Vagabond by Bernard Cornwell

Vagabond is the second book in Bernard Cornwell’s Grail Quest Series. The other two books are ‘Harlequin/The Archer’s Tale’ and ‘Heretic’.

Thomas has been sent back from France to England by King Edward III to discover the whereabouts of the Grail. He is travelling with his woman – Eleanor, and a priest – Father Hobbe. His first step in the search is to visit a monk in Durham – Hugh Collimore, who looked after his father – Ralph.

In Durham, Thomas joins a group of English who battle with a large band of invading Scotsmen. During the battle, Robbie Douglas, the son of a Scottish Lord, is taken hostage. Robbie and Thomas become friends and allies in their search for Guy Vexille. While the battle is raging, the Dominican Inquisitor, Bernard de Taillebourg, beats Thomas to Collimore with disastrous consequences for Thomas and his companions.

After Durham, Thomas, with Robbie as his companion, travels back to Hookton and receives a book that was written by his father about the Grail. Although Thomas now believes that the Grail exists and was in the possession of his father, he is still reluctant to commit himself to the Grail quest. He travels back to La Roche-Derrien in France to help his friend Sir Guillaume who has been outlawed and who’s castle is under siege.

After the end of the battles in La Roche-Derrien, Thomas decides that he will take on a serious search for the Grail.

This book really felt like it was in the middle of a series and would not read as well if attempted as a stand-alone book. Thomas seems to be wandering from battle to battle filling in time while he decides what to do about the Grail. Characters from the first book reappear and some of the background is important to the story. All the same, I found this book very enjoyable and in some areas absolutely fascinating.

The descriptions of Thomas’s torture at the hands of the sadistic Inquisitor de Taillebourg are completely gruesome. It’s amazing what has been done in the name of God.


Book Published 2002


See a full list of books by Bernard Cornwell

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