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(Grail Quest #2)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  14,241 ratings  ·  423 reviews
From New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell, the sequel to The Archer's Tale—the spellbinding tale of a young man, a fearless archer, who sets out wanting to avenge his family's honor and winds up on a quest for the Holy Grail.

In 1347, a year of conflict and unrest, Thomas of Hookton returns to England to pursue the Holy Grail. Among the flames of the Hundred
Paperback, 416 pages
Published January 3rd 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published October 7th 2002)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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Aug 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
He could hear the hoofbeats now and he thought of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, the dreadful quartet of riders whose appearance would presage the end of time and the last great stuggle between heaven and hell. War would appear on a horse the color of blood, famine would be on a black stallion, pestilence would ravage the world on a white mount, while death would ride the pale horse.

I love this series.

The search for the holy grail continues with Thomas Hookton, a character I instantly
Mike (the Paladin)
Well...what can I say here? It took me forever (not literally of course) to get around to this book. It's one I kept moving other books "in front of" so to speak (please forgive the poor grammar).

Thomas is still somewhat undecided here...well actually he's not. He simply wants to lead archers in battle but he's been charged with finding the Holy Grail (sadly he doesn't really believe the Grail is real and he does believe that his father was a bit...well...cracked[?]) So accordingly he makes some
Stjepan Cobets
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans historical literature
The search for the Grail continues, Tomas of Hookton continues its adventure in the border of England and Scotland. King Edward the third sent him to find out whether there is truth to Grail. But this adventure brings him only pain and suffering because he is not the only one seeking the Grail. Continuation of the book is a bit more intriguing than the first part but still good.
Dec 17, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical Fiction Fans
The second volume in the Grail Series, this story was not nearly as interesting or exciting as the first book in the series, "The Archer".

It opens with the 1346 battle of Neville's Cross in Northern England, which is peripheral to the main plot of Thomas of Hockton's search for the grail which is supposedly under the control of his family and has been hidden by his dead father. It ends with the 1347 battle of La Roche-Derrien in Brittany between the forces of Charles of Blois and the English
Reggie Kray
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5*. I have not read a book from Cornwell that I have not throughly enjoyed. Is it possible this streak will be compromised? I doubt it. Time will tell.
Oct 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Master of battle scenes and the details of the soldier. It gets you thinking about life in the middle ages and how you might have suvived the age. Couldn't put it down.
B.J. Richardson
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is book two of Cornwell's Grail Quest series also called The Archer's Tale series. They follow Thomas of Hookton as he travels around somehow managing to entangle himself in every single major battle England fought during the early part of the Hundred Years War. The early part of this book was very familiar to me but the last third or so was not. I am guessing that my first time through I DNF'd this book right about the point Thomas got caught up by the (SPOILERS).

I feel like a broken
Steven Walle
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a great book. This is the second of three. I will give a full review later.
Be Blessed.
Val Penny
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bernard Cornwell, OBE was born in London, England on 23 February 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother was English, a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, WAAF. He was adopted at six weeks old and brought up in Thundersley, Essex by the Wiggins family, who were members of the Peculiar People. That is a strict sect who were pacifists, banned frivolity of all kinds and even medicine. So, he grew up in a household that forbade alcohol, cigarettes, dances, television, ...more
Sep 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
**Actual rating 4.5**

Bernard Cornwell is one of my favorite authors so please don't expect any kind of unbiased review here, I loved this book just like I love all his books. (According to GR I have read 22 of his books which puts him in 2nd place behind Stephen King.I don't think anyone will ever catch King.....)

This is the 2nd installment of the Grail Quest series and it takes place in France around 1350. Thomas of Hookton is an English archer and he's on a quest for, you guessed it, the Holy
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sequel to Harlequin.
Another fantastic book of early English battles, torture, death and victory.
The Holy Grail moves a little further forward in revealing its secret hiding place and unlikely friends band together to hunt it down while revenging family honours.
Again the characters are wonderfully portrayed and the book moves with ease through all the turmoil associated with the mid 1300's.
Can't wait to move on to the third and last book in this series " Heretic ".
Jun 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Amazing detail of a "new" slash and burn type of war. Continues the rush of action and character development of The Archer's Tale
A.L. Sowards
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, adventure, 2017
The Battle of Neville’s Cross near Durham stretching all the way to page 130 was a little long, but the rest of the book made up for it. (Don’t get me wrong—the battle was well written, but after about 100 pages I was ready for something else to happen.) I loved Robbie (maybe because of my Scottish ancestry), hated the Scarecrow, and of course cheered for Thomas the entire book. I liked Jeanette, too, even though in the first book I was kind of neutral about her. I’ve got my predictions about ...more
The second book of the Grail Quest series. It continues the quest to find the Holy Grail, but as seems to be the case with Grail stories, there are many other people after the same thing.
It continues the exploits of Thomas of Hookton an English archer, who has already fought for king and country against the French at the battle of Crecy, in the first book. He continues the quest and ends up at varying times fighting the Scots, French, Bretons, his own cousin, the clergy and sometimes the
Puscas Mircea
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic book , I liked the way the battles were described.
Maria Thermann
Jun 08, 2015 rated it liked it
The entire first third of the book is devoted to the infamous battle of the Scots and the English that took place at Durham in October 1346. Just before blood-soaked part one of the novel begins in earnest, Cornwell sows the seeds for the actual plot, the meeting between Thomas of Hookton and his arch nemesis, his cousin, the evil Guy of Vexhille. Guy is heir to the ancient aristocratic title Thomas' father once held: Count of Astarac.

And the Vexhille family were once hunted down as heretics,
Jamie Connolly
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books
Will skeat! What a great character! All the characters are so well done. Fill their roles perfectly. The battles are incredible. 5 stars.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thomas of Hookton is back again. He's still searching for the grail, as his father's book is stolen and restolen by his enemny. Romance is found and lost as the story continues.
Justin Langlois
Oct 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Vagabond was a nice follow-up to The Archer's Tale. Thomas of Hookton continues on his quest to find the man who murdered his father and to find the "Holy Grail". Cornwell continues to impress me with his amazing attention to historical detail. I've learned more about Europe during the time leading up to the Black Plague then I ever thought I would!
Stan Vlieg
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war, history
4.5 stars but the glass is half full.

Mister Cornwell delivers yet again. It's amazing how all of his book i read to this date have been pushing all the right buttons for me. He is very good in creating a world of history where the characters come to life. From torture to love, you can't help to feel for Thomas of Hookton. Although the recipe in his storys are quite similar it still keeps me on edge. It's a pleasant feeling to know i still have his Sharpe series (22 books) to entertain myself
John Newcomb
I like to read Bernard Cornwall's book every now and then. In this one, Richard Sharpe becomes Tom, an English Archer fighting the Scots and French during the 100 years war. With his usual band of side kicks and women, nasty enemies and eventual victory in the face of adversity and some real life historical characters to add to the veracity, it all leads to a romping good read.
Apr 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adults with an interest in historical fiction of fourteenth century England.
The Grail Quest series is a fascinating look at fourteenth century England and the Hundred Years War between England and France. Don’t let the name of the series dissuade you, the ‘Grail Quest’ ultimately proves to be a small part of the story. It serves more as a backdrop to illustrating the religious beliefs and climate of the era and is not the same worn out ‘Grail Quest’ you have seen a hundred times. As with Cornwell’s Saxon Chronicles, the main protagonist is a fictional character, but ...more
Dec 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I actually enjoyed “Vagabond” more than I enjoyed an “Archer’s Story.” Probably because there were less battle scenes and more intrigue. Don’t get me wrong, Cornwell writes the best battle scenes, but I enjoy reading about relationships more. There were a lot of things happening in this book, and Thomas is almost always on the move.

There’s one part in this book I will never forget. I won’t say what it is, but I was truly scared for Thomas. It was so weird too, because here I’m reading this
Geoff Boxell
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Another one of my "second reads" - something I am doing a lot of since I retired and cash is not so easy to come by, mind with 2,500+ books I have a selection to choose from!
Whereas the first in the Grail series can be read as a stand alone, this one is obviously only part of the overall story.
Cornwell's tales often start and end with a battle, and this is so in this book: Nevilles Cross and the amazing La Roche-Derrien (in the first book it is the England besieging the town, in this book it is
This first book in the "Grail Quest" series ended with the hero, an English archer named Thomas of Hookton, on the winning side of the Battle of Crecy. Now back in England, he is dispatched to learn more about his father and whether or not he had any connection to the Holy Grail. Also hot on the trail of Thomas and the Grail are his murderous French cousin, a Dominican member of the Inquisition, and a nasty English knight. This trio of villains is perhaps one too many, serving to dilute the ...more
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is book two in “The Grail Quest” series by Bernard Cornwell. The story takes place in 1346 to 1347 with Thomas of Hookton an English archer is seeking the Holy Grail by following a book his father wrote. Thomas’s father was a priest and was said to be the keeper of the Grail. He was killed by Guy Vexille, Thomas’ French cousin in book one. The book has great adventure, distressed damsels, armored knights, wayward bishops and beleaguered castles. Cornwell is famous for his meticulous ...more
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Vagabond, the second installment of the 4 part Grail Quest series, follows a young archer in the English army during the Hundred Years War. The story line takes place at the beginning war and depicts some of the battles and events that occurred during this time. The main fictional character, Thomas Hookton, also has his own ongoing plot line related to his family heritage that unfolds slowly throughout the 4 part series. This book depicts the Battle of Neville's Cross near Durham, England in ...more
Nadia Land-Greene
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was quite impressed with Bernard Cornwell's knowledge of Midieval military campaigns. He actually made the battle scenes fascinating, interweaving the story of warfare with the personal stories of the fictional characters. Great evil villains and a noble hero and sidekick. Wonderful storytelling.
The ending left me wanting more but I realize this is a series of books and am now anxious to read other books about Thomas Hookton's adventures in search of the Grail and the romance of archery (which
The second book in the trilogy starts back in England - Thomas travels to Durham to talk to an old monk that knew his father before he became a priest. But the town is under siege by a Scottish army that thinks the English are vunerable while its army is in France. While Thomas fights, others who search for the grail manage to reach the monk first, with tragic results. With new allies, Thomas must retrace his path, first to Hookton and then back to France, more interested in getting revenge than ...more
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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

Other books in the series

Grail Quest (4 books)
  • The Archer's Tale (The Grail Quest, #1)
  • Heretic (The Grail Quest, #3)
  • 1356 (The Grail Quest, #4)
“People like mystery. They want nothing explained, because when things are explained then there is no hope left. I have seen folk dying and known there is nothing to be done, and I am asked to go because the priest will soon arrive with his dish covered by a cloth, and everyone prays for a miracle. It never happens. And the person dies and I get blamed, not God or the priest, but I!” 2 likes
“I am not sure,' Mordecai told Thomas, 'whether omens can be trusted.'
'Of course they can.'
'I should like to hear your reasons. But show me your urine first.'
'You said I was cured,' Thomas protested. 'Eternal vigilance, dear Thomas, is the price of health. Piss for me.”
More quotes…