Saturday, March 7, 2009

Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell

Nick Hook, an English forester and a great archer, ends up fighting in France after being outlawed from England. There he is involved in an horrific battle, saves a French girl, and eventually goes back to England having been taken under the wing of Lord John Cornwaille. They, including the girl Melisande, end up back in France fighting for King Henry V in the great battle of Agincourt. Along the way we learn of Nick's rivalry with a neighboring family and meet many friends and villains.

Agincourt, Azincourt in French, was a famous battle that took place on October 25, 1415 in France. The author obviously took great pains to make sure the novel was historically accurate. I enjoyed learning more about that bit of history as I hadn't known much about it. The war scenes, and the scenes dealing with preparation for war, were very detailed. It was interesting to learn more about 15th century warfare although it was a little too detailed at times. Very, very violent!

Even though the historical parts of the book were interesting, the story itself never quite gelled for me. The main characters were a bit flat, the most interesting characters were Father Christopher and John Cornwaille. Mostly what bothered me though was that any time there was dialogue it was unrelentingly crude and obscene. Maybe that's how they talked all the time but I didn't appreciate it. Actually the cleanest part of the book was when he wrote in detail about the preparations for war, leading up to when the battle, and the violence, began.

He didn't use the f-word (kudos for that anyway) but there was just too many obscenities, crude talk, rape, and violence for me to consider this anything but rated R.

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