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Doug Lester




Location: Decatur, IL
Joined: 12 Dec 2007

Posts: 167

PostPosted: Thu 05 Feb, 2009 8:57 pm    Post subject: Agincourt, the book         Reply with quote

I just finished Bernard Cornwell's novel, "Agencourt", and I do have to admit that it is a good read. However, this book and the books of the Saxon series that I have read makes me think that the author is a little spotty in his research. At least in the above book, it seems that he confuses the aventail with the coif and the haubereon with the gambeson. He also mentions a leather suit lubricated with lanolin as a foundation garment for a suit of plate, which I have never heard of in any writing about armour, though I do have to admit my reading in that area is rather limited. In the Saxon series he mentions, as another poster noted, swords being drawn over the shoulder from a scabbard carried on the back. He also continues the myth that Vikings had to die with a weapon in their hands to be admitted to Vahalla instead of being killed in battle. I just wonder how many others have read these novels and have been bothered by what appears to be a product of good research peppered with jarring mistakes. Or maybe I'm just being too picky.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

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Posts: 8,170

PostPosted: Thu 05 Feb, 2009 10:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Agincourt, the book         Reply with quote

Doug Lester wrote:
I just finished Bernard Cornwell's novel, "Agencourt", and I do have to admit that it is a good read. However, this book and the books of the Saxon series that I have read makes me think that the author is a little spotty in his research. At least in the above book, it seems that he confuses the aventail with the coif and the haubereon with the gambeson. He also mentions a leather suit lubricated with lanolin as a foundation garment for a suit of plate, which I have never heard of in any writing about armour, though I do have to admit my reading in that area is rather limited. In the Saxon series he mentions, as another poster noted, swords being drawn over the shoulder from a scabbard carried on the back. He also continues the myth that Vikings had to die with a weapon in their hands to be admitted to Vahalla instead of being killed in battle. I just wonder how many others have read these novels and have been bothered by what appears to be a product of good research peppered with jarring mistakes. Or maybe I'm just being too picky.


Read it recently also and found it a good read but a few things did bother me and you mentioned most of them including the greasing up of the leather suit that is really " strange " and ridiculous ! At least I would be very surprised to hear that this was accurate. Eek!

One that got to me is a description of a sword handle being riveted to the tang of the sword. WTF?! Question

But on the other hand the story, characters where compelling and I can gloss over technical errors and just skip over the inaccuracies and not let these spoil my enjoyment of the story: Would be different if these errors where on every second page, I can live with half a dozen of these in the whole book.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Fri 06 Feb, 2009 12:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes his Grail Quest had some such oddities as well. I try reading books like this as I watch movies.... historical accuracy is a major bonus! Big Grin

Some times the things are just so over the top that you want to beat your head in to forget them but for the most part they are likely him guessing about how something was done. With the mass of historians around that know arms and armour you'd think he'd ask one about some of these things. I am sure he is well read though as some of the info is fairly good. Not sure about the last book in the Grail series where everyone turns in to puddles of Jell-o after getting the black death. Razz

RPM
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Zach Gordon




Location: Vermont. USA
Joined: 07 Oct 2008

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 214

PostPosted: Fri 06 Feb, 2009 6:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just bought that book but haven't read it yet. There is a book called Viking Warrior, Strongbow Saga by Judson Roberts the book is great and super accurate.
Another book was called Here be Dragons by Sharon Penman that was pretty good to.
Z
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,590

PostPosted: Fri 06 Feb, 2009 3:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There's quite a bit of similar discussion on Cornwell's recent books here:

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=15094
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Doug Lester




Location: Decatur, IL
Joined: 12 Dec 2007

Posts: 167

PostPosted: Fri 06 Feb, 2009 7:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think that I answered my own question...I'm being a bit picky. It is, however, a bit distracting to be reading along and really enjoying the story and then read a description of wool stuffing sticking out from inside the haubergeon. It just kind of stops me right in the middle of the scene he's describing. Sort of like when you're watching a video of a movie and then the movie pauses for a couple of seconds when the player hits a bad spot on the DVD. The spell of the story is broken.
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