The Author Blog of Ethan E. Harris
I purposefully did not read the title summary for Harper’s release, 1356, before reading the story. And until this book, I have never stopped to read any title by Bernard Cornwell. What I discovered was a dawning realization that this was an incredibly well-written, highly detailed historical fiction finding its zenith with the Battle of Poitiers in the year 1356. It’s expansive. It’s vast. The characters work. It’s a walking adventure with great depth of detail and imagery.
This is how historical fiction should be written. The characters are written with strength. By the time of the last battle, I was so engaged in the story that I simply could not stop. That’s not just a way to make a review sound good! I was honestly, extraordinarily hooked. I could “see” the battle taking place.
I have a deep respect for the level of authorship this story reflects. I could see, hear and smell the din of battle in a way that only Martin (or Tolkien, for that matter) has enabled me in the past. I am in awe of this degree of rich, sweeping story telling. I hesitate to say that I was entertained. It’s more like I was transfixed against my will.
The highly detailed narrative was a struggle for me at first. The first chapter’s character is slowly woven into the fabric of the rest of the story, and although it turns out to be pivotal, I was lost in trying to grasp the significance.
Ultimately, though, I wasn’t expecting to immerse myself so deeply in a story with such depth of range. It is not cookie-cutter fiction, folks. This is a serious novel, with amazingly detailed imagery and themes. And I enjoyed myself immensely.
I would recommend this book to anyone who found themselves bowled away by George R. R. Martin grand battle mechanics or with Tolkien’s worldwide scope. The author, Bernard Cornwell, is an incredibly skilled writer worthy of all accolades heaped at his pen.