourful characters - and curses - and excellent build up to the famous battle. In true Bernard style, the story follows an English archer and the people around him, friend and foe. Highly recommended for history buffs and action fans alike - the fights and battles are visceral and brutal and face to face personal.
Jamie Collins
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
...more
Michael Ames
Mar 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Rob
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After closing the book I had to sit for a while just to come to terms with what I had been reading.
The sheer brutality that is hand to hand warfare. Men covered in blood and gore from their opponents. Skulls cleaved, limbs lost, men screaming for mercy and all praying to God.
I then thought, did the men in the fifteenth century suffer from PTSD, or did their live have so little value they just accepted the brutality as a way of life?

Bernard Cornwell is the consummate storyteller. He takes a
...more
Rio (Lynne)
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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 ...more
Krista Claudine Baetiong
Ah. My favorite elements in a Bernard Cornwell book are right here: a good plot for a story; historical accuracy with a pinch of creative liberties as admitted by the author; realistic and laid-back romantic portrayals by the characters (if you could really call it romance); and, of course, a lengthy discussion on war and military tactics of that period, supplemented with a liberal amount of gore. This is classic Cornwell for me.

And this book made me appreciate the archers more, who I first
...more
Em*bedded-in-books*
Enjoyable Historical war fiction after a long time.
I don't have a good knowledge of world history or European history, and started this book only because of the lure of a group read. Am happy that I did, because I could enrich my knowledge in a fun way. Loved the main characters and the depictions of the battle scene and soldier's lives. Nick Hook, Melisande, Sir John, Father Francis, King Henry, Tom Wilte and their comrades will live on in my memory for quite some time.
Thomas
This is the second Bernard Cornwell novel I've read. The first one was set a couple of generations before but also during the Hundred Years War. I've seen all the Richard Sharpe movies and they're awfully good. My brother tells me that the books are really good too and I believe him. Anyway, I knew going in that Cornwell is a good writer and this book did not disprove that. I think it really deserves 3 1/2 stars but there it is.

This one follows the adventures of a young archer named Nicholas
...more
Bob
Dec 03, 2008 rated it liked it
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
...more
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
Barbara
Dec 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Leigh
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a real page turn, loved it and didn't want it to end. Bernard Cornwell is a master in this genre that few can match!
Craig Monson
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The whole book (400+ pages) is, of course, leading up to The Battle. Cornwell takes exquisite time getting there, summoning the tension and frustration, perhaps even the long stretches of boredom, that realistically precede ultimate engagement. (This war game is no video game, with a glut of unremitting action.) The reader, like the characters in the novel, is made to wait for it. This allows time for plenty of detail and realism, the sort of thing that Cornwell manages well, and the sort of ...more
Denise
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
What an interesting book - really only about two historic battles during the 1400s between England and northern France. This is Henry V and it is from the viewpoint of a young archer. Gory and horrifying but still compelling. Well researched with an interesting afterward. Not my usual fare but glad I listened to it. Excellent narrator. ...more
Andrew
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, 2012
There are good points and bad points. No, that's not fair...there is one (sort of) good point and about 50 (genuine) bad points. So I'll start with the good point. Some of it (and by God, you have to plough through a huge volume of tripe to find it) could be categorized as historically interesting. What I tend to do, when I wish to read something which has the sole quality of historical accuracy, is read a history book. If I'm reading a novel, there is a shedload of other qualities which I seek. ...more
Jeanette
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This puts you into 1414-1415 time period and placements superbly. Perfectly and to such an extent that I could only give it a 5 star rating. Not for the "fun" of the read, but for the stench and texture of it.

The afterwards sections relating his reference and research trio of historical non-fiction done upon Azincourt (French spelling) and with sections of Shakespeare and also the physical history of the long bow (yew) added made it fully 5 star.

The prose style is so precise and yet complex. The
...more
Dawn
Apr 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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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 ...more

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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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