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Friday, December 8, 2006

The Archer's Tale

The Archer's Tale by Bernard Cornwell

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:

May 9, 2003

I'll be blunt, I read this book because I loved Cornwell's "Warlord Chronicles" and I had nothing else to read. That being said, I didn't hope for a lot from this book, but still I felt disappointed.

I think a lot of it is because I think I've seen most of this book before in the "Warlord Chronicles" and even in "Stonehenge". A raid in the opening of the book sets the largely ordinary main character on the road to greatness, where he becomes entangled in the big events of that time. There are two women: the smarter, out-of-reach woman and the duller, perhaps better looking woman he settles for. The good guys win a major battle, but there's more to come...

I didn't like the main character Thomas for most of the book, which I don't think I'm supposed to. Like Han Solo, Thomas is sort of a scoundrel for most of the book, but then starts to battle with his conscience. But it's hard to root for the guy who just wants to be left alone in the army so he can kill Frenchmen.

The dark lord/Holy Grail plot, which I assume will come to play more in the sequels is rediculous when set against the realistic battles (which Cornwell, like Stephen Pressfield, does very well) and I really wish it wasn't in the book at all.

The book started slowly then built speed until the final climactic battle, which was a good pay-off for all the times I, the reader, had to hear how wonderfully useful and important archers are.

If you want some good medieval battles, this is a good book to read, but if you want anything more, read something else. I'd recommend "The Warlord Chronicles" (Winter King, Enemy of God, and Excalibur) instead.

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