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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (7,171 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bernard Cornwell Narrator: Charles Keating Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2009 ISBN: 9780061729768
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The master of historical fiction has done it yet again. With "Agincourt", Bernard Cornwell takes the reader on an epic journey, following Nicholas Hook, a lowly English archer on a journey that starts in an otherwise quiet farming village in 15th century England and culminates in one of the most famous battles in history.

But before he can become one of Shakespeare's "Happy Few", Nick must overcome the schemes of duplicitous traitors, self serving priests and conniving neighbors on his way to a date with destiny.

As his readers have come to expect, Cornwell doesn't skimp on detail or historical accuracy, painting a rich picture of medieval life as a common soldier - the harsh training, foul living conditions, scant food and constant risk of death or disease in an age with only the most rudimentary grasp of medicine.

In the books' climactic final chapter, Cornwell describes the battle of Agincourt with the accuracy of a historian and the verve of a skilled writer. Medieval combat is described in all its' blood soaked detail, stripping away any romantic misconceptions the reader might have about the age of armor, battle axes and broadswords.

Bernard Cornwell was born in England in 1944, and adopted by a couple belonging to a religious sect known as the Peculiar People. After a brief spell as a teacher, he joined the British Broadcasting Corporation as a researcher for the popular news program "Nationwide". Denied a green card on entering the Unites States with his American wife, he took up writing, which required no permit, and began his career with the Sharpe series.

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

Young Nicholas Hook is dogged by a cursed past—haunted by what he has failed to do and banished for what he has done. A wanted man in England, he is driven to fight as a mercenary archer in France, where he finds two things he can love: his instincts as a fighting man and a girl in trouble. Together they survive the notorious massacre at Soissons, an event that shocks all Christendom. With no options left, Hook heads home to England, where his capture means certain death. Instead he is discovered by the young King of England—Henry V himself—and by royal command he takes up the longbow again and dons the cross of Saint George. Hook returns to France as part of the superb army Henry leads in his quest to claim the French crown. But after the English campaign suffers devastating early losses, it becomes clear that Hook and his fellow archers are their king’s last resort in a desperate fight against an enemy more daunting than they could ever have imagined.

One of the most dramatic victories in British history, the battle of Agincourt—immortalized by Shakespeare in Henry V—pitted undermanned and overwhelmed English forces against a French army determined to keep their crown out of Henry’s hands. Here Bernard Cornwell resurrects the legend of the battle and the “band of brothers” who fought it on October 25, 1415. An epic of redemption, Agincourt follows a commoner, a king, and a nation’s entire army on an improbable mission to test the will of God and reclaim what is rightfully theirs. From the disasters at the siege of Harfleur to the horrors of the field of Agincourt, this exhilarating story of survival and slaughter is at once a brilliant work of history and a triumph of imagination—Bernard Cornwell at his best.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Nobody in the world does this stuff better than Cornwell— action set six hundred years ago is a fresh and vital as six days ago, with rough, tough men at war, proving once again that nothing changes—least of all great storytelling.”

    Lee Child

  • “A brutal and visceral tour through the medieval world, where life is balanced on the point of an arrow and where war is fought with every bit of sinew in one’s body. A brilliant and stunning epic of ordinary men facing insurmountable odds. It left me breathless.”

    James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author

  • “[With] fierce and urgent vividity, Bernard Cornwell has brought this most crucial and bloody of Europe's fifteenth century battles into the sharpest focus. Agincourt had me utterly captivated, I relished every single second of it.”

    Simon Winchester, New York Times bestselling author of A Crack in the Edge of the World

  • “If Bernard Cornwell was born to write one book, this is it. No other historical novelist has acquired such a mastery of the minutiae of warfare in centuries past. No one else could hope to take Shakespeare's Henry V, strip it of its rhetoric and tell the unvarnished truth about the Battle of Agincourt.”

    Telegraph (London)

  • “Action packed…The crisply rendered battle scenes are adrenaline rushes of blood, thunder, and clashing swords that transport the reader back to the early fifteenth century.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The usual splendid stuff from the master of historical battle.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “His best book yet…[Agincourt] tears away the gloss of legend to reveal the raw truth of medieval warfare in all its shocking brutality, filth and gore.”

    Juliet Barker, author of Agincourt: Henry V and the Battle That Made England

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Terri | 2/17/2014

    " Not quite as good an Lords of the north, but really enjoyable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephen Harrison | 2/12/2014

    " I thoroughly enjoyed the book, including the historical piece at the end that clarified how much of the story was historical. The novel was a well woven and exciting personal journey of one archer threaded across other key figures. Lots of interesting detail of the daily toil, desperate struggle, and sheer squaller they had to endure. Worth the time spent reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joe | 2/11/2014

    " I could not put it down "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rich Duprey | 2/7/2014

    " The tale England's slog through France that resulted in Henry V's ascendancy. Actually a very good read with an eye for period detail by the author. The violence and courage inherent in the times comes through loud and clear -- quite a few soldiers get their eyes poked out with either an arrow, sword, or knife! Although it's historical fiction, it is rich with facts that make it a book I was eager to get through. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cathy | 2/4/2014

    " Was recommended to me..... not the usual sort of book I read, very graphic in description of battle.. very gruesome...... I loved it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Fiona Robson | 2/4/2014

    " I must confess that I haven't yet read Henry V, nor seen any of the films and I can't remember doing about this in history at school, so this was all new to me! However, I am a fan of Cornwell and love the way he brings history to life. And of course, anything which displays how wonderful England is is right up my street! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jill Hill | 1/29/2014

    " I couldn't finish it. It was well-written, had an engaging storyline, etc., but was a bit TOO historically accurate for me. I realize that this was just a crappy time to live, especially if you happened to get in the way of a war. And I probably could have handled the gore in the book (burnings, hangings, eviscerations, etc.), but after the umpteenth rape of whatever woman/child got in the way I had to put (throw) it down. If that doesn't bother you, it's probably a good read. If you're overly sensitive like me, I wouldn't recommend it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David Eppenstein | 1/25/2014

    " Enjoyable historical fiction set in the time of the Battle of Agincourt. More of a guilty pleasure than a serious read but so what. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alexandre Leal | 1/20/2014

    " Azincourt is an entertaining book, but isn't among Bernard Cornwell's best works. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris Heath | 1/11/2014

    " A great read seemed to be over way too quickly. Fantastic historical detail as expected, but as expected a real boys own adventure so if you are not a fan of author in general you might not like this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Declan | 1/8/2014

    " I just picked this up. I'm looking to build a stack of historical fiction appropriate for high school. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 France | 1/5/2014

    " Bernard Cornwell est un excellent raconteur et c'est avec beaucoup de plaisir que j'ai suivi les aventures de Nick Hook. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John Joseph | 12/25/2013

    " Good fictionalized history, not great. Gives the reader a good appreciation for living in the Middle Ages. Too long in the tooth when it comes to describing the actual battle. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 12/21/2013

    " This was almost as good as The Last Kingdom and it was fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 12/10/2013

    " Great story...but wow, the violence! And I have a pretty high tolerance for that sort of thing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 C. Patrick | 10/29/2013

    " I really enjoyed this novelization of Henry V's invasion of France and the struggles the English endured. Great characters, terrific battle scenes, a good story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kris | 6/19/2013

    " As with all the other Bernard Cornwell books I've read, I really enjoyed this book. It reminds a bit of the Archer's Tale, as the lead character is an English archer, but this tale deals with the battle King Henry V and his "happy few" fought against a French army at least five times their size. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 stan | 1/8/2013

    " I think this is the best Bernard Cornwell i have read in a long time "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott Erb | 11/11/2012

    " Fun and mostly historically accurate. Cornwell does a nice job of painting the battle from the perspective of an archer who has fled from being condemned for hitting a priest. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kevin | 10/29/2012

    " Listened to the audio book. Great book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Simon Evans | 4/6/2012

    " Ok, and obviously well researched, but Cornwell has lifted the plot completely from his own "Harlequin". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deb | 7/29/2011

    " awesome! Couldn't put it down! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 6/28/2011

    " This legendary campaign and climactic battle are teh stars of this novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 D. | 6/22/2011

    " I like the author, particularly the Sharpe series. His ability to give the flavor of the times is especially good. The power of the church during this time is interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gina | 6/12/2011

    " A lot of history, but too many bloody battle scenes for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 5/25/2011

    " love the history, hate the filth... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nick | 5/18/2011

    " It was like a medieval road "movie", with a couple of significant stops on the way. Loved it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Frank | 5/12/2011

    " An, 'I can't put this book down' type of book. The only downside..it was very graphic. Well written. If you liked 'Gates of Fire' about the 300 warriors who held off over 100,000 Assyrians at Thermopolae you will like this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jake | 5/6/2011

    " Audio Book. Very good. Bernard Cornwell is great at describing battles. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tony | 4/30/2011

    " Typical Bernard Cornwell. Starts with some appalling violence then settles into a wonderfully researched study of a fictional archer's journey to the battle of Azincourt. It offers a very reasonable explanation why the French hordes against the English few, never stood a chance! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rich | 4/19/2011

    " An enjoyable read. A big fan of Shakespeare's Henry V, so was certainly drawn to the subject matter. It wasn't quite what I was expecting but kept me interested throughout. I enjoyed it enough to seek out other books by Cornwell. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob | 4/12/2011

    " Great mix of history and fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stuart | 4/10/2011

    " A compelling medieval era brought to paperback life with colorful archetypes and enjoyably narrated battles -- all with nary a paragraph of academic exposition, at least until the afterward -- all make for an easily recommended work of historical fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vinny | 4/8/2011

    " Very enjoyable story. I enjoyed learning about the details of the history of the era. Negative spot: the graphic nature of the kills and brutality. I suppose this was accurate. But I can't bring myself to enjoy it. "

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About the Author
Author Bernard Cornwell

Bernard Cornwell, born in London, worked for the BBC and Thames Television before coming to the United States to write full time. His sweeping historical novels, including the acclaimed Richard Sharpe series, make him a number one bestselling author in the United Kingdom and around the world. He lives with his wife on Cape Cod.