Your Questions

Q

Hi,

I have a question about your writing. Why/How did you decide to write the Last Kingdom series through Uhtred's perspective only versus switching POV's (like from King Alfred to Uhtred to Æthelwold, etc). You have a big world, so I'm asking how did you make that decision? Or, what factors helped you to decide? Thanks in advance!

Alex

A

I rather got into the habit of telling stories in the first person after trying it with the three Arthurian books – which I enjoyed writing so much that I abandoned third person. You’re right, of course, that the third person gives more freedom to describe other characters, though some readers find the changes in points of view a bit off-putting. I do find first person easier, though it can get tedious writing phrases like ‘I later heard that . . . .’ . Perhaps it’s because the protagonist’s voice comes through much clearer?


Q

Hi, just wanted to write a quick note to thank you for writing such captivating books.  I just finished book 4 in the Starbuck Chronicles and thoroughly enjoyed them all.  I don't suppose there's a chance you'll be continuing the series?

Anyways, wishing you the best,

sincerely,

Jeff.

 

Dear Sir,

Several years ago I wrote to you to ask about the status of your American civil war series. You had abandoned it, just before Gettysburg, my most interested in battle. I implore you to resume the series at least through Gettysburg. How about it?

Thanks,

John

 

Dear Mr Cornwell,

I very much enjoy your books, I have been reading them for nearly 20 years now and I haven't found one I didn't like. I just finished War Lord and it was a fitting end to the story, I was worried you might kill him off at the end! Must have been fun for you to get to appear in the show.

Now that his story is finished I was wondering if you might be moving back on to Starbuck? I found those books incredible and have been hoping for him to march again for a long time. I am sure you have many other great ideas you are writing about but if you could fit in some more Starbuck Chronicles it would be amazing!

Yours sincerely,

Oliver Colston

 

Hello Mr. Cornwell, I hope you're doing well.

First, I must say I would never ever try to dictate what you should or shouldn't write about. Second, I would like to ask you a question concerning the Starbuck series. Yes, yes! You've been bothered so many times with questions about writing more Starbucks, and the answer is usually "probably not", but, this time, I wonder if I have a backup that may persuade you?

So, I was watching an interview you gave on Cheltenham Festival, back in 2018, to Julia Wheeler, and someone in the audience, AGAIN, tried to ask you about Starbuck, and your response was the usual "No."

BUT, later on that interview, you mentioned how beautiful Charleston is, and the fact that, everytime you walked the dog, you said to yourself "Oh god, it would be wonderful to set a novel here. It would have to be another Starbuck."

Then, because of that, suddendly, you changed your usual "No" to "Possibly"!

Then I kept wondering, about upcoming Starbuck novels, the asnwer is still a "Possibly"? Or is already a "Yes"?

And if not, can you please talk about future projects?

 

Greetings from Brazil, love your work.

 

Eilton Ribeiro

 

A

Not much of a chance, sorry!


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell,

 

I have only just discovered the Sharpe series! Reading away, looking forward to Sharp's assassin when I get a new copy.

With all the speculation about Sharpe's father, will we ever know for certain of his lineage? In my googling I learned how your own father produced the wonderful family lineage, with the name Uthred in it. I have seen the carefully maintained lineage of my Serbian brother in law's family, and am so very happy for you that you found your true family.

I also felt Jane never paid up enough. After the loss of his little family I thought the Jane Gibbons episode was terribly harsh. I hope there are some happier times ahead for poor old Sharpe. But then, who else could rival Hakeswell, in bringing misery and thickening plots.

Why is Sharpe such a pushover for women? Is it the PTSD? Will he ever get the better of one of them and not be left flat broke ? Will his daughters take good care of their grumpy papa, in spite of him? I hope they do. Daddies are an anchor for their daughters and only on the rare occasion do we hang them out to dry (they need to be narcissistic villains of the lowest ilk for that to happen). My mother lost her father as a child, and she still looks for him everywhere.

The historical comments about the battle fields are masterly touch. They are the icing on the cake for me, as we were given a taste for historical events growing up, with visits to places of import. I look forward to any further works and sincerely hope if they do continue the tv series, they stay closer to the books. My daddy says the only books worth reading were written before the 19oo's, but I think you are an exception.

Cheers!

And I wish you the happiness of the day if you're working on a new project.

Evie

A

Oh, I think you'll find Sharpe makes out okay!


Q

Simple question: when is Sharpe getting his knighthood?  He has performed huge service to the crown and saved Wellington's bacon on more than one occasion (Multiple times at Waterloo!). I know that he must have made many enemies along the way ("Sharpe's Regiment" for example) but a brave and loyal man must be rewarded!

( Very tongue in cheek btw!)

Pyers  Symon

A

Not sure he'd want one!


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell

I've been digging into family history and was rather surprised to trace a link to Uchtred the Bold, which was a delight as we've been getting great pleasure from following his 'ancestor's exploits for many years now. I notice on your website a comment on Fletcher's 'Bloodfeud'; would you recommend this as a good account of the history?

 

Best wishes

 

Justin

A

I would - it's a wonderful book!


Q

Dear Bernard!

Despite having countless women, Uhtred (according to my count) “only” fathers four children in his lifetime. What are your thoughts, are there more and they go unmentioned, did Uhtred take active measures against spawning more offspring or did it simply not fit into your story that he’d have more? I’m especially curious if you think he’d have any “random” illegitimate children without his knowledge.

Best wishes and thank you very much for your books

Paul

 

A

Oh he has many bastards, so many it's not worth mentioning.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

I am on book 3 of The Last Kingdom series (after a recommendation from James Dellingpole)  There was a discussion going on his chat (which is nominally Christian) about whether Uhtred was fashionably anti Christian or not. Someone commented that the Christian characters are like modern day snivelling civil servants.  I don't think i quite agree and while as a Christian i don't quite feel i'm in the same safe pair of hands that i am reading say CS Lewis or Tolkein i accept that the protagonist narrator is a pagan and accept seeing the world through his eyes and here and there the Christians are seen in a 'redeeming' light.  Overall i enjoy the books and feel i have got over my slight hestiancy over whether i should be letting your narrative voice into my inner being !  I hope that doens't sound precious but reading for me can be intimate and i am sensitive to books that are (especially today) filled with politically correct virtue signalling and some of this is often (for example) pro Islam and anti Christian - eg films and books about the crusades.  I do NOT think you are guilty of this and i am enjoying the books immensely.  However i am led to assume that you are substantially more sympathetic to the pagan view point.  I hope you are self critical enough to know that often modern ideas of paganism can be grossly romantic though i don't think you're guilty of that as your books seem pretty realistic.  I am curious to know what your response to this would be and i think us Christian sympathtic readers who you have not quite alienated would be interested to know to what extent your writing is a reflection of your world view or to what extent you feel they are purely written from the perspective of the pagan Uhtred.  But i actually meant to just ask you for some good history books covering the period of the Last Kingdom so i could understand more about this fascinating period.  I live in Northumberland so am in the midst of the setting of these books.  3 or 4 really good books covering this period but if possible focusing on Northumberland especially in relation to the followers of St Cuthbert and also how Northumberland and it's leaders related to the wonderful King Alfred.

Thank you for your time

Dan Ashton

Northumberland

 

A

I don’t think Uhtred is ‘fashionably’ anti-Christian – he’s perversely anti-Christian, which is a perfectly reasonable stance designed to rattle cages. Christianity, to him, is a new religion and usurps a much older tradition which he clings to not because he’s a passionate believer, but because he dislikes the new religion – it’s too prescriptive, too fanciful and inimical to his destiny. And how much of that reflects my views? Probably more than I care to admit.

There’s a new book published called The Anglo Saxons, A History of the Beginnings of England, 400 AD to 1066, written my Marc Morris and published by Hutchinson – It’s a splendid account and I suspect its bibliography will point you to other sources on Northumberland.


Q

Hello Mr.Cornwell

I hope you are having a good day. My question is would Uhtred's fortress of Bebbanburg still be active around during the reign of Cnut the Great in 1016. Also what do you think Uhtred's reaction would if he ever visited to the Rome.

Tevin Daniels

A

It was still formidable which is why it had to be captured by deception rather than by siege. And I suspect Uhtred would have been fascinated by Rome, hugely impressed by its ruins and somewhat saddened by its dilapidation.


Q

Dear Bernard

Rodney is highly regarded especially with his victory of the Battle of the Saintes in 1782 but I wonder what your thoughts were on his sack of the Island of St Eustatius and whether as have some have speculated whether it amounts to a war crime even by standards of the day ?

https://morethannelson.com/capture-st-eustatius-3-february-1781/

Regards

Geraint

A

I suspect that Rodney’s behavior at St Eustatius falls under Talleyrand’s famous condemnation of Napoleon’s execution of the Duke d’Enghien – ‘it was worse than a crime, it was a mistake.’  I confess I know little of Rodney’s career, but the St Eustatius episode seems to have been motivated by greed.

 


Q

I have just finished my annual audiobook listen (sorry; small kids) to all of your books, and next I have James Clavell’s Asia Saga.

I’ve never reached out to an author before but I just wondered if there are any little ‘head nods’ to Clavell’s Tai Pain, say, in Sharpe’s Trafalgar for instance?

Thank you so much for your books.

Ben Potter

A

I have to confess I haven’t read Clavell’s Tai Pain, so no nods, sorry!