Review: Archer’s Tale

Review: Archer’s TaleThe Archer's Tale (The Grail Quest, #1) by Bernard Cornwell
Published by Harper Perennial on November 8th 2005
Pages: 400
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From New York Times bestselling author BLANK, now available in paperback—the first book in the Grail Series--a spellbinding tale of a young man, a fearless archer, who sets out wanting to avenge his family's honor and winds up on a quest for the Holy Grail.
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.

I was disappointed with this book. Though written well and obviously researched, I felt that this book was nothing more than a setup for future installments in a series. I wasn’t attached to the main characters and felt that the story was bogged down by all of the constant battle descriptions. I understand that this is historical fiction, with a main character as an archer in King Edward’s army–battles are to be expected–but I thought I’d be getting something more along the lines of the “Da Vinci Code.” To my dismay, the whole holy grail quest part of the story isn’t really realized until 3/4 of the way through the book. Though Cornwell lays the foundation for what could be a thrilling story with complex villains steeped in dark religion, I am still undecided about reading the next books in the series and glad that I got “The Archer’s Tale” from the library.


Posted July 17, 2015 in Historical Fiction

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