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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
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.more
Love the time period, really liked the hero, but the Perils of Pauline arch villains cast touch of silliness over the whole book. Not as interesting in any way as book 1 of the series, but I will plod on because I will put up with mediocrity to read the historical trivia laden story about an archer.more
This is the second in the Grail Quest series. I read the first some time ago but had trouble finding this book. Even though there was a gap between the books they flowed together nicely. This is a enjoyable read about knights, archers and men at arms battling to the death and seeking fortune during the 100 Years War between England and France that focuses on an archer who is on a quest to find the grail that is part of his family's history.more
Just like all of B. Cornwell's books Vagabond was thoroughly enjoyable. It makes reading about The Hundred Year War more interesting. But I have always wondered why he always has his hero's beat to within a inch of their lives. Every one should read the Grail Quest books.more
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!more
I took a long time to finish the trilogy. Was slow in places, and frustratingly, it seemed to end when I was just getting engaged by the character. Learning that not every era in human history is my cup of tea. The bow-crafting and shooting information was fascinating, even if the details of each staged battle were not as gripping.more
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.more
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.more
The second book in the Grail Quest series. not as strong as the first or last in my opinion, a bit meandering at times, but still wll worth reading. The torture of Thomas was surprising, i kept expecting him to manage to get out of it somehow, so it was more true to reality when he didn't.more
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.more
The story of Thomas of Hookton continues with his involvement of the historical battles of Neville's Cross and the siege of La Roche-Derrien. Thomas also finds out more about his family's secret past, and has a nasty run-in with the torturers of the Dominican Inquistion. Nasty stuff, but fun overall.more
Read all 14 reviews

Reviews

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.more
Love the time period, really liked the hero, but the Perils of Pauline arch villains cast touch of silliness over the whole book. Not as interesting in any way as book 1 of the series, but I will plod on because I will put up with mediocrity to read the historical trivia laden story about an archer.more
This is the second in the Grail Quest series. I read the first some time ago but had trouble finding this book. Even though there was a gap between the books they flowed together nicely. This is a enjoyable read about knights, archers and men at arms battling to the death and seeking fortune during the 100 Years War between England and France that focuses on an archer who is on a quest to find the grail that is part of his family's history.more
Just like all of B. Cornwell's books Vagabond was thoroughly enjoyable. It makes reading about The Hundred Year War more interesting. But I have always wondered why he always has his hero's beat to within a inch of their lives. Every one should read the Grail Quest books.more
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!more
I took a long time to finish the trilogy. Was slow in places, and frustratingly, it seemed to end when I was just getting engaged by the character. Learning that not every era in human history is my cup of tea. The bow-crafting and shooting information was fascinating, even if the details of each staged battle were not as gripping.more
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.more
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.more
The second book in the Grail Quest series. not as strong as the first or last in my opinion, a bit meandering at times, but still wll worth reading. The torture of Thomas was surprising, i kept expecting him to manage to get out of it somehow, so it was more true to reality when he didn't.more
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.more
The story of Thomas of Hookton continues with his involvement of the historical battles of Neville's Cross and the siege of La Roche-Derrien. Thomas also finds out more about his family's secret past, and has a nasty run-in with the torturers of the Dominican Inquistion. Nasty stuff, but fun overall.more
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