“1356” by Bernard Cornwell (HarperCollins, 2013)

1356
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The Black Prince is one of those enigmatic figures shrouded in mystery, superstition and rumor from the medieval period of the fourteenth century.  In 1356, bestselling historical fiction author Bernard Cornwell provides his take on it by bringing back a popular and main character from his Grail Quest series, in Thomas of Hookton.

Thomas has created quite a name for himself and his small band of men, known as Le Bâtard, traveling through France and fighting for the English.  But he is now charged with a new quest by his lord, to recover the ancient and lost sword of Saint Peter, known as Le Malice, a relic from the past that will provide a great symbol and power to whichever nation possesses and wields it.  The French want it to get rid of the English; and the English want it to subdue the French.

1356 is another great example of Cornwell writing at his best, and it’s not necessary to have read the earlier series, as he fills you in where necessary.  His action scenes are written with skill, putting the reader right there, culminating with the great battle of Poitiers.

Originally written on January 7, 2013 ©Alex C. Telander.

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