• 1356
  • 1356


3.8 69
by Bernard Cornwell

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"The most prolific and successful historical novelist in the world today" (Wall Street Journal) delivers another thrilling page-turner in this tale of peril and conquest at the Battle of Poitiers.

September 1356, France: The English army—led by the heir to the throne, the Black Prince—is set to invade, while the French, along with

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"The most prolific and successful historical novelist in the world today" (Wall Street Journal) delivers another thrilling page-turner in this tale of peril and conquest at the Battle of Poitiers.

September 1356, France: The English army—led by the heir to the throne, the Black Prince—is set to invade, while the French, along with their Scottish allies, are ready to hunt their enemy down. But what if there was a weapon that could decide the outcome of the war?

Thomas of Hookton, known as le Batard, has orders to uncover the lost sword of Saint Peter, a blade with mystical powers said to grant certain victory to whoever possesses her. The French seek the weapon, too, and so Thomas's quest will be thwarted at every turn by battle and betrayal, by promises made and oaths broken.

Rich with colorful characters, great adventure, and vivid battle scenes, 1356 tells a magnificent story of the quest for a holy relic with the power to change history—a quest that culminates in an epic and unforgettable struggle.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Cornwell, a master of action-packed historical fiction, returns with the fourth book in his Grail Quest series (after Heretic), a vivid, exciting portrayal of medieval warfare as the English and French butcher each other at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356 during the Hundred Years War. Nobody writes battle scenes like Cornwell, accurately conveying the utter savagery of close combat with sword, ax, and mace, and the gruesome aftermath. English archer Sir Thomas of Hookton, called the Bastard by his enemies, leads a band of ruthless mercenaries in France. When the French hear of the existence of the sword of Saint Peter, “another Excalibur,” they must possess it for its legendary mystical powers, but the English have other ideas. Thomas is ordered by his lord, earl of Northampton, to find the sword first and begins, with his men, a perilous journey of raiding and plundering across southern France, fighting brutal warlords, cunning churchmen, with betrayal everywhere, and French and Scottish knights who vow to kill Thomas for reasons that have nothing to do with the sword. With surprising results, Thomas and his men reach the decisive Battle of Poitiers, a vicious melee that killed thousands, unseated a king, and forced a devastating and short peace on a land ravaged by warfare. Agent: Toby Eady Associates, U.K.. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
The most notable English victory of the Hundred Years' War turns on the possession of the sword Jesus bade Peter sheathe in the garden of Gethsemane. At least that's how it looks in Cornwell's fictionalization of the events leading up to the Battle of Poitiers, beginning at the moment that a Black Friar breaks into a 150-year-old coffin and steals off with la Malice, the sword he finds inside. Scant hours behind Fra Ferdinand is an enforcer of the Avignon pope calling himself Father Calade and armed with a hooded hawk who serves as his own enforcer. The large-scale opposition between the English and French forces as they skirmish over ransom for hostages and salaries for mercenaries is complicated by the number of key characters who change sides. Sir Thomas Hookton, who begins by serving the Count of Labrouillade, soon breaks with him over (what else?) the money due him for restoring the faithless countess to his hearth and home. Brother Michael, a Cistercian who's come to Montpellier to study medicine, takes up with Thomas. So does Sir Robert Douglas, who's already fought against the English under his Scottish uncle. Few of these characters have any inkling that a pivotal battle in the endless war for France looms ahead. Neither, for that matter, will unwary readers. For, although every intrigue springs to life under the close-up focus veteran Cornwell (Death of Kings, 2012, etc.) has long since mastered, the strands aren't always closely knitted together: Heroes and subplots blossom and fade with no consistent sense of their connections, and readers approaching the tale without the appropriate historical background will have to survive a long probationary period before they realize where this is all heading. Best for fans of historical fiction who have both a taste for the Hundred Years' War and some base-line knowledge that will allow them to enjoy this swashbuckling recreation.
Reader's Digest
“The first must-read of 2013 arrives….Bernard Cornwell is a master of combining a thumping good tale with a fascinating history lesson.”
“In addition to carving out another action-packed martial adventure, Cornwell spotlights one of the most significant but often overlooked battles of the era.”
George R.R. Martin
“Bernard Cornwell does the best battle scenes of any writer I’ve ever read, past or present.”
Lee Child
“Nobody in the world does this stuff better than Cornwell - action set six hundred years ago is as fresh and vital as six days ago, with rough, tough men at war, proving once again that nothing changes... least of all great storytelling.”
USA Today
“The reigning king of historical fiction.”
Bill Sheehan
“Bernard Cornwell is a gifted and prolific historical novelist who seems at home in virtually every era….A lively, accessible account of a remote moment in European history, a book in which Cornwell’s gifts as scholar and storyteller come together spectacularly.”
Billy Heller
“Tired of waiting for another of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones books? Cornwell’s latest novel may be your best option.”
McClatchy News
“Cornwell is one of the best writers of historical fiction.”
Historical Novels Society
“The legions of Cornwell’s fans…will need little encouragement to devour this latest installment in the Hundred Years Way sequence. Everything you expect of a Cornwell offering is here in abundance: interesting characters, rich historical detail, thrilling battles, war, violence, gore, heroism, wry humour….Highly recommended.”

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)


What People are saying about this

George R.R. Martin
Bernard Cornwell does the best battle scenes of any writer I’ve ever read, past or present.

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1356 3.8 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 69 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bernard Cornwell can certainly bring a period of time that I know very little about to vivid, roaring life! First, for those of you wondering what the book is about: 1346 is a continuation of the story of Thomas of Hookton (Grail's Quest series) and it definitely ties up loose threads by destroying some VERY irritating people (bessieres to name one). For those of you who haven't read the series I would definitely recommend that you read the first three novels before this one but honestly, you could muddle through it if you don't choose to read the others first. All in all...this was a wonderful book and I'm just bloodthirsty enough to be glad that some very bad guys got theirs in the end. This series has been wonderful from beginning to end(?).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great characters and story. Ending seemed a bit abrupt being all '....and..... the wars over' but thoroughly enjoyed the story.
carlosmock More than 1 year ago
1356 by Bernard Cornwell Thomas of Hookton returns to life in the spellbinding second chapter in Cornwell's Grail Quest Trilogy. This time, Cornwell bases his story on the famous battle of Poitiers, held on September 19, 1356, between Edward, Prince of Wales and son of King Edward III of England, and King Jean II of France. The story starts with Thomas of Hookton, or Le Batard, as he is known, in a mercenary war with the Bishop of Lavence to avenge the count of Labrouillade, whose wife has abandoned him for the younger and handsomer Lord of Villon. After rescuing the count's wife, Bertille, the count cheats Thomas of his spoils and Thomas strikes back at the count. Chased throughout France, Thomas is given a task by his lord and protector, the Earl of Northampton to find La Malice - St. Peter's sword used to defend our Lord, Jesus Christ when he was captured in the Garden of Gethsemane - and bring it back to the English. The French seek the sword too, so the story narrates Thomas' adventures as his quest is thwarted at every turn and betrayal, by promises made and broken until Thomas joins forces with Prince Edward to defeat The French. The book is a pleasure to read. Well researched, well written - each change of point of view is clearly marked so that reader can follow easily. The character development is excellent - my favorite character was the picaresque countess of Malbuisson, an octogenarian at the convent of Saint Dorcas, who not only comes to Thomas' rescue, but also helps him decipher the clues of the saint who held la Malice - St. Junen of Poitous - and also manages to rob Thomas of a small fortune as he is forced to gamble with her to keep her entertained all night. I read the book in three days, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction as much as I do.
Annoyed_reader More than 1 year ago
Please rate the book and not the marketing video. It skews the reviews for those of us who are interested in the actual book. My five starts is a start at getting the review back to a typical rating for a Cornwell book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was good to see a few old friends and some new characters as well. He presents a marvelous historical novel with few competitors. It's all there, everything you could expect in history; courage, brilliance, faith, stupidity, the man doesn't miss a trick
Coltman More than 1 year ago
A worthy continuation of the grail series. It held my attention such as I read too fast and the book was finished too soon. Well worth the read, I heartily recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great a always!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As always, Bernard Cornwell brings history alive.
VoraciousReaderJD More than 1 year ago
Cornwell never misses.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ifail to comprehend how several people have rated this book with only one star. If the people who rated this wonderful book with only one or two stars had actually read the work instead of drawing all of their information from only the synopsis video they would have rated ir much higher. A question to all the people who obviously rated this novel based solely on the synopsis is this; if i were to show you an advertisment for a steak that was the best ad you had ever seen would yiu rate the steak as the best tasting steak you've ever eaten? No, of course you wouldn't you would rate it based on the taste. So why then do you rate a book before you've even read it. People look at reviews to see how others who have read the book liked it not to see how good the synopsis was. So here is my review, this book is a must read it is much better than the one star rating would have you believe
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Best yet!
Crazycat47 More than 1 year ago
I really love this book! I'm half way through it, but I find I just want to keep reading and do nothing else.
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no one develops characters and battle scenes from historical records better than cornwell. h.stone phoenix
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