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September 1356. Across France, towns are closing their gates. The crops are burning and the countryside stands alert to danger. The English army—led by the heir to the throne, the Black Prince—is set to invade. The French, along with their Scottish allies, are ready to hunt them down.
Thomas of Hookton, known as le Batard, has orders to uncover the lost sword of Saint Peter, a blade with mystical powers said to grant certain victory to whoever possesses her. The French seek the weapon too, and so Thomas's quest will be thwarted by battle and betrayal. As the outnumbered English army becomes trapped near Poitiers, Thomas, his fellow troops, his enemies, and the fate of the sword all converge in a maelstrom of violence, action, and heroism.
Rich in color and characters, in great adventure and thrilling conflict, 1356 is the magnificent tale of how the quest for a holy relic with the power to change history leads to an epic battle.
“In addition to carving out another action-packed martial adventure, Cornwell spotlights one of the most significant but often overlooked battles of the era.”
“No one picks a fight like Cornwell, who here does for the Battle of Poitiers what he did for the bloody fray that was Agincourt in the book of that name.”
-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
“A master of action-packed historical fiction…a vivid, exciting portrayal of medieval warfare….Nobody writes battle scenes like Cornwell, accurately conveying the utter savagery of close combat with sword, ax, and mace, and the gruesome aftermath.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Bernard Cornwell does the best battle scenes of any writer I’ve ever read, past or present.”
-George R.R. Martin
“Nobody in the world does this stuff better than Cornwell - action set six hundred years ago is as fresh and vital as six days ago, with rough, tough men at war, proving once again that nothing changes... least of all great storytelling.”
“The reigning king of historical fiction.”