Casca 41: The Longbowman, Tony Roberts

Casca 41: The Longbowman, Tony Roberts

This entry in the Casca series sees the immortal Roman join Henry V’s army just before it departed for France at the start of the Agincourt campaign. Roberts takes us through the main events of the campaign – the siege of Harfleur, the increasingly desperate attempt to march across northern France to reach Calais, and the final climatic battle – from the point of view of a group of archers serving in a minor retinue. On a couple of occasions Casca comes into the presence of the leaders of the army, but they are normally only seen as distant figures, rather than as major characters in the story.

The result is an unusually gritty retelling of the story, with Casca and his group having to guess about the army’s destination, never entirely sure of where they were or why. The importance of the many river barriers between Normandy and Calais comes through, as does the misery of an army suffering from dysentery! The role of the mud at Agincourt also comes through nicely. Roberts also does a good job of making it clear that Henry’s army was verging on being on the run in the build-up to Agincourt – until that battle changed the course of the war, his invasion hadn’t been a great success. Harfleur had been captured, but after that the army was forced into a desperate march across northern France, attempting to reach the relative safety of English-held Calais. That comes across well here, as the army struggles to find routes across a series of rivers, before eventually being forced into battle after failing to elude the French.

Overall this is an entertaining version of the Agincourt story, and a strong entry in the Casca series.


Author: Tony Roberts
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 226
Publisher: Americana Books
Year: 2013

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