• Vagabond

  • The Grail Quest, Book 2
  • By: Bernard Cornwell
  • Narrated by: Andrew Cullum
  • Length: 16 hrs and 7 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (1,113 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

It is 1347 - a year of war and unrest. England’s army is fighting in France, and the Scots are invading from the North. Thomas of Hookton, sent back to England to follow an ancient trail to the Holy Grail, becomes embroiled in the fighting at Durham. Here, he meets a new and sinister enemy, a Dominican Inquisitor, who, like all of Europe, is searching for Christendom’s most holy relic. It is not certain the grail even exists, but no one wants to let it fall into someone else’s hands. And though Thomas may have an advantage in the search - an old notebook left to him by his father seems to offer clues to the whereabouts of the relic - his rivals, inspired by a fanatical religious fervor, have their own ways: the torture chamber of the Inquisition.

Barely alive, Thomas is able to escapes their clutches, but fate will not let him rest. He is thrust into one of the bloodiest fights of the Hundred Years War, the battle of la Roche-Derrien, and amidst the flames, arrows, and butchery of that night, he faces his enemies once again.

©2002 Bernard Cornwell (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Vagabond

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fun book that carries the story forward spendidly

Cornwell writes great war stories that, because of being rooted in historical settings, are all the more interesting and inspire fabulous, never-ending research projects to learn even more.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Unnecessary Book

This book is a retelling of the first book. It doesn’t advance the story at all. The storyline is so similar to the first it’s almost comical. You can safely skip this one without ruining the series. I love Cornwell but this one was written to sell as part of a series that needed another book.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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awesome sequel

Cornwell captures the chaos of battle better than anyone! historically accurate but never dull. the characters are human--they come alive in the story

1 person found this helpful

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enjoyable listen, even for the third time

I enjoy this series and look forward to completing my relisten to the entire series.

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Bernard Cornwell is a Master!!

I love historical fiction and no one writes it better than Bernard Cornwell. I find myself researching different battles and places while reading his books. He brings to light forgotten battles, places and people who should be remembered. Bravo!!!

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love

Bernard Cornwell is so amazing and yet again writes an amazing story I have reread over 20 times

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You will feel as though you are living it

Start listyat the beginning of a long weekend because you will be able to stop.

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Enthralling!!!

Never thought it possible to top The Archer's Tale... Vagabond was surprisingly better than the first, can't wait to buy the third!!!

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Better than book 1 (surprisingly)

*5

Significantly more enjoyable than book 1. I enjoyed book one but after the battle of Crecy I didn’t feel to excited to jump into book 2 (assuming Thomas would just get caught up in the siege at Calais) but Vagabond was great: fun devious characters like the scarecrow, a Scot on a blood feud for a traveling companion, coming to the aid of an enemy turned friend and of course Thomas fighting in historical battles (they were lesser battles I was unfamiliar with so I had to resist the urge to read up on Neville Cross and La Roche-Derrien until later).

The 100 years war was such a brutal time and these books are much darker that the Last Kingdom series (taking place during the dark ages). The world building is fantastic and the little details really help the immersion. Bernard Cornwell always seems to do a great job of making you hate religion as a power structure but also appreciate and admire individuals who do their best to hold true to the actual tenets of their beliefs.

I do have to say the minor love plot lines in his books always make me roll my eyes and women tend to be disposed. (Except the Warlord trilogy, Derfel and Ceinwyn was great and really the only love plot line I have found compelling in a BC book).

Slight pet peeve: after a detailed discussion on the complex and specialized system needed to make arrows for a long bow (think of making a car, sub components produced then shipped to a central location for final assembly) Thomas later fights a mini guerrilla war in France with one arrow bag and no discussion on how he obtained more arrows. Sure it would be no problem for an archer to make a crude arrow to kill a deer at 30-40 yards but An archer cannot make an arrow with the precision to kill an armored man at arms at 150 yards any more than a modern soldier can make a round (from scratch) in a hostile country with no tools. This is a rare plot hole for BC who is otherwise meticulous with smaller details.

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Medieval warfare at its finest!

As with the Saxon Tales, Cornwell spins an historically accurate tale of medieval warfare, complete with graphic descriptions of battle wounds and injuries, tactical maneuvers and strategy, whilst highlighting the importance of English archers and their lethal proficiency with the Welsh yew bow.

Coupled with being set during the French Inquisition with Dominican inquisitors, one realizes that Church history is as bathed in blood as that of medieval history, and man’s inhumanity towards his fellow man is the historical norm rather than the exception.

One begins to understand how Christendom paved the way for Western Civilisation that brought peace and prosperity to countless millions, worldwide, though often at the expense of the indigenous peoples who endured colonisation.

Don’t become comfortable with favourite characters as many don’t last for the next book. While sad, each fulfilled a crucial part in the story and enriched the plot by their brief inclusion.

Nothing ever turns out as you may expect, which makes the book an intensely satisfying one upon completion.