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By Bernard Cornwell

A brutal raid at the quiet coastal English village of Hookton in 1342 leaves yet one survivor: a tender archer named Thomas. in this bad sunrise, his function turns into transparent -- to get better a stolen sacred relic and pursue to the ends of the earth the murderous black-clad knight bearing a blue-and-yellow regular, a trip that leads him to the brave rescue of an attractive French girl, and units him on his final quest: the quest for the Holy Grail.

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The French men-at-arms stabbed with lances, hacked with swords and flailed with maces, and because the entrance rank of archers died, the subsequent rank used to be driven onto the enemy guns, and forever the crossbow quarrels thumped down from the barbican’s crenellated tower and flew up from the grounded ships within the river. Thomas observed a guy reeling from the bridge with a crossbow bolt buried in his helmet. Blood poured down his face as he made an odd incoherent mewing earlier than falling to his knees after which, slowly, collapsing at the highway the place he was once trampled through one other rush of attackers. a number of English archers stumbled on their method onto the roof of the church they usually killed a half-dozen of the barricade’s defenders prior to the crossbowmen at the barbican swept them away with stinging volleys. The bridge strategy used to be thick with our bodies now, such a lot of corpses that they obstructed the charging English, and a half-dozen males all started heaving the useless over the parapet. A tall archer, armed with a long-handled awl, controlled to arrive the barricade’s summit, the place he chopped the heavy blade repeatedly, beating down at a Frenchman who had ribbons on his helmet, yet then he used to be struck by way of crossbow bolts and he folded over, letting the awl fall and clutching at his stomach, and the French hauled him all the way down to their aspect of the barricade the place 3 males hacked at him with swords, then used the archer’s personal awl to sever his head. They thrust the bloody trophy onto a spear and waved it above the barricade to taunt their attackers. A fastened man-at-arms, donning the Earl of Warwick’s badge of a endure and ragged employees, shouted on the archers to retreat. The Earl himself used to be within the urban now, despatched through the King to drag his bowmen again from their unequal struggle, however the archers weren't prepared to pay attention. The French have been jeering them, killing them, yet nonetheless the archers desired to holiday during the bridge’s defenses and slake themselves on Caen’s wealth. And so nonetheless extra blood-maddened males charged on the barricade—so many who they crammed the line because the bolts whipped down from the smoky sky. The attackers on the again heaved ahead and the lads on the entrance died on French lances and blades. The French have been profitable. Their crossbow bolts have been smacking into the overwhelm of fellows and people on the entrance started to push backward to flee the slaughter whereas these on the again nonetheless shoved ahead and those in among, threatened with a crushing loss of life, broke via a stout wood fence that permit them spill off the bridge’s method onto a slim strip of flooring that lay among the river and the town partitions. extra males them. Thomas was once nonetheless crouching within the church porch. He despatched an occasional arrow up towards the barbican, however the thickening smoke hung like fog and he may possibly scarcely see his goals. He watched the lads streaming off the bridge onto the slender riverbank, yet didn't persist with, for that appeared simply in a different way of committing suicide. They have been trapped there with the excessive urban wall at their backs and the swirling river in entrance, and the some distance financial institution of the river used to be coated with boats from which crossbowmen poured quarrels into those new and alluring ambitions.

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