Bulletin Board

Q

Hi Bernard,

I just wanted to say thank you for taking real history (of which I have had an interest since a young boy) and creating such a wonderful world with the last kingdom series of books. Having loved the Netflix series and after watching season 4 and needing to know where the story would go next, I read warriors of the storm as my first of your books (one of my favourites) and have read each book since culminating with warlord which is a brilliant finale. I have since also read the first Last Kingdom book and will read the other books chronologically from that point! I just wanted to say thanks for the entertainment and keep up the brilliant work.

Best wishes,

Alan Ball


Q

Hi, from across the world!

This is not a question I just wanted to let you know that I discovered your books a couple of months ago after watching  Season 1 of The Last Kingdom by chance. Since then, I´ve been eating them up! I have not only enjoyed them tremendously but they have also been a great help with coping with what´s going on in the world right now.

I´m from Argentina and sometimes it can be quite difficult to have access to books in their original language but I have managed to get my hands on most of them. I can´t wait to read War Lord, especially after watching your Q&A with Alexander today.

As soon as I finish with Uhtred, I think I´ll start to work my way through Arthur and his story.

So, thanks for becoming a companion in these difficult times and for giving me the opportunity to "live" during the early days of Englaland.

Micaela Lorenzi


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

A brief thank you for the delight of receiving the final instalment of Uhtred’s long journey (tinged with sadness that this means the end of that journey).

I am a resident of modern day Bromborough and someone who has walked the pathways of Wirral, wistfully wondering why the Battle of Brunanburh is not recognised as the birthplace of our nation.

You have brought great recognition to our small corner of these islands. Maybe one day, the land between the Mersey and the Dee will receive the notice it deserves and it’s place in our long history.

Following Uhtred’s adventures have been a truly satisfying and enjoyable experience from start to finish. Thank you so much.

Best wishes,

Andy Holsgrove


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

I am writing to say I am distraught at finishing War Lord. It has been one of most marvellous series of books I have ever read. I can’t believe it’s now over. I’m in tears writing this. Uhtred was as real to me as he was fictitious. I loved every single book and whilst waiting for the new ones to come I re-read the previous ones. I am also amazed how War Lord ended with the battle at Wirral. I lived in Chester for a while before moving to North Wales. I had supervision in Bromborough for several years, never knowing England was established right there. It’s been a fabulous ride, one that I didn’t want to end and now it has. I was even more choked to see your dedication to Alexander Dreymon. He is the most amazing Uhtred. I can’t wait for series 5 to start. In the meantime, I shall mourn the loss of the books (although I know I will revisit them). Thank you so much for creating Uhtred, son of Uhtred. It’s a standing joke among my friends how I say that every time I started a new book. Your writing is so good, that once started it’s hard to put it down. I’m going to miss the wait for the next book. Forgive my waffling on, I’m still an emotional wreck. I doubt I shall get much done today as there is so much to reflect on.

With the kindest of regards,

Vicki Ford

 


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell

I would just like to thank you for making this awful year of the pandemic so bearable and entertaining for me. My daughter who lives in Australia told me to watch TLK on Netflix this was around the time of the lockdown in the UK. The wife started watching it at first and I was sat there in my usual evening position headphones on book in hand and kept glancing up at the screen then after she had watched about 4 episodes I thought this looks interesting I think I will watch it. Well that was it I became totally hooked. I watched the 4 series in a couple of weeks ,then started on the books .I have just finished War Lord the last in the set of 13 and I can honestly say they were an outstanding read. Thank you for keeping an Old man and his wife thoroughly entertained during this trying period of everyone’s life.

Yours Sincerely

Peter Wilkes.


Q

Sir,

I have read a lot of your books and all the Kingdom series and enjoyed them all but you can't leave it like that -  the period from 950-1066 is historically very interesting surely your forefathers ie Utrect sons could be involved in this period which could be very interesting.

hopefully

B. James (Danish born lived in Scotland for about 7years now retired in Petersfield)

 


Q

Dear Bernard

I found this letter online from Marshal Davout to thr Duke of Wellington after Waterloo and thought you might find it of interest to read.

Geraint

https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/Davous%27s_letter_to_Wellington_and_Bl%C3%BCcher,_30_June_1815

A

Thank you – that is interesting, and presumably an attempt by Davout to forestall the surrender of Paris (which took place on July 4th, with the allies entering the city three days later).

 


Q

A reader asked about infantrymen speeding up the loading procedure for their muskets in the Sharpe (TV) series by omitting the step of '…the wadding being placed and ramming the ball'.

This is known as tap loading. The procedure is much the same as usual but the ball, which is smaller than the bore, is simply dropped down the barrel followed by thumping the butt on the ground a couple of times, instead of ramming the rest of the paper cartridge and the ball down onto the charge. I can't find any original references to this, but experiments confirm that it does work and I'm pretty sure soldiers who used these muskets in battle knew about it. You would lose pressure and muzzle velocity because the ball probably wouldn't be properly seated, but that wouldn't matter at close range. Rate of fire was more important, and it would obviate the risk of a man forgetting to remove the ramrod and firing it at the enemy!

I expect you know this but a musket is also a falconry term for a male sparrowhawk.

Martyn Kerr

A

I did not know that a male sparrowhawk is known as a musket, and I’m glad to know, thank you! I’m fairly sure Sharpe uses tap loading sometimes in the books – Riflemen were prone to use it when they were under severe pressure. As you say it made the subsequent shot even more wayward, but at close range it could still be effective.


Q

Dear Bernard

I thought this article about an experimental Brown Bess Musket that was used in 1814 might be of interest to read.

Geraint

http://www.warof1812.ca/experimental-brown-bess.htm?fbclid=IwAR0sJ-FN1THUEhZ_g82d3sETlXnmKLtS03In05K262KTW_YpPGdG0XvgDic

A

Thank you for that.  Matthey’s ‘improved’ musket certainly worked, and was tested and found to be efficient, but the design was never adopted by the British army, and this at a time when they were looking for improvements in all weapons. The great advantage of Matthey’s invention was that the powder in the pan could not get wet in rain or even ((he claimed) if submerged underwater, but that depended on a O-ring between the pan and the frizzen that was made of leather lightly soaked in oil. I suspect the O-Ring was the least reliable part, and subject to deterioration. Add to that the difficulty of making thousands of such muskets ((which required very accurate machining) when the standard musket worked well enough probably explains why the invention was not adopted.


Q

I just wanna say that after reading all of the Last Kingdom and 90% of the Sharpe books(still reading) the Starbuck Chronicles are by far my favorite.  I saw that you pretty much said that you would not revisit the character, and I understand (although I am greatly saddened).  Just wanna personally thank you for the many hours and much enjoyment you have given me over the years.  I will forever hold out hope that Starbuck catches Blithe.

Jeff