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From internationally bestselling author Bernard Cornwell comes the eagerly anticipated sequel in his acclaimed Grail Quest series, in which a young archer sets out to avenge his family's honor on the battlefields of the Hundred Years' War and winds up on a quest for the Holy Grail.

1347: a year of war and unrest. England's army is fighting in France, and its absence encourages the Scots to invade the old enemy. Thomas of Hookton, sent back to England to follow an ancient trail that suggests his family once owned the Holy Grail, instead becomes embroiled in the savage fight when the Scots come to Durham. Out of the horror he finds a new companion for the quest but also discovers a new and sinister enemy in a Dominican Inquisitor.

All Europe wants the grail. Many may doubt it even exists, but no one would willingly allow an enemy to find Christendom's most precious relic, and Thomas finds himself in a murderous race with the Inquisitor and with Guy de Vexille, the mysterious black rider who murdered Thomas's father (in The Archer's Tale).

Thomas appears to have an advantage in the race. His father bequeathed him a mysterious notebook that confirms the grail's existence and offers clues to where the relic might be hidden. But his rivals, inspired by a fanatical religious fervor, have their own advantage—the torture chamber of the Inquisition. Thomas, seeking help to decipher the book's cryptic pages, is delivered instead to his worst enemies.

He finds refuge in Brittany, with Jeanette, the Countess of Armorica, but fate will not let him rest. He is thrust into one of the bloodiest and most desperate fights of the Hundred Years' War, the Battle of la Roche-Derrien, and amid the flames, arrows, and butchery of that night, he faces his enemies again.

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 13, 2009
ISBN: 9780061801792
List price: $9.99
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I didn't like this one as much as I liked the Warlord Chronicles, and I never really got to care for the characters, but it was an enjoyable, quick summer read. The historical details were interesting, and although the actual location of the grail and what it was like weren't surprising to me, it was an interesting idea. I don't remember much about this middle book at all.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Though there's not much to the plot of this story (the Grail is more a plot device than a central theme in this tale), my attention never flagged because I was having so much fun getting to know the colorful characters, thrilling at the battle scenes, and appreciating the amazingly detailed and accurate historical detail on every page of this great read.But that's not the main reason that I enjoyed this book.Anyone who has studied the middle ages has probably struggled to understand the frankly foreign morals and attitudes of the time. It was a time when superstition was rife, attitudes were fatalistic, the church sold forgiveness and tortured people into acquiring faith, intellect/logic was regarded with suspicion, women were property, revenge was a sacred duty, loyalties were fleeting, and yet men willingly gave their lives for "honor" or "glory".This is the first book about the period I've ever read that not only got all this right, but actually made the idiocyncracies of period seem real and credible. If I could travel back in time to the year 1347, it would look - and feel - like this.This is the second book of a trilogy but you don't need to read the first - or last - to appreciate the experience. Having said that, I'm now going to run out and acquire both since book #2 was so much fun!read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Vagabond is book 2 of the Grail Quest series following the exploits of British archer Thomas of Hookton. King Edward III is sieging Calais, while Thomas is sent to Northumberland to talk to a priest who knew his late father, whom people suspect possessed or knew of the whereabouts of the Grail. Thomas gains another nemesis in the person of an Inquisitor, and also adds another poor British lord to his enemies list. Meanwhile, Thomas gains an unlikely companion in Robbie, the son of Scottish noble assigned to accompany him while waiting for a ransom to be raised.Appropriate to the medieval time period, death is everywhere, and several main characters from the first volume do not survive the end of this book. The French remain inept and unable to win any battle in spite of crushing odds. The main story arc established early in the first book is still alive and well going into the third (and last) volume.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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I didn't like this one as much as I liked the Warlord Chronicles, and I never really got to care for the characters, but it was an enjoyable, quick summer read. The historical details were interesting, and although the actual location of the grail and what it was like weren't surprising to me, it was an interesting idea. I don't remember much about this middle book at all.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Though there's not much to the plot of this story (the Grail is more a plot device than a central theme in this tale), my attention never flagged because I was having so much fun getting to know the colorful characters, thrilling at the battle scenes, and appreciating the amazingly detailed and accurate historical detail on every page of this great read.But that's not the main reason that I enjoyed this book.Anyone who has studied the middle ages has probably struggled to understand the frankly foreign morals and attitudes of the time. It was a time when superstition was rife, attitudes were fatalistic, the church sold forgiveness and tortured people into acquiring faith, intellect/logic was regarded with suspicion, women were property, revenge was a sacred duty, loyalties were fleeting, and yet men willingly gave their lives for "honor" or "glory".This is the first book about the period I've ever read that not only got all this right, but actually made the idiocyncracies of period seem real and credible. If I could travel back in time to the year 1347, it would look - and feel - like this.This is the second book of a trilogy but you don't need to read the first - or last - to appreciate the experience. Having said that, I'm now going to run out and acquire both since book #2 was so much fun!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Vagabond is book 2 of the Grail Quest series following the exploits of British archer Thomas of Hookton. King Edward III is sieging Calais, while Thomas is sent to Northumberland to talk to a priest who knew his late father, whom people suspect possessed or knew of the whereabouts of the Grail. Thomas gains another nemesis in the person of an Inquisitor, and also adds another poor British lord to his enemies list. Meanwhile, Thomas gains an unlikely companion in Robbie, the son of Scottish noble assigned to accompany him while waiting for a ransom to be raised.Appropriate to the medieval time period, death is everywhere, and several main characters from the first volume do not survive the end of this book. The French remain inept and unable to win any battle in spite of crushing odds. The main story arc established early in the first book is still alive and well going into the third (and last) volume.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Vagabond is the second book in the Grail series by Cornwell. It picks up after the final battle in The Archer's Tale.Thomas, an archer in the English army, is searching for the Holy Grail. He's not sure if he believes it exists, and his friend and traveling companion, Father Hobbes, keeps reminding him of the promise he made to his dying father which involved another holy relic.Most of France is under siege by the English and it's not safe to be traveling for Thomas, Father Hobbes, and Eleanor, Thomas's soon to be wife. They run into a band of English soldiers who are very interested in the treasure he is seeking. He soon finds himself back in an archer line and, during the battle, both Father Hobbes and Eleanor are killed by another group seeking the Grail. Wrought with grief, he finds new determination. He plans on hunting down the ruthless murderers and exacting revenge for Eleanor's life. I liked The Archer's Tale, the first in the series, but didn't get into it much. Vagabond moved much faster for me and I began liking Thomas instead of feeling sorry for him. There was still a lot to feel sorry for, but he becomes stronger and more determined which made him much more likable. It's a true quest book. Thomas is forever walking somewhere and somehow always seems to find himself in an archer line. He gets closer to the Grail with each fight and deals with an enormous amount a guilt along the way. People around him constantly die and you expect him to give up at any moment. It's a violent story. The life of an archer and man-at-arms is not clean, fun, or healthy but it makes for good reading. Cornwell has a way of clearly and very realistically describing battles, sword fights, and the damage an English bow can do. It's not for the squeamish.
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With this second book in the series, I'm finding more and more to enjoy and savor. Thomas faces new enemies (Father Bernard, and Sir Geoffrey the "Scarecrow") and makes a new friend, Robbie Douglas, a hot-headed Scot. Mordecai, a very interesting and likeable secondary character from book one, that I really like, makes an appearance in this book and continues to add to the overall enjoyment.The story opens with the battle of Neville's Cross in northern England when a small English force defeats a much larger force of Scots under King David II, again because of the presence of English archers. The story ends back at Le Roche-Derrien in France where Thomas has once again encountered Jeannette, and helps defeat the French/Breton forces. The scene involving Thomas' torture by a Dominican inquistitor is hard to endure, but later the Dominican gets his comeuppance and that is most satisfactory.
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Another excellent read from Cornwel. This is my second foray into his work and I must say I am very impressed. Picked up the third book right after finishing this one.
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