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Download 1356 by Bernard Cornwell PDF for Free: A Novel about the Hundred Years' War



1356 by Bernard Cornwell: A Historical Novel about the Battle of Poitiers




Introduction




If you are a fan of historical fiction, you might have heard of Bernard Cornwell, one of the most popular and prolific authors in the genre. He has written over 60 novels, many of them set in different periods of British history, such as the Arthurian legend, the Anglo-Saxon era, the Napoleonic wars, and the American Civil War. His most famous series is The Saxon Stories, which follows the adventures of Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a warrior who fights for both the Saxons and the Danes in the 9th and 10th centuries.




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But Cornwell is not only interested in British history. He has also written novels about other countries and cultures, such as India, France, Spain, and America. One of his recent novels is 1356, published in 2012, which tells the story of the Battle of Poitiers, one of the decisive battles of the Hundred Years' War between England and France.


What is 1356 about? Who are the main characters? Why is the Battle of Poitiers important? And how accurate and realistic is Cornwell's depiction of the historical events and people? In this article, we will answer these questions and more, as we explore this fascinating novel by Bernard Cornwell.


Main Characters




1356 has a large cast of characters, both fictional and historical. Some of them are based on real people who participated or witnessed the Battle of Poitiers, while others are invented by Cornwell to serve his narrative. Here are some of the most important ones:


Thomas of Hookton




Thomas is the protagonist and narrator of 1356. He is also known as Le Batard (the Bastard), because he is the illegitimate son of a priest. He is a skilled archer and leader of a band of mercenaries called the Hellequin, who fight for whoever pays them more. He is loyal to his friends and enemies alike, but he also has a rebellious streak and a sense of humor. He is married to Genevieve, a beautiful and brave woman who can also shoot a bow.


Thomas has a special mission in 1356: to find and retrieve the Sword of Saint Peter, a legendary weapon that is said to have miraculous powers. The sword was hidden by Thomas's father before he died, and Thomas has inherited his father's visions and clues about its location. However, he is not the only one who wants the sword. The French Cardinal Bessieres also seeks it, hoping to use it to end the war and become the next pope.


Cardinal Bessieres




Bessieres is the main antagonist of 1356. He is a powerful and ambitious cleric who leads the French army against the English. He is ruthless, cunning, and manipulative, willing to do anything to achieve his goals. He believes that he is God's chosen one, and that he can end the war and the plague that ravages Europe by finding and wielding the Sword of Saint Peter. He has a network of spies and assassins who help him in his quest, as well as a loyal servant named Father Marchant, who acts as his right-hand man.


Graf von Rottenburg




Rottenburg is a German nobleman who commands a large force of mercenaries hired by the French. He is a brutal and greedy warlord who cares only about money and glory. He has a personal feud with Thomas, whom he blames for killing his brother in a previous battle. He is also obsessed with Genevieve, whom he tries to capture and rape several times. He is a formidable opponent, both on and off the battlefield.


Jean de Venette




Venette is a French monk and chronicler who witnesses and records the events of 1356. He is a minor character, but he provides an important perspective on the historical context and the aftermath of the Battle of Poitiers. He is also a friend of Thomas, whom he admires for his courage and honesty. He is one of the few characters who knows the truth about the Sword of Saint Peter and its fate.


Plot Summary




1356 is divided into three parts, each corresponding to a major event in the novel. The first part is called The Quest for the Sword of Saint Peter, the second part is The Siege of La Roche-Derrien, and the third part is The Battle of Poitiers. Here is a brief summary of each part:


The Quest for the Sword of Saint Peter




The novel begins with Thomas and his men raiding a French castle in search of the Sword of Saint Peter. They find a clue that leads them to another castle, where they encounter Rottenburg and his mercenaries. A fierce fight ensues, in which Thomas kills Rottenburg's brother and escapes with Genevieve. Meanwhile, Bessieres learns about Thomas's quest and sends Father Marchant to track him down.


Thomas and Genevieve travel to Toulouse, where they meet Venette, who tells them more about the sword and its history. They also meet Sir Guillaume d'Evecque, an old friend of Thomas who joins them in their quest. They discover that the sword is hidden in a monastery near Carcassonne, but they are ambushed by Rottenburg on their way there. They manage to reach the monastery, where they find the sword in a crypt. However, they are surrounded by Rottenburg's men, who demand the sword in exchange for their lives.


The Siege of La Roche-Derrien




Thomas decides to give up the sword to save Genevieve, who is held hostage by Rottenburg. However, he secretly switches the sword with another one, hoping to fool Rottenburg. He also sends a message to Sir Guillaume, asking him to rescue them from Rottenburg's camp.


Sir Guillaume arrives with a small force of English soldiers and attacks Rottenburg's camp at night. He frees Thomas and Genevieve, but they are pursued by Rottenburg's men. They reach La Roche-Derrien, a fortified town held by the English, where they seek refuge.


However, La Roche-Derrien is soon besieged by Bessieres, who has learned about the sword from Father Marchant. Bessieres demands that Thomas surrenders the sword or he will destroy the town and kill everyone inside. Thomas refuses, knowing that Bessieres will not keep his word.


The siege lasts for several days, during which Thomas and his men defend the town against Bessieres's attacks. They also try to find a way to escape or get help from outside. They manage to send a message to Sir John Chandos, an English commander who is nearby with a large army.


The Battle of Poitiers




Sir John Chandos receives Thomas's message and decides to march to La Roche-Derrien with his army. However, he is intercepted by King John II of France, who has gathered a huge army of French nobles and knights to crush the English once and for all.


The two armies meet near Poitiers on September 19th, 1356. The French outnumber the English by more than three to one, but they are overconfident and disorganized. The English are well-positioned and disciplined, using their longbows and tactics to inflict heavy casualties on the French.


--- They fight bravely, but they also face many dangers and enemies. Thomas confronts Rottenburg, who has the fake sword and thinks he is invincible. Thomas kills him and reclaims the real sword. He also meets Bessieres, who tries to kill him with a crossbow. Thomas wounds him and escapes, but Bessieres survives.


The battle turns into a massacre, as the French are slaughtered by the English arrows and swords. Many of them flee or surrender, including King John II and his son Philip. The English win a stunning victory, capturing thousands of prisoners and spoils of war.


Themes and Analysis




1356 is not only an entertaining and thrilling novel, but also a thoughtful and insightful one. It explores several themes and issues that are relevant to both the historical period and the modern world. Here are some of them:


War and Chivalry




One of the main themes of 1356 is the contrast between war and chivalry, or between reality and idealism. The novel shows the brutal and horrific nature of war, especially in the Middle Ages, when weapons and diseases were deadly and merciless. It also shows the hypocrisy and corruption of the nobility and the clergy, who claim to follow the rules of chivalry and honor, but who often act selfishly and cruelly.


However, the novel also shows that there are some people who still uphold the values of chivalry and honor, even in the midst of war and chaos. These are people like Thomas, Sir Guillaume, Sir John Chandos, and Jean de Venette, who fight for a cause they believe in, who respect their enemies and allies alike, who show courage and compassion, and who try to make the world a better place.


Religion and Politics




Another theme of 1356 is the relationship between religion and politics, or between faith and power. The novel depicts a time when the Catholic Church was divided and weakened by schism and corruption, when many people lost their trust and respect for the clergy, and when some people used religion as a tool or a weapon to achieve their political goals.


The novel also shows how religion can inspire or influence people in different ways. Some people use religion as a source of hope and comfort, such as Thomas's father, who believes that God has a plan for him and his son. Some people use religion as a source of guidance and wisdom, such as Venette, who tries to understand God's will through his writings. Some people use religion as a source of fanaticism and violence, such as Bessieres, who thinks that he is God's chosen one and that he can do whatever he wants in his name.


Fate and Free Will




A third theme of 1356 is the balance between fate and free will, or between destiny and choice. The novel explores the idea that some events are predetermined by God or by history, while others are determined by human actions and decisions. It also explores the idea that some people have a special role or purpose in life, while others have to create their own meaning and value.


The novel illustrates this theme through the symbol of the Sword of Saint Peter, which is said to have the power to change the course of history. The sword represents both fate and free will, as it can be used for good or evil, depending on who wields it and how they use it. The sword also represents both destiny and choice, as it can be found by chance or by design, depending on who seeks it and why they seek it.


Conclusion




--- and peace, religion and politics, fate and free will, and the human condition.


If you are interested in reading 1356 by Bernard Cornwell, you can find it in various formats and languages. One of them is the PDF version, which you can download from the Internet Archive website. The PDF version has 44 pages, which is shorter than the original novel, but it still contains the main plot and characters. You can also find other versions of the novel, such as the audiobook, the ebook, and the hardcover.


1356 by Bernard Cornwell is a novel that will appeal to anyone who loves history, adventure, romance, and drama. It is a novel that will make you laugh, cry, think, and learn. It is a novel that you will not regret reading.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about 1356 by Bernard Cornwell:


Q: Is 1356 a standalone novel or part of a series?




A: 1356 is a standalone novel, but it is also connected to another series by Bernard Cornwell called The Grail Quest. The Grail Quest follows the adventures of Thomas of Hookton in his search for the Holy Grail during the Hundred Years' War. 1356 is set after the events of The Grail Quest, but it can be read independently.


Q: How accurate is 1356 in terms of historical facts and details?




A: 1356 is based on extensive research and historical sources, but it also contains some fictional elements and creative liberties. Cornwell explains in his author's note that he tried to be as accurate as possible in depicting the Battle of Poitiers and its context, but he also changed some names, dates, places, and events to suit his story. He also invented some characters and situations to add drama and suspense. He advises the reader to consult other books and websites for more information about the history of the period.


Q: What is the significance of the title 1356?




A: The title 1356 refers to the year in which the novel is set and in which the Battle of Poitiers took place. It also refers to the number of pages in the original hardcover edition of the novel.


Q: What is the Sword of Saint Peter and why is it important?




A: The Sword of Saint Peter is a mythical weapon that is said to have belonged to Saint Peter, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ. According to legend, Saint Peter used the sword to cut off the ear of a Roman soldier who tried to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. The sword was then passed down through generations of Christians until it was hidden by Thomas's father during the Crusades. The sword is important because it is believed to have miraculous powers that can influence the outcome of battles and wars.


Q: Who are some of the real historical figures that appear in 1356?




A: Some of the real historical figures that appear in 1356 are:


  • King John II of France: The king of France from 1350 to 1364. He was captured by the English at Poitiers and held for ransom.



  • Edward III of England: The king of England from 1327 to 1377. He claimed to be the rightful king of France as well and started the Hundred Years' War.



---


  • the English army at Poitiers and won a decisive victory.



  • Sir John Chandos: A senior English commander and advisor to the Black Prince. He was one of the founders of the Order of the Garter, a prestigious chivalric order.



  • Jean de Venette: A French Carmelite monk and chronicler. He wrote an eyewitness account of the Battle of Poitiers and other events of the Hundred Years' War.



  • Cardinal Talleyrand de Perigord: A French cardinal and diplomat. He was one of the leaders of the Avignon Papacy, a period when the popes resided in Avignon, France, instead of Rome, Italy.



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