Your Questions

Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell.

I am enjoying so much The Saxon Stories. So far, it is the best novel series I've read. For that, I would like to thank you for the great work you have been doing, and praise you for such a fascinating story.

I just wanted to mention one thing I found divergent on the story. At Lords of the North, we have seen that Ragnar took Kjartan's life. However, at The Empty Throne, chapter 6, Uhtred claims his death for himself ("I have loved Ragnar. He had been my true father, the Dane who have taught me to be a man, and he had died in those flames, and I always hoped he had seized his sword before he was killed so that he was in Valhalla to see when I took revenge for him by slaughtering Kjartan on a northern hilltop."

It is a minor item, but took my attention.

Best regards,

Ricardo Cordeiro

A

Oh, that looks like an error. I’m so sorry you spotted it!


Q

I'm from germany and love all your books. Especially the Uhtred Saga. I have recognized you've stopped to tell the story as old Uhtred, telling his story to the young princess, trying to get pregnant? why? :)

Michael Conzelmann

A

The stories are still being told by the same Uhtred!


Q

Mr Cornwell,

 

My wife and I would like to ask you a quick question, if we may?

 

We've both just finished reading your most recent "Utred of Bebbanburg" novel, whilst on our honeymoon, having just been married in Bamburgh Castle.  We live just down the coast, near Coquet Island.

 

Though there are probably far more normal things to discuss whilst honeymooning, we (she a Royal Air Force officer, and I an Army officer) were discussing the merits of different approaches to the castle.

 

Obviously, the castle as it is today is hugely different from how it would have been in Utred's day, but one of the key things we were wondering was where you envisioned the sea gate to be? As I'm sure you're aware, there is currently no harbour around Bamburgh, and certainly not one big enough to need four ships to blockade it. The castle has a small gate on the landward side of the north west corner, but that would surely be pointing the wrong way?

 

We fully accept that the castle is very different today, and that you have an inherent right to artistic licence, so please don't take this as anything other than a question out of curiosity- we are in no way challenging your historiography...but it seemed a nice way to while away the hours drinking cocktails in the Pacific sun!

 

Thank-you for your time,

 

Abi and Adam

A

You’re right that the topography of the castle has changed enormously. The low, wide, flat space which is inland of the castle now (when I was last there it was a playing field) was originally a shallow harbor. The only landward approach was across a narrow isthmus (where we enter today), so imagine the ‘sea gate’ (which is largely a construction of my imagination) at the farthest end of the castle – the northern end, facing onto what would have been the harbor entrance channel. Honeymoon? Pacific? And you read my books!!!! I’m not sure whether to be appalled or delighted. Congratulations, anyway!

 


Q

Hi Bernard,

 

as an ex Sapper I greatly enjoy the Sharpe tales, told as they are from the soldier's perspective and I have read and reread them all many times. Recently retired, I arranged them in chronological order and started reading them again. I didn't much enjoy the TV series, never really envisaging Sharpe and Harper as portrayed on screen. Sharpe to me was always dark, scarred and sardonic, Harper huge and a redhead. I was a little surprised then to find in Chapter 21 a break in the narrative where, during the scuffle in the alley, a character called Roach appears for 3 paragraphs and seems to revert to Harper.

I mention this, a) because it's the first time I've actually noticed it and, b) because I'd always envisaged Harper being played by Irish actor Pat Roach.

Coincidence?

Love your work.

Regards,

Peter Diprose

Melbourne, Australia.

A

I’m not sure! I don’t have a copy of Gold with me, but it sounds like a mistake on my part??


Q

Mr. Cornwell,

 

I'm reading my way through the Saxon Chronicles books (and immensely enjoying them), but something struck me as odd in certain descriptions of shields. Uhtred is described a few times as strapping a shield to his arm, but as far as I am aware, Viking Era shields were held by a handle on the back of the boss, not strapped to the forearm. I don't mean to nitpick. I am just curious if you perhaps know of any artifacts or accounts of strapped shields being in use by Vikings or the inhabitants of Britain in the era.

 

Thanks

 

Ethan

A

I agree they’re not ‘strapped’, but there are two loops, or straps, or whatever . . . those things were heavy! Especially if they had an iron rim. I don’t think there’s a universal pattern, I’m quite prepared to believe that some shields were equipped with a single handle, but the weight of the shield would put an immense strain on the hand and wrist. I’ll stick with the two!

 


Q

Hello sir!  Congratulations on the success of The Last Kingdom TV show.  Alex does a terrific job portraying Uhtred, to the point that I hear his voice when reading Uhtred's tale.  I am rereading the series again...for the 3rd time to my son, Robert Jr., though he goes by Bobby not Robb.  He is the inspiration for this question:  You have indicated that Uhtred is not retiring even though he has finally captured his home.  Once he does retire, have you considered carrying on the story with Uhtred Jr.?  R.W. Peake, author of the Marching With Caesar series, did so with first the son, then the grandson, of Titus Pullus, his original protagonist, quite splendidly.  I have read every fiction book you have written and greatly enjoy the Saxon Tales specifically.  It would be quite satisfying to read the culmination of Alfred's dream when Britain is united by his grandson and, I suspect, Uhtred Jr. would have a significant hand in assisting with this triumph.  I also suspect I am not the only fan who would enjoy reading the exploits of Uhtred Jr.  Finally, thank you for providing so many hours of entertainment through the years.  I look forward to Saxon Tales book 11.

Robb Miller

A

I won't know where the story will go next until I write it.....


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell,

 

firstly I'm sorry for my mistakes in this message. I'll try to reduce them, but I'm afraid my knowledge of your language won't be enough to do so. Pardon.

 

But now to your "paper children"... and my question:) I've read one of your books (Harlequin, to be specific) and I was completely dazzeled by almost every word there! I admire you for writing such a good story, which is also based on the real facts - I've never believed it's possible to connect those two things together. I'll definitely continue in reading of your books - all blessed my holidays and the free time they bring to me! :)

 

But there was one thing which... let's say suprised me in Harlequin. I'm from the Czech Republic, so I know some things about king John of Luxembourg. But none of them contain the truth about his emblem, which you are writing about. As the king of Czech kingdom he had a shield with two white lions at a red background with two other red lions with striped blue and white background in the same place. I've never heard about the emblem you're writing about (I mean three white feathers of ostrich).

 

I've tried to find more infos about feathers, but the only one, which came to my sight was from Froissart's Chronicles. However in Czech translation there was a note, that mention about feathers is not based on known facts.

 

I'd like to know, where did you find this info and ask you for some more words about this problem.

 

Thank you very much. Hope to see you some day in my country!

 

Best regards,

Anet

A

I know – it’s all imagination!


Q

Love this series but when is the next book due??  You can't leave Uhtred finally at  Bebbanburg with only a tear in his eye - please don't do this to us!!

 

For that reader who is worried about the swords, Uhtred's seax is Wasp Sting and Finan's sword is Soul Stealer...

 

Thank you for such a great series of books.

Judith

A

Thank you!

And - hopefully - you'll see the next book of Uhtred's story in 2018.


Q

i love your books and still cite winter king as my favorite trilogy. thank you so much for writing.

i wonder if you are familiar with billy meier of switzerland. he tells the real story of merlin(merlydd) and arthur (artis), and it is mind blowing. i urge you to read his contact reports. the facts are amazing.

thank you for all the entertainment over the years. should you investigate the meier case and the reports, i believe you will be seeking me out to return the thanks.

mark riendeau

A

I’ve not come across him, but promise to take a look! Thank you!


Q

I'm back to Warlord Chronicles after many years, and i wanted to ask you this: there are many theories considering Anglo-Saxon settlement (invasion, colonisation etc) of Britain. Some scholars claim that it is full-scale invasion with native Britons killed, expelled or enslaved by great numbers of conquerors. Some say it's merely an elite replacement, that Britons accepted language and culture of this new Germanic elite. There are even theories that the process of turning post-Roman Britain into England was mostly peaceful one, with just a few dark exceptions. So i'm a bit confused. What is your opinion of this? In WC you seem to support theory of mass invasion. Thank you very much for your time!

Miroslav Subašić

A

The idea of ‘mass invasion’ makes it sound a bit organized, which it certainly wasn’t!  The DNA evidence suggests that the Saxons took over the land ( a long process, estate by estate, fort by fort) and, probably, killed or drove out the men of fighting age. They would have kept the women of child-bearing age and the children, probably to use as slaves or even wives. So there’s a great deal of assimilation – the genes of Britons mingled with Anglo-Saxon genes, just as, later, Danish genes entered the mixture!  I don’t believe it was an elite replacement. That was true of the Norman invasion and it’s significant that the language of the Normans didn’t become the language of the country they captured – that language stayed English (though heavily influenced by Norman French). The Saxons brought a new language which suggests their occupation went much deeper than the Norman conquest. It was certainly a brutal process – as poems like Y Gododdin attest . . . maybe peaceful at times, but interspersed with warfare and brutality.


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