When Henry V and his 'band of brothers' defeated the assembled might of French chivalry on a rainy October day in 1415 it was a defining moment in English history. Against all the odds, 9,000 exhausted English men claimed victory from an army of 20,000 and for six centuries the battle of Agincourt has informed the nation's self-image and been celebrated as a triumph of the underdog. But what is the truth behind the battle upon which so many legends have been built? In this landmark study of Agincourt, prize-winning author Juliet Barker draws upon a huge range of sources to give a compelling account of the battle. But she also looks behind the action on the field to paint a portrait of the age, moving from the ambition of kings to the dynamics of daily life in peace and war. A mad king, murderous dukes, scheming bishops, knightly heroes, surgeons, heralds, spies and pirates; the story of Agincourt has them all.
Juliet Barker, the distinguished biographer of the Bronte sisters and Wordsworth, is a medievalist and scholar.