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At dawn on Easter morning 1343, a marauding band of French raiders arrives by boat to ambush the coastal English village of Hookton. To brave young Thomas, the only survivor, the horror of the attack is epitomized in the casual savagery of a particular black-clad knight, whose flag -- three yellow hawks on a blue field -- presides over the bloody affair. As the killers sail away, Thomas vows to avenge the murder of his townspeople and to recapture a holy treasure that the black knight stole from the church.

To do this, Thomas of Hookton must first make his way to France; So in 1343 he joins the army of King Edward III as it is about to invade the continent -- the beginning of the Hundred Years War. A preternaturally gifted bowman, Thomas quickly becomes recognized as one of England's most deadly archers in King Edward's march across France. Yet he never stops scanning the horizon for his true enemy's flag.

When Thomas saves a young Frenchwoman from a bloodthirsty crowd, her father -- French nobleman Sir Guillaume d'Evecque -- rewards his bravery by joining him in the hunt for the mysterious dark knight and the stolen holy relic. What begins as a search for vengeance will soon prove the beginning of an even higher purpose: the quest for the Holy Grail itself.

As a pre-established fan of Bernard Cornwell, this is definitely a trilogy I looked forward to reading. If you are interested in reading it, though, and live in the US, you will find it released here as The Archer's Tale. Sea sent me her copy which, of course, is a UK print.

While I am a fan of Cornwell, I'm not interested in reading all that he has published. His massive Sharpe series has not piqued my interest at all. But this was one I wanted to read because I've read a lot of stories about the Knight's Templar and am interested in most anything related to them, as the Holy Grail has been linked to them.

I enjoyed this story first and foremost because Thomas is a reluctant hero. No matter how many times he's faced with someone prodding him to search for this relic or how often circumstances push him in that direction, he stubbornly refuses, insisting that all he wants to be is an archer for the King of England. This makes for a refreshing turn from the numerous stories where people have learnt of their 'destiny' to find the Grail and charged right into the unknown on blind faith.


  1. Sea said...
    I am so glad you enjoyed it. I tried more than once to read it, and never got further than the build to the raid by the French.
    Hot in Texas said...
    Just wondering Blue if you have read the fictional series by Brendan Carroll "The Red Cross of Gold" (The Assasin Chronicles) I got the first one for free on Amazon ebooks I think. Yjey are also on Kindle. Really entertaining.

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