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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book Review: Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell


Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell
Unabridged, 16 hr. 13 mins.
Harper Audio
Charles Keating (narrator)
January 20, 2009
★★★★☆

Genre: Historical Fiction, Audiobook

Source: Borrowed audio book from the library
“One of the most dramatic victories in British history, the battle of Agincourt—immortalized by Shakespeare in Henry V—pitted undermanned and overwhelmed English forces against a French army determined to keep their crown out of Henry's hands. Here Bernard Cornwell resurrects the legend of the battle and the "band of brothers" who fought it on October 25, 1415. An epic of redemption, Agincourt follows a commoner, a king, and a nation's entire army on an improbable mission to test the will of God and reclaim what is rightfully theirs. From the disasters at the siege of Harfleur to the horrors of the field of Agincourt, this exhilarating story of survival and slaughter is at once a brilliant work of history and a triumph of imagination—Bernard Cornwell at his best” .
I have seen Cornwell’s books on my library book shelf for some time now, but put off attempting any of them because I knew that many of them are set in wartime and that isn’t my usual favorite subject. This author really helped me to get into the head of the main characters and made it more than just a wartime battle (but it was a lot of battle as well). As I anticipated, this was a male dominated novel – there was really only one woman in the whole book, but she was pretty significant. It was a very different angle and perspective to look at the world from.

At every stage of the novel I learned something new about medieval warfare: terminology, fighting formations, strategy, armor, archery. One of the things that I loved was the very lengthy, detailed historical note at the end of the book. The author gives credit, and recommendations, to the authors that he read and was inspired by. He also notes where there are discrepancies in the accepted historical research. This was incredibly interesting because there is currently research ongoing about how large the sizes of the 2 opposing armies were. The true answer could make a huge difference as to how inspiring this story is.

The characters were awesome! I LOVED the main character, Nick Hook. He was flawed but the author embraced that flaw and it built into a wonderful character. His bad characters were a range of evil, from not so bad to purely evil. I am glad that there was a range of characters and flaws in everyone because it made them more real.

I think that his books would definitely appeal to both men and women who are interested in this time period. It was very war focused but still kept my attention.

★★★★½☆

As a little note, because this was an audiobook that I read, the narrator was great and there was dramatic music at the beginning and end of each disk that really set the mood. I would certainly read more by this author and probably again in audio format.

Bernard Cornwell is the author of MANY historical novels, check out his website for a list of them all.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).

 




Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court

3 comments:

  1. I have been looking at Bernard Cornwell's books for years knowing that I want to read them, I should read them. I like looking at history from the male perspective at times. It is a different view. One of these days I will have to set aside a month or so to make it through at least one of his series.

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  2. I couldn't get into this book but I LOVE Cornwell's Saxon series - definitely give those a shot, they are excellent!

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