10 Oct 2010



When the English capture Calais, the war with France is suspended by a truce. But Thomas of Hookton still has to pursue the grail and confront his deadliest enemy: his cousin, Guy Vexille.

Thomas and his men become raiders, but when he releases a girl condemned to burn as a heretic, his campaign is attacked by the church and Thomas himself becomes the hunted.

Thomas goes to the valley of Astarac, where he believes that the grail may still be concealed, but there are many others apart from Thomas who are searching for it. The prize will guarantee victory in battle and the games of hide and seek are deadly.

When Thomas finally succeeds in meeting his enemy, fate takes an unexpected hand. What had been a landscape of castles, monasteries, vineyards and villages, becomes death's kingdom and the need for the grail, as a sign of God's favour, is more urgent than ever.
...... From the outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (from the prologue): The road came from the southern hills and crossed the marshes by the sea.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: The four dread horsemen were riding. The rider on the white horse was God's revenge on an evil world, the red horse carried war, the black horse was saddled by famine while the pale horse, the worst, brought plague and death.

I have something of a love/hate relationship with author Bernard Cornwell - some of his novels I've loved - his 'Arthur' series, (THE LAST KINGDOM, THE PALE HORSEMAN, THE LORDS OF THE NORTH) whilst others I've hated (the SHARPE books that I've been persuaded to read, their titles I forget and STONEHENGE) - how did I fare with this one?

Set in a time of much turmoil and superstition, Heretic is the 3rd book in the GRAIL QUEST SERIES. I haven't read the first two and was worried that I might not be able to follow the story but had no problems as, apart from a few flashbacks, this was a good read as a stand alone novel.

So, love it or hate it? On the whole it has to be said I enjoyed it. Great were the parts touching on religion - and in particular the buying of holy relics (I loved the idea of having a piece of the straw supposedly from the stable birth place of Jesus) - fascinating the insight into the weapons of the time and gruesome the details about the plague which was sweeping Europe. Not so good were the often mentioned very gory and, I can imagine, realistic battle scenes - I should imagine the book would have been 100 or so pages shorter if these had been cut.

Perhaps more a book for men, Heretic is never-the-less an interesting read with a good story and well rounded characters - Genevieve, the heretic of the title, being a favourite of mine. The only female character of any real note, she is surprisingly well written and adds a whole other dimension to a story that is woefully lacking female input, giving an informed insight into just how many women lived/were judged during this period in time.

Heretic was a shop bought novel.


Misha1989 said...

Thanks for the review! I have not read anything by this author but will be sure to check this series out.

Suzanne Jones said...

Sounds like an interesting read.


Arti said...

Very interesting review as always...
I wish the author had added some more feminine layers, still it sounds a good one to pick.

SG said...

Thanks for the nice write up. Will try to get this book soon.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Sounded very interesting! :)

Kelly said...

Sounds interesting, but I think I would be more interested in his Arthur series.

BTW.... I got the "False Ambassador" book and look forward to reading it before too long.

Jenners said...

Sounds like more of a hit than a miss.

Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY said...

Yes, sounds like an interesting read!
Thanks for another great review.
I also thank you for leaving such a sweet comment on my blog yesterday.

Wishing you well and have a nice week ahead!

Warmest hugs!


GMR said...

Hmm...not truly my cup of tea but them again, they can't all be. Thanks for sharing the love/hate (LOL) on this author....happy reading!

naida said...

This does sound like a good read, I wonder if I'd like this series. That memorable moment sounds interesting.
Great review!
thanks for stopping by my blog, nice to meet you too :)