1356, by Bernard Cornwell

1356 (The Grail Quest, #4)1356 by Bernard Cornwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4th in the Thomas of Hookton series, set during the Hundred Years War. Thomas is a great character, a British longbowman who’s risen to lead his own mercenary band. In previous books we’ve met Thomas at the historical Battle of Crecy (1346) and later battles as he searched for the holy grail. In 1356, 10 years later, we find Thomas older, gruffer, harder, and yet more determined lead his men in “honorable” war, rather than rape and pillage as was common. The (again, historical) Battle of Poitiers is looming. Thomas is following Edward, the Black Prince, and seeking La Malice, the legendary sword Peter used to defend Christ at Gethsemane. Caught between French soldiers on one side and a malevolent, ambitious Cardinal on the other. Thomas must find a way to survive both.

Cornwell’s writing is always “easy on the eyes” and I found 1356 to be a fast, engaging read, filled with history but not beating you over the head with it. I love the Thomas character, and am looking forward to another book in the series.

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