20 August 2015

The balls in your Agincourt...(worst headline yet!)

Image from http://www.bernardcornwell.net/books/azincourt-2/
So this post has been sitting neatly typed up in my notes for the past two weeks and because I had typed it up I thought I had posted it here and clearly hadn't.  Once again, I beg for forgiveness dear reader, but while you ponder that have a read of our thoughts on Bernard Cornwell's Agincourt.

Before I submit my usual rambling, I want to begin with a hearty farewell to Anne who is moving on to happy times in Wiltshire.  We missed you at the previous meeting to say goodbye so for now virtual hugs and we hope to see you again, for now good luck with the new job :-)

Ok, to ramblings.

Bernard Cornwell was born in London in 1944 – a ‘warbaby’ – whose father was a Canadian airman and mother in Britain’s Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.  
He was adopted by a family in Essex who belonged to a religious sect called the Peculiar People (and they were), but escaped to London University and, after a stint as a teacher, he joined BBC Television where he worked for the next 10 years.  He began as a researcher on the Nationwide programme and ended as Head of Current Affairs Television for the BBC in Northern Ireland. It was while working in Belfast that he met Judy, a visiting American, and fell in love. Judy was unable to move to Britain for family reasons so Bernard went to the States where he was refused a Green Card. He decided to earn a living by writing, a job that did not need a permit from the US government – and for some years he had been wanting to write the adventures of a British soldier in the Napoleonic wars – and so the Sharpe series was born. 

Agincourt (Azincourt in French) is one of the most famous battles ever fought; the victory of a small, despised, sick and hungry army over an enemy that massively outnumbered it. Azincourt, the novel coming soon, tells the story of that small army; how it embarked from England confident of victory, but was beaten down and horribly weakened by the stubborn French defence of Harfleur.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that read the book that our first comments were on how graphic the violence was, especially the sexual violence, so not one for the faint hearted!  We were pleased with how historically accurate it was however some of us felt that the story got in the way of the history and that perhaps we should have read a nonfiction account of the time.  However, because it was historically so accurate it did make the story quite compelling.

We did however feel it was a bit like chick lit for men, even the cover was quite masculine, and could get quite formulaic in parts.  Some of the story felt rushed with odd bits of editing.
In general however, it was enjoyed and has sent us all on task to find out more about the battle, that era and more.

Next months read is down and out in Paris and London by George Orwell.
We're a fully subscribed book group at the moment, so if you have any comments please do post them below and I will forward on to the group at the next meeting.
Until then, happy reading :)

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