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Following the phenomenal success of the Sharpe novels set in the Napoleonic Wars, Bernard Cornwell has turned his storytelling talents to another great moment in English history, the Hundred Years War between England and France throughout the 14th century. Harlequin is the first book in Cornwell's Grail Quest series, which chronicles the adventures of young Thomas of Hookton, "a big, bony, black-haired country boy". Thomas rejects the church in favour of the life of an archer in France after his village is brutally sacked by the French. The young Thomas fights back against the French with his bow, and "in that one instant, as the first arrow slid into the sky, he knew he wanted nothing more from life". He vows to seek revenge on the plains of France, and recover the holy relic of St. George stolen from his village by the sinister "harlequin" with whose destiny Thomas finds himself inextricably entwined. The rest of the action moves at a hectic pace across the violent and bloody battlefields of northern France, as Thomas falls for a beautiful French widow nicknamed "the Blackbird", makes a mortal enemy of the "poor, bitter and ambitious" Sir Simon Jekyll, and follows the ensign of King Edward III and his heroic son, the Black Prince. Harlequin is a fast-paced and graphic recreation of the Hundred Years War, despite a rather gratuitous fixation on rape and pillage. The action comes thick and fast, although it remains to be seen if Thomas of Hookton has the wit and flair of Cornwell's other great heroic creation, Richard Sharpe. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The young archer Thomas of Hookton joins the forces of King Edward III to fight against France in Cornwell's latest, which takes place in the mid-14th century at the beginning of the Hundred Years War. Thomas, a brilliant, handsome warrior who combines physical strength and skill with the bow, survives the pillaging of his village to become an archer and then rescues a female counterpart known as the Blackbird after she's nearly raped by Sir Simon Jekyll during one of the troop's raids in France. The nobleman becomes Thomas's chief rival as Jekyll continues to pursue the Blackbird, and Thomas is finally cast out of his unit after failing to kill Jekyll in an ill-conceived assassination attempt. He recovers to join and couple with the Blackbird, making his way through France and parlaying his skills into a royal pardon even as his opportunistic partner leaves him for the libidinous Prince of Wales. The three members of Cornwell's romantic triangle eventually meet during a huge climactic battle at Crcy, where Thomas must face up to a demanding family legacy involving a quest for a special lance. Cornwell has been down this path many times before, and he's a consummate pro when it comes to plying the tried-and-true combination of heroic characters; a fast-moving, action-packed plot; and enough twists and turns to keep the narrative from lapsing into formula. He uses his historical expertise judiciously as well. This book mark the beginning of a promising new series that brings an intriguing period to life. (Oct. 9)Forecast: Cornwell, the author of the Richard Sharpe series, set during the Napoleonic Wars, has a strong and growing U.S. fan base. The Archer's Tale, already a bestseller in Britain, should strengthen his hold on the Patrick O'Brian crowd.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
Rollicking good tale with great battles, little ones, with the occasional love interest thrown in. Recommended for any reader who like historical novels.Published 13 months ago by Paul Gulyas
Another great historical event turned into a wonderful story. Highly recommended if you like the genre. Onto the next now then...Published 22 months ago by Andrew Davies
I am a real fan of historical fiction and Bernard Cornwell never fails to keep me engrossed in his novels. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Lewispat
If you enjoy entertaining medieval story telling, then this is the first of a trilogy for you. I happened upon B.C. Read morePublished on Jan. 6 2004
Having been recommended this one by a friend, I only had a week to read this before I gave it back. It didn't take a week, nor did it even take a day or two. Read morePublished on May 12 2003 by Ian D. Larson
i found this to be better than the sharpe novels. we've got a man whose village is attacked. he swears to find and bring back a holy lance. Read morePublished on May 12 2003 by jan erik storebø
This book, like Colleen McCullough's series on the Masters of Rome, illustrates how brutal we humans can be when there is no rule of law to allow us to settle our differences by... Read morePublished on March 3 2003 by Peter L. Swinford