A unique novel, looking at one the greatest battles, a battle that was a turning point in history, from many points of view, by a master storyteller.
Bernard Cornwell has been thinking about this subject for years. He has long wanted to write a book about a single battle, the events that lead up to it, the actual days in the battle and the aftermath from multiple viewpoints.
Agincourt, fought on October 25th 1415, on St Crispin's Day, is one of the best known battles, in part through the brilliant depiction of it in Shakespeare's Henry V, in part because it was a brilliant and unexpected English victory and in part because it was the first battle won by the use of the longbow. This was a weapon developed in this form only by the English - parishes were forced to train boys from as young as eight daily - and enabled them to dominate the European battlefields for the rest of the century.
Lively historical characters abound on all sides but in Bernard Cornwell's hands the fictional characters, horsemen, archers, nobles, peasants are authentic and vivid, and the hour by hour view of the battle is dramatic and gripping.
Praise for Azincourt
‘If Bernard Cornwell was born to write one book, this is it. No other historical novelist has acquired such a mastery of the minutiae of warfare in centuries past. No one else could hope to take Shakespeare’s Henry V, strip it of its rhetoric and tell the unvarnished truth about the Battle of Agincourt’
‘A runaway success’
'Nobody in the world does this stuff better than Cornwell – action set six hundred years ago is a fresh and vital as six days ago, with rough, tough men at war, proving once again that nothing changes – least of all great storytelling’
‘An extrordinary and dramatic description of the legendary battle of Agincourt from the number one historical novelist’
‘a vivid, breathtaking and meticulously well research account’
Paisley Daily Express
Praise for Bernard Cornwell and Sword Song:
‘This is typical Cornwell, meticulously researched, massive inscope, brilliant in execution’ The Sun
'Great action scenes, rich in period detail, are underpinned by a feeling for the passions that shaped the Britain we know today' Sunday Telegraph, Seven Magazine
Bernard Cornwell is a literary miracle. Year after year, hail, rain, snow, war and political upheavals fail to prevent him from producing the most entertaining and readable historical novels of his generation' Daily Mail
'Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched' Observer
About the author
Bernard Cornwell was born in London, raised in Essex, and now lives mainly in the USA with his wife. In addition to the hugely successful Sharpe novels, Bernard Cornwell is the author of the Starbuck Chronicles, the Warlord trilogy, the Grail Quest series and the Alfred series.
A literary veteran of the Napoleonic Wars and the U.S. Civil War, Cornwell returns to the Hundred Years War era in this action-packed if slightly melodramatic epic about King Henry V and the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Nicholas Hook, an English forester, is on the run after interfering with a rapist priest and ends up a mercenary defender at Soissons, where he saves a young and beautiful novitiate, Melisande. With his French prize in tow, he returns to England and signs on with Henry's army as an archer. Back on French soil, he fights and slogs his way to Agincourt, where 6,000 Englishmen confront 30,000 French soldiers. Hearing the voice of St. Crispinian whispering to him in times of personal crisis, Hook has his hands full with the French and defending himself from the vengeance-seeking rapist priest and Melisande's father. The crisply rendered battle scenes are adrenaline rushes of blood, thunder and clashing swords that transport the reader back to the early 15th century. Unfortunately, Hook's Hollywood-ready construction undercuts the "you are there" feeling of Cornwell's otherwise vivid recreation of Henry V's greatest military triumph.
Definitely worth the read. Can't wait for the movie.