Your Questions

Q

Please write the fifth Starbuck Chronicle. Just read the first 4 back to back..awesome and as enjoyable as Uhtred.

Simon Stevenson

 

I love the Sharpe series and I am thrilled you plan on doing another Sharpe book next but allow me to press you finish Starbuck. I think he only needs 1-2 books. Think you will ever be able to do it for us? Thanks.

Michael Kruckemeyer

 

 

 

A

I would like to get back to Starbuck one of these days.....but no promises.....


Q

Hi

I've spent part of lockdown 're reading Thomas of hookton and azincourt. They were first published in the years when my children were born and I didn't read them with as much Attention as I have now. They are amazing and thank you for them.

I have been awed at your stand alones: Stonehenge, Fools and mortals ,1356, The fort, etc. After the Sharpe you are planning  is there a period for a standalone?

Mike Davidson

A

Maybe???  I really haven't thought that far ahead....


Q

Dear Bernard,

I love reading you last kingdom series and have read each book many times even the latest one. Thus, the death of stiorra’s children from Plague was a shock. I believed from the storyline mentioned in many of the previous books that stiorra’s would be a mother of kings. My question is why did you kill them off? I look forward to your reply! Cheers

Tanya

 

A

The prophecy was plain wrong. Prophecies often are.


Q

I have asked in the past how you felt about changes in your stories when they are adapted for TV - whether Sharpe or Uhtred.  You have always answered that you didn’t mind them and found many of them interesting. I have agreed up to this point. HOWEVER, I am stunned by Season 4.  It in no way remotely resembles anything in the books. I won’t give any spoilers, but maybe 5% of it corresponds to the books. So rather than adapt the books to a TV format, the writer thought he could write a better story and just completely wrote his own. As a serious Cornwell fan I am baffled, disappointed and disheartened.  I have to think your legion of fans feels the same.

Ron Filipkowski

 

Dear Mr. Cornwell

Though I think not, I was wondering if you had any any input into the Netflix "The Last Kingdom" based on your novels?

Season 4 is almost unbearable to watch. Uhtred has been emasculated. He cries on shoulders, needs hugs, and really, his story seems incidental to the story. Most of it is on the King of Thrones-like intrigue of the various courts. In short, Uhtred is weak. I don't know if this dummying down of his character is a sign of the times, or simply just poor artistic direction of the lawyers, but Uhtred's fierce mischievousness and military prowess has has been watered down to something akin to Forrest Gump. It is frustrating. He lacks character. You have plenty, as reflected in your writing. Wish it showed through.

If you have any say at all, please ask the writers of the series to put some steel into Uhtred, as written by you.

Best,

Adam

A

I do not have any input into the TV series, but I’ve received mostly complimentary comments about Season 4. Yes, they did make some drastic changes, but I assume the constraints of TV production dictated those and I enjoyed the series anyway! It’s rather as if you get a whole new Uhtred story, and why not? I just hope they make a season five.

 


Q

I hope to find you in good health Mr Cornwell?

I am looking forward to Uhtred’s final tale which is due to come out this year. I want to thank you for writing these novels, I am a Northumbrian born and bred and we (and our history) are often forgotten up in this part of the World.

I hope in this final novel you will do right by Uhtred and give him the sword death that every warrior craves. Hopefully at the hands of his apprentice and protégé Æthelstan as a reward for his service and sacrifice to Wessex and England. Uhtred’s death in this manner would Symbolise the death of Paganism in a (mostly) Christian Kingdom. However I am most likely way off the mark.

You have commented that you intend to return and finish Sharpe’s story. I hope with ending of 2 Era’s (Sharpe and Uhtred) that you do not intend to hang up your writer’s quill?

Have you/do you entertain the prospect of returning to the troublesome time of the dark ages? You have previously state you are a descendant of Uhtred’s and I remember reading that there had been an Uhtred, Uhtredson or Oughtred at the heart of many conflicts and political events through English history. Would you consider writing a novel or novels about Uhtred’s descendants throughout the chaotic years after Uhtred’s death and 1066 and after?

Or maybe a novel about Uhtred’s ancestor Ida and him taking Din Guarie, maybe even the forging of the Saxon Kingdoms?

Just food for thought...

Kurt Beck

A

It’s a tantalizing thought! But I’m getting ancient . . . and the thought of embarking on a whole new series is daunting. One of my regrets is that when I wrote Harlequin (An Archer’s Tale in the US) I didn’t know that an Oughtred distinguished himself at the battle of Crecy – or else I’d have used him. Too late now. Another was a distinguished mathematician who supposedly invented the slide-rule – a gene that never came to me.


Q

Hi Mr.Cornwell

I have a two question

1-How in Last Kingdom,families have hereditary land I thought before Norman conquest,nobles held lands for lifelong After their death,land go to another lord

2-Will we see Egil Skallagrímsson in Battle of Bruananburh I really want this

Fury of Berserker

 

A

Hereditary succession offered a much more peaceful way of land transfer. If a dead lord’s land was up for grabs there would have been perpetual civil war!

And you will get what you want!

 


Q

Hello Mr Cornwell,

I have loved your Saxon Stories for many years now. I originally became immersed in the world of Uhtred in the most unusual way. I naively purchased 'The Empty Throne' for a holiday abroad, thinking it was a standalone book. Quickly I realised this was not the case but because I was abroad and it was the only book I had with me I decided to persevere and read it. It was a testament to your writing that I quickly picked up and followed the story. When I finished I was at somewhat of a crossroads, do I start from the beginning or do I continue with the story and read The Warriors of the Storm, the latest one at that point? I decided to continue the story as I was desperate to know what happened next but I managed to read the first books after, in time for release of The Flame Bearer.

Anyway, in my love of The Empty Throne, Sigtryggr quickly became my favourite character. I found him fascinating and my love of his character has only increased with each passing novel. I loved his intelligence, his charm and how he felt different to many Danes in your series and other forms of literature or television. I was also relieved when watching Season Four of The Last Kingdom that the show managed to do the character justice. He was easily the strongest aspect of the season for me.

My question surrounds his death from the plague in Sword of Kings. I haven't found any information online confirming how he died. My question is was his death in the books historical or fictional? If fictional, what was the rationale behind having him die from illness. Apologies for the long winded way of asking a simple question.

Thank you,

Andrew

A

It was fictional, and sickness allowed me to avoid having to give him a violent death which would have demanded Uhtred’s response – and that response would have distorted that story – though maybe it would have made a better one?

 


Q

Dear Bernard

You mention after the last Sharpe books you've got no idea what you're going to do.

I can see Starbuck waving frantically in the corner of the pub saying remember me remember me as you buy pints for your various characters ;) Besides you've got to write the Appomatox campaign and surrender if no other book just to finish the story

Regards

Geraint

A

I’ll bear that in mind!  But . . . .  no promises!


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.

I merely wish to say thank you for writing the absolutely wonderful Saxon Stories/The Last Kingdom series. I happened upon them after watching the first series of the TV show on Netflix and was captivated by your writing style and brilliantly engaging plot.

Might I also ask if you could tell me the meaning of 'Uhtred' and 'Stiorra' if at all possible please? I am an amateur name etymologist and very much would like to add these names to my list.

Thank you in advance!

Selena

A

Stiorra means 'star'.  But Uhtred? I don’t know if it has any meaning – sorry!  With the ineluctable changes of language it transmuted into Oughtred, a surname you can explore with Google, though I’ve never discovered an etymology that makes sense. I used the name simply because my father’s surname was Oughtred – I met him when I was in my 50’s and he showed me a family tree that went back to Uhtred’s time and beyond.


Q

Hello Mr. Cornwell,

First I would like to say I have enjoyed reading all of your stories from Uhtred to Sharpe and everything in between.  I was re-reading The Saxon Stories and I ended up with a much different perspective about Osferth's behavior at the battle of London.

Uhtred and his men have their shield wall holding the gate. Father Pylrig and Osferth are on the walls above tossing stones and dead bodies on the Danes attacking Uhtred. This is Osferth's first fight and he is behaving somewhat underwhelmingly. He's mostly terrified and so far all he has done is spear a cripple for which Uhtred mocks him. Then at just the right moment, a huge crash of stone falls behind the Dane leader and Osferth "jumps" down behind it to stab the Dane in the leg crippling him.

Heroically jumping off the wall to attack a strong enemy from behind just doesn't seem to fit Osferth's character at all. He's timid and scared, he's been training to be a monk for ages and everyone thinks he fights badly and will die in his first shield wall.  Later on we come to know Osferth's character even better.  Uhtred acknowledges him as a smart and cautious like his father.  When he attacks the slavers in Lundene Uhtred thinks how Osferth disapproves of Finan and his rash actions and attacking before thinking it through.  Also, when Uhtred needs a commander to lure away the Dane's away from Caester so he can visit the Erce's grandma, Uhtred picks Finan because he believes Osferth would be too cautious and retreat to quickly.  Osferth just doesn't seem at all like a man who throws all caution to the wind and jumps.

It seems most likely to me that Osferth was pushing the rocks off the wall and accidentally fell behind Sigurd, but then no one ever says anything about it in the rest of the books and they all think he jumped? Uhtred seems to think he jumped and changes his opinion of him, but I'm now convinced that dude fell pushing the rocks off and just luckily recovered quickly.  Would you be able to share what you think happened?

Thanks,

Louis

A

I think it happened as I wrote it! But then I would, wouldn’t I? So yes, he seems timid, and a bit uncertain of his choice to be a warrior, but even apparently timid men sometimes astonish with an act of bravery – and that’s what happened. It might have been a fool’s act, but he wanted to prove that he was what he wanted to be.