Arrows Over Agincourt

Written by D Lawrence Young
Review by Rachel Malone

The battle of Agincourt is one of the most famous battles in history; the defeat of approximately 50,000 French soldiers by around 8,000 English has been the subject of many books. Here it gets the almost sanitised version for the young adult market.

Arrows of Agincourt focuses around the story of two eighteen-year-old English archers, Tom and Davey, and their hopes of returning to marry their sweethearts with enough money to ensure comfort and a good life.  One campaign with Henry V should be enough to set them on the right path.

We follow them as they leave England to march around the French countryside, losing friends and fellow men-at-arms to war and illness.  The characters are engaging and it’s easy to find yourself rooting for them.  Being a bit of an aficionado of the archer in history, this was a book I was glad to read.

Heavily researched, Arrows Over Agincourt has the accuracy to rival the archers of old.  The only issue is where to comfortably categorise it. The YA market will be extremely interested in this era of history and the gory details that go with it, as the 10+ reader isn’t afraid of reading about the nastier parts of history, as evidenced by the  success of the Horrible Histories. But Arrows Over Agincourt doesn’t give those gory details that would make the reader squirm and read more hungrily. The vocabulary, however, is of a level that would make it too hard for younger (8–10) readers to understand.

This is definitely a young adult book, but missing the details this particular age group relishes. However, Arrows Over Agincourt might straddle both markets in school libraries as an introduction to the One Hundred Year War. I do hope so, as  the author has done a wonderful job.