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Agincourt

Cover of Agincourt

Agincourt

“The greatest writer of historical adventures today” (Washington Post) tackles his most thrilling subject yet–the heroic tale of Agincourt.

One of England’s most dramatic victories, the battle of Agincourt is more than history; it is legend. Immortalized by Shakespeare in Henry V, the against-all-odds fight pitted the undermanned and overwhelmed English against their tireless French adversaries. Following the whole campaign of 1415, from the disasters at the siege of Harfleur to the horrors of the field at Agincourt, this exhilarating epic of survival and slaughter is at once a brilliant work of history and a triumph of imagination, as Bernard Cornwell brings to life the inspiring story of the common men who were responsible for the uncommon victory.


From the Compact Disc edition.
“The greatest writer of historical adventures today” (Washington Post) tackles his most thrilling subject yet–the heroic tale of Agincourt.

One of England’s most dramatic victories, the battle of Agincourt is more than history; it is legend. Immortalized by Shakespeare in Henry V, the against-all-odds fight pitted the undermanned and overwhelmed English against their tireless French adversaries. Following the whole campaign of 1415, from the disasters at the siege of Harfleur to the horrors of the field at Agincourt, this exhilarating epic of survival and slaughter is at once a brilliant work of history and a triumph of imagination, as Bernard Cornwell brings to life the inspiring story of the common men who were responsible for the uncommon victory.


From the Compact Disc edition.
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  • AudioFile Magazine This little study of Henry V's routing of the French army in Normandy in 1415 will be welcomed by medievalists, weaponry buffs, and lovers of Shakespeare's histories. The background of the battle is rich, and the moment itself is vivid. (As battles go, this one was remarkably short, compared to the long shadow it casts in national memory.) David Case reads laconically but accurately, though it is possible to doubt some of his French, and even his Latin, pronunciation. The real drawback--and it is one--is that it is difficult to appreciate the narrative without referring to maps. For those who can manage it, an atlas at the elbow will increase pleasure. B.G. (c) AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 13, 2008
    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.

  • AudioFile Magazine This is a story of mud, blood, guts, and miracles. The legend of the infamous fifteenth-century battle of Agincourt, miraculously won by a bedraggled and outnumbered invading English army against the French, is beautifully told with a seasoned and convincing voice. Charles Keating skillfully negotiates between the saints, sinners, lords, and pawns of the English. Inexplicably missing from this stellar performance is a French accent, the lack of which sometimes makes it difficult to know which side is speaking. However, this book is so compelling, and the performance so extraordinary, that the fault is minor. This audiobook is a tribute to an oral tradition that began with battles won and lost over sovereignty and the fickle favoritism of the gods. L.P. (c) AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine
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