Heretic by Bernard Cornwell
Until the publication of his latest novel this was the last book in Cornwell’s Grail Quest trilogy which followed Thomas of Hookton’s journey from obscurity, through the Battle of Crecy and deeper still into the opening conflict that would become known as the Hundred Years War. Heretic would have been a fitting end to the series but now, I’m guessing, we’ll find out more about Thomas and his adventures against the French. As with all of Cornwell’s heroes Thomas is a misfit everywhere he goes. Although his family – or at least part of it – is highborn Thomas is far happier with the common men of his command. At the same time, because of his education, he can hold his own with the knights and lords he, through necessity, must serve with or serve under. Cynical of both church and state he is his own man with his own sense of personal honour and his own code of ethics he lives by. A consummate warrior he leads by example though constantly worries that he isn’t good enough to complete his mission or keep the men in his charge alive. Obviously Thomas can be compared to Cornwell’s great hero character Richard Sharpe and at first I thought that Thomas was just Sharpe transported 500 years into his past. Not so. Both Sharpe and Thomas are products of their time. Although they have much in common they are still very much their own men. After being gripped by Thomas’s tale in
I look forward to following him wherever he goes next. Recommended.