Heretic

Written by Bernard Cornwell
Review by Gerald T. Burke

The novel opens in 1347 at the English siege of Calais. Thomas Hookton comes to join the fight. He is still recovering from wounds inflicted during torture by the Inquisition’s Dominicans, but he has recovered enough to resume his passion as an English archer, one of the most feared warriors of the time. He is also on a mission – to recover the Holy Grail. After capturing the fortress Castillon d’Arbazon, Thomas discovers Genevieve, a young woman condemned to burn as a heretic. He falls in love with her, and defying the town, his own men, and the Church, he frees her. Now he is an outcast also, and together with a small band of loyal followers, they continue the quest for the Grail. After overcoming numerous obstacles, they return to Castillon d’Arbazon, which quickly comes under siege. The outlook appears grim, but nature intervenes with an unexpected twist, and the quest for the Grail comes to a surprising resolution.

Heretic is the third in Cornwell’s excellent Grail Quest series. As always, the master storyteller keeps the action moving with engaging characters, an intriguing storyline, and abundant historical detail. This is a marvelous medieval adventure novel.