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Publisher's Summary

At dawn on Easter morning 1343, a marauding band of French raiders arrives by boat to ambush the coastal village of Hookton. To brave young Thomas, the only survivor, the horror of the attack is epitomized by the casual savagery of a particular black-clad knight. Thomas vows to avenge the murder of his townsmen and recapture a holy treasure that the black knight stole from the church. But Thomas must first make his way to France, so he joins the army of King Edward III as it is about to invade the continent and quickly becomes recognized as one of England's most deadly archers.

When Thomas saves a young Frenchwoman from a bloodthirsty crowd, her father 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.

©2000 Bernard Cornwell (P)2001 HarperCollins Publishers

What the critics say

"Perhaps the greatest writer of historical adventure novels today." (Washington Post)

What listeners say about The Archer's Tale

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jt
  • 2007-05-18

Excellent Adventure

Even in it's abridged version, this is a wonderful adventure. No one writes a battle scene quite so well as Cornwell, (as seen in his excellent Sharpes series). This is the first book in a trilogy about Thomas of Hookton, an expert archer, who pursues venegence and Holy relics in the 1300's. Great characters, very engaging.

7 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • John M. Petersen
  • 2017-08-22

Skip the abridged... it's all or nothing.

After reading about 70 pages I decided I liked this book so much I bought the audiobook to listen to on my way to work and then catch up where I left off in the print version later. I knew it was abridged, but figured that can't make much of a difference, right?

Wrong. The abridged version is missing so much of the colorful dialogue that makes books like this so enjoyable to read. This is the last time I'll get the abridged version of anything.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Barbara
  • 2014-03-05

My favorite series by far

I loved this book and went on to read the entire series. I highly recommend any of Bernard Cornwell's books. He is able to wind intricate tales and employ fabulous narrative. I spent many nights thinking "just 15 more minutes" till the middle of the night!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tom Edwards
  • 2018-08-28

Disrespectful narration.

The narrator skips complete sentences from the book. Please show some respect to the author or don't accept payment for your butchery.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Chaska
  • 2011-06-29

Includes the Violence of Hand-to--Hand Combat

An intriguing story, for sure, if you are enthralled by historical fiction -- but expect also frank and realistic battle descriptions. You'll never picture "war" the same again.

1 person found this helpful

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    out of 5 stars
  • Laura
  • 2009-09-23

Great! Goes Perfectly with Agincourt

Goes Perfectly with Agincourt, Elizabeth Chadwick

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 2009-01-11

Action-packed historical fiction

This is an exciting tale of medieval times. There is a lot of focus on the battle scenes, and while they are riveting, I felt almost as weary as the soldiers by the book's end. The author doesn't shy away from depicting violence and brutality, which makes for some intense listening at times. But the characters are strong, and their noble struggles make you realize the terrible cost of war in any age.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Colin - dEAD HANDS WOODwORKING
  • 2021-05-21

Sorry but I must say

Not your best work Bernard. There are worse books but the performance was flat, under developed characters, lost and wandering storylines...certainly not up to the caliber of his King Arthur tales or Saxon tales. But hey, who hasn’t laid an egg every so often. He’s still the King of Medieval Historical Fiction!

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2021-04-30

excellent narration

the story is good, but the narration is out of this world. I only wish it was in a slightly better audio codec.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • James Hall
  • 2021-01-18

Disappointed

Structurally, the story is flawed. Major event sets everything in motion, protagonist decides he isn’t interested in it though, and achieves his goal with a few pages remaining by accident. Are you kidding me??? Dialogue is intriguing but ridiculous. Performer doesn’t try to distinguish the various characters. Battles were great, but that’s pretty much the only complement I can give.