Bulletin Board

Q

Hi Bernard,

Just writing to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed the thirteenth and final chronicle of Uhtred's life as a warlord. I finished it mid-February of this year - and what better way to spend a Covid-cursed winter than be willingly drawn into a world of dark-age conspiracy, action, and adventure! I fondly remember, all those many years ago in 2004, Uhtred's first steps upon a bloody path fraught with danger, conspiracy, and rival ambition that would lead him inexorably onwards as a feared leader of warriors. And what a fantastic journey it's been! Yet, now it is over, there is a deep sense of sadness. But all good stories must come to an end. Uhtred and company has entertained millions of armchair adventurers and bookworms alike. Also, as you mentioned in a Radio Times interview, hopefully the decisive battle of Brunanburh will now receive much more attention within historical circles that has sadly been so lacking. Your novel Warlord has glaringly brought it into the light - as the entire series, along with all your novels, introduced so many more contexts from history. I'm hoping to see more historical fiction accepted as educational material within schools, secondary and college level in particular, although for primary schools a more simplistic version to wean them into it. I remember being a volunteer at Peterborough Museum, in the History section, and a girl of about eight of nine got chatting to me. She then asked me how one of the exhibits - which happened to be a Dark-Age sword blade - had ended up in the ground. I then said it possible got lost during battle, but more likely it would have been buried with its owner. Before I know it, I got a bit carried away and described how various tribes and peoples of throughout the ages of Britain lived, particularly how 'sacrificed' magnificent treasures and valuable weapons to the Gods, whether to appease or gain favour. At the end of the day, I received a pleasant surprise: the girl's mother had left a note, expressing how her daughter was suddenly talking about all that I'd been describing! Clearly I'd made an impression on her, I was actually quite moved by it all, a precious lesson that has stayed with me ever since. Once things calm down (Covid-wise) it would be great to see schools re-open, ideally more with history-living guests and outings to museums. In the meantime, I'm sure Uhtred will be stoking the hearth-fires and keeping within Bebbanburg's cosy walls - I'll certainly be doing likewise!

I'm also looking forward to the fifth TV series of Last Kingdom! If I may, please give Alexander Dreymon my highest regards, if and when you see him! :) The entire cast and crew do a great job in bringing Uhtred's adventures to our screens.

Robert Douglas


Q

My name is Patrick. I am named after an Irishman whose father was also named Patrick as was his father before him. But I am the son of a Normandy Vicomptese and a British Army Major. My mother says it's where I got my stubbornness. And that's probably why I find myself standing on a rocky hilltop overlooking the Pelopenesse Isthmus of Corinthe while the French Navy sails into the haze...........


Q

Hi Bernard,

 

My name is Braeden. A few days ago I ended up buying "Sharpe's Tiger." I've nearly finished the book and I just wanted to write you an email to tell you how much I'm enjoying it!

The battle scenes in the book are just awesome. It feels like I am actually there watching it all unfold. And I really like your writing style, it's just so smooth and direct. The characters are great as well. I can imagine them easily and they're all compelling in their own ways. Then there is the historical stuff that you are basing the story on, which is a huge plus for me because I enjoy learning about history.

Overall, what I like most about the novel is the balance. There are all these different parts of the story that you could easily overemphasis or underemphasis. It'd be easy, for example, to overemphasis the logistics of the siege while forgetting about the characters. Somehow you bring all the aspects of the story together and make it work.

For a long time, I've struggled to find contemporary writers that I like. Instead, I've been sticking mainly to the classics recently, but the trouble with the classics is that sometimes they can be really hard to get into.

I heard about you from George R.R. Martin, who said that you write the best battle scenes, and my mother, who enjoyed the Sharpe TV series, which I haven't seen.

I'm grateful to have found your work. What's great is that you've written so much! I've got a lot to look forward too it seems.

I write fiction myself and I'd love to be a full-time novelist eventually. I'm hoping I can emulate some of your style. Reading the post you had on writing was a great inspiration to me.

Thank you!

- Braeden

A

Thank you!  Let me know when you get published!


Q

Dear Bernard,

I saw a letter someone sent you about your Warrior books being written in first person and a thought occurred to me. Perhaps you could write your new Sharpe novel in first person, it might be fun!

Tell me to mind my own business if you want, LOL!

John B

A

Well, as the book is close to being finished, it's a little late for that!


Q

Dear Bernard,

 

Thank you for your reply to my query about your books and film adaptations. Alas, i am not a fan of Crime Novels, although i have read a few in my time.

My genre has in my early life been Westerns and then Science Fiction and Fantasy, followed by some chap called Cornwell!

I am fascinated by this word "Wyrd" which i think rules our lives much more than we realise. My Grandfather fought at the Battle of Neuve Chappelle in the first world war where he was left for dead on the battlefield after his Regiment, The Cameronians were slaughtered trying to cross the wire that our Guns were supposed to have removed.

That leads me to a question that i'm sure many of your fans have asked you which is "What If"?

What if Napoleon had won at Waterloo, could he really have hoped to oppose the whole of Europe including Russia? Could Robert E Lee have won the Civil  War if Gettysburg had gone his way, given the absolute superiority of the forces opposing him? If, Alfred has been defeated would we have become a different nation and not created a commonwealth or fought the Germans in 2 world Wars?

My family story is quite fascinating to me, but i am sure not unique. I have always wanted to write it all down but would anyone else be interested?

Histories and Biographies are mostly written about famous and wealthy people "our betters" one might say, but their histories would not have been written without the co-operation of the masses, such as Wellingtons troops at Waterloo.

I am very much looking forward to reading your new Sharpe Novel, but i must say that you must be a very fast typist if you can time to reply to all these messages and write your books as well!

Thank you for your time and keep those books coming, your fans need you in these difficult times.

 

John Blackmore


Q

Yes, not only did Beowulf kill a dragon 50 years after killing Grendel, but actual pirate-king of Norway Harald Finehair (circa 850–932) ruled Norway circa 872–930: he ruled from about age 22 to age 80—just as Uhtred does. Seems farfetched--but it happened!

Thomas Ray Worley


Q

Hi Bernard,

I have been reading The Last  Kingdom Series & was about to read your 11th book, War of The Wolf. I was looking at the front cover then reading the back cover of the book. There was an almighty bang on my sliding glass door. The blind was forced against the glass window & I could see the indentation on the blind as it was forced against the glass. There was no wind or any outside factors which could have caused this. Just thought I would share this.

Carol

A

Future books will have a health and safety warning included!  I’m glad your window wasn’t broken, It sounds like a dragon to me.

 


Q

Dear Bernard

I'd previously sent you the letter Davout sent to Wellington. Well I've found Wellington reply to Davout that might be of interest

https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/Wellington%27s_letter_to_Davoust,_1_July_1815

Regards

Geraint

P.S if you've not read it, I recommend John Gallaher biography on Davout as worth a read, especially in regards to post Waterloo. Davout had many excellent opportunities of smashing parts of the Allied Army  around Paris but chose not to as he knew it would simply make the situation worse and was trying to end the War of as quickly and painlessly for France as possible. Napoleon did say Davout loved France more than he loved him

 

A

Thank you! I see Wellington wrote three days before his arrival in Paris – so the armistice is still six days away.

 



Q

I don't normally write to authors of the books I read, but the Saxon Stories have been such a big part of my life over the past year that I wanted to send you a message. I so enjoyed the entire series from first page to last. Your novels have inspired so many new interests in me (from learning more about this period in history generally, to Norse Mythology, and neglected female leaders, etc.), and I truly want to thank you. I will miss dear Uhtred & Finan, but I am excited to try some of your other books in the future!

Tiffany