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1356  By  cover art

1356

By: Bernard Cornwell
Narrated by: Jack Hawkins
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Publisher's Summary

Bernard Cornwell, the "master of martial fiction" (Booklist), brings Thomas of Hookton from the popular Grail Quest series into a new adventure in 1356, a thrilling stand-alone novel. On September 19, 1356, a heavily outnumbered English army faced off against the French in the historic Battle of Poitiers.

In 1356, Cornwell resurrects this dramatic and bloody struggle - one that would turn out to be the most decisive and improbable victory of the Hundred Years' War, a clash where the underdog English not only the captured the strategic site of Poitiers, but the French King John II as well.

In the vein of Cornwell's best-selling Agincourt, 1356 is an action-packed story of danger and conquest, rich with military strategy and remarkable characters - both villainous and heroic - transporting readers to the front lines of war while painting a vivid picture of courage, treachery, and combat.

©2012 Bernard Cornwell (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about 1356

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A Classic Story Comes To Life

Any additional comments?

Overall, I loved this book. The narration was clear and distinct, and the story was well told. About my only dismay was when I realized that this actually the fourth book of the Grail Quest series, and then I was seriously annoyed to find that books 1-3 are only available as abridged versions.
I honestly don't know why publishers waste their time or effort with abridged versions, I personally won't waste time or money on abridged versions.
Maybe someday someone at Audible will realize that there is a HUGE market for unabridged books.

52 people found this helpful

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Excitingly descriptive medieval battles

Thomas of Hookton continues his battle against Christian relics. As you listen to the battle scenes you may have to duck to avoid the splatter of blood flying. A quite excellent tale of dastardly Royals, Clerics and varlets and god awful justice handed out. I am still trying to decide if I like this better than the Sharpe sagas. Well worth the credit and maybe even another.

14 people found this helpful

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First class story; first class performance

Before I review the novel, let me write something about Jack Hawkins. I don't know how many people check the "sample" audio before they decide to purchase a book, but in this case don't be fooled by the short sample. It reflects nothing of the magnificent voices of Jack Hawkins. I know the term has been used many times, but he truly brings the Cornwell characters to life. I wish he had narrated all the author's books.
"1356" despite its blood and gore, is an incredible story with Thomas of Hookton, a leader of a group of mercenary archers, "the Hellequin" as its central character. This book culminates in the Battle of Poitiers, a rather unknown English victory is the 100 years war. But it is more than a tale of war; it is a tale of love between husband and wife (Thomas and Genevieve), a tale of hate between the Count of Labrouillade, a disgusting specimen of a man and his wife who sensibly runs off with another man, and it is a tale of a demonic priest, an ambitious cardinal and other corrupted and corruptible churchmen. It is also a quest story, this time for the sword that St Peter used to cut off the ear of an enemy. In fact, for those following Cornwell's quest novels, this is the fifth.
I highly recommend this book/

10 people found this helpful

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The end of the 100 years war

I am a great fan of Bernard Cornwell. This is book 5 in The Grail Quest series. I have read them in order but each book can stand alone. This book covers the weeks before the September 19, 1356 Battle of Poitiers and the battle itself and the capture of King John II of France. Cornwell builds the character of each of the key people in the story. Our hero is Thomas of Hookton head of the Helleguin. He and his wife Genevieve have a run in with the evil Count of Labrouillade and a church cardinal. The story is full of pomp and passion, action, suspense and great battle scenes. Cornwell is the master of writing battle scenes that come alive to the reader. Can not wait for the next book in the series, I hope there is more but with the ending of the war maybe not. Jack Hawkins did an excellent job narrating the story.

9 people found this helpful

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Good

A good book. Not up to "Agincourt" by Bernard Cornwell and performed by Charles Keating, but how many are? My kind of story.

8 people found this helpful

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A First Class Yarn!!!!

I've always been a fan of Cornwell's medieval novels and this is the first one that I have had the pleasure of enjoying as an audiobook. The story is great and Jack Hawkin's narration is first class. Can't wait for the next installment.

7 people found this helpful

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1356: French Deja Vu All Over Again

Any additional comments?

1356 is a mix of the Grail Series that featured Thomas of Hookton and Agincourt. Both books ended with a battle where the outnumbered English army defeats a seemingly unbeatable French army outside a small town in France.

In the process, Thomas seeks the sword of Peter, rescures a captured woman; defeats a foe out to destroy him personally; and gets around to playing a key role in winning the battle.

Instead of seeking the Holy Grail, in this book, Thomas seeks the Sword of Peter. There was a belief back in the Middle Ages that a Holy Relic contained great power and the person who owned the relic would be able to use that relic's power for their own personal benefit. Therefore, the owner of the Sword of Peter (the one used to cut off the ear of the slave when Jesus was captured by the Romans) would be unbeatable in battle.

Each of Bernard Cornwell's series have a unique flavor. Their hero is a current or past military figure with his own strengths and weaknesses. That hero must learn to think of others beyond himself. That hero has a foe who personally dislikes him and decides to kill him. Cornwell does a great job is revealing the hero and making him likable without making him unbelievable.

I am a big fan of Cornwell and enjoyed this book. The format is more in keeping with the Grail Series that feaures Thomas and the book would seem to be #4 in the series.

If you like English history with a definite military flavor, you will enjoy this book. And the ending regarding the destiny of the sword was most unique and creative.

6 people found this helpful

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Well done as usual

Great blend of actual history and conjectured protagonist. Fast pace and engaging.
Cornwell sometimes stumbles but not this time.

5 people found this helpful

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Amazing and Captiving from the first minute!

I was not sure I would like this book since it's not my usual genre, but the story seemed to have so many facets, that I was willing to take a chance. Especially since the last 4 or 5 books I downloaded were adequate at best. The narrator is the best I have ever heard. His tone is smooth and voice changes for different characters is unique and makes it much easier to follow this incredible and exciting story. I didn't want the 11 hours to be over and was constantly surprised and amazed at the detail and touching stories of each characters life that the author had a never ending supply of. You would feel like you were at the edge of story being told watching it unfold. I can't wait to see what other fabulous books this author has and I hope he uses the same narrator for all of them.

5 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Better story. More context on the ongoing war, the English claim to the throne of France, and the Black Prince's total warfare raids which made him such a devil to the French

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I was disappointed; no longer cared about the characters. The violence seemed formulaic, almost like Patricia Cornwell's has become.

Any additional comments?

I have read or listened to every book Bernard Cornwell has ever written, so as a big fan I was disappointed in this effort. It was almost as if he was mailing this effort in. Worth listening to only in the hope that there is another coming in the series.

5 people found this helpful