Your Questions

Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

I just finished reading the Saxon stories and eagerly await the last book.

Your books are quite intriguing and gives us a view to that era from prospect of a warrior. Sigtryggar and Athelstan are my favorite male characters. I love how their  personalities are different from the characters around them, specially Athelstan. Thank you for keeping Gisela alive through Stiorra in every book. I must confess I wished you would written more of Stiorra, Sigtryggar and Athelstan. As I finished reading "Sword of Kings" I had many questions on Uhtred's personality.

Uhtred's character hates kids; he finds them irritating including his own son. Which is odd because parents love their children unconditionally.

Uhtred claims to love many women in his life(Gisela, Aethelflaed, Eadith). But he moves from one woman to another with lightening speed. In the page of  "Sword of Kings" he tells Benedetta that he wished Eadith dead. Is it because he liked Benedetta?

Throughout the series Uhtred adopts many happy boys and protects many pretty women. He claims to "love" them. But his love seems feeble and conditional. Is it possible that Uhtred confuses liking with love? After reading"Sword of Kings" I wondered if Uhtred is truly capable of love? I would like to know your thoughts.

Thanks,

SJ

 

A

You think all parents love their children unconditionally? That would be nice, but history seems to suggest otherwise. I suspect Uhtred is capable of love, and does love. He is irritated by small children (a lot of people are), but I’ve never doubted his adoration of women.

 


Q

Dear Bernard after Recently re-reading the Fort I wondered if you'd ever considered another similar style of book again and set around Cornwallis and Greene and Guildford Courthouse. That was a true horror house of a battle. With 2 of the most famous Commanders of the American Revolution. On the one hand Cornwallis won the battle but on the other Greene won the war.

What's your thoughts on the battle and who do you think was the better General of the 2 men ?

Regards

Geraint

P.S if you'd not read it Lawrence Babits Long Obstinate and Bloody is a great book to read on the subject.

 

A

Honestly? I have no idea which was the better general because I don’t know enough about either man. I don’t know if I’ll revisit the Revolution – maybe? But no promises.

 


Q

Hello Mr Cornwell-

as a massive Sharpe fan who has reread every book in lockdown-can you Please give a few clues as to what the next Sharpe book will be about?

Many regards sir

James Sargent

A

Probably not because as I haven’t written it I really don’t know! I usually know the opening scene and then discover the story as I write it. All I do know is that book begins on June 19th, 1815, and will end (I suspect) in Paris that had surrendered on July 4th. Maybe the only clue I can give you is that I have a beautiful map of Paris printed in 1814, the rest will have to wait till I start writing the book!

 


Q

Hello there I am a huge fan of your books and it was great to see you in TLK series 3. What's next for you Mr C?

Susan Shakespeare

A

Next is the publication of the 13th (and last!) book of The Last Kingdom series.  The book title is War Lord and it will be published in the UK on 15 October and in the US on 20 November.  You can read an excerpt of the book here:  http://www.bernardcornwell.net/books/war-lord/


Q

Dear mister Cornwell,

I have read the last kingdom books two three times ,but I cannot find any description of how Uhtred moved into Dunholm after the death of Brida.

Can you tell me how this happened?

C. H. Cottam

A

Having described the capture of Dunholm in Lords of the North it didn’t seem a good idea to write a similar story all over again. Just assume, as I did, that with Brida’s death her followers abandoned her cause and surrendered her strongholds.

 


Q

Bernard

I'm a long time fan, and greatly enjoy your books; However in your historical fiction I'm wondering why no stories of the frontier wars in Australia.

I don't mean the Ned Kelly type story of Irish Roman Catholic goes bad under weight of Protestant Irish policing, but more the stoies of people like Harry Nanya (Aboriginal rebel of the SW Riverina, or Mary Avoca who was lost from his mob and became a loved carer of a motherless child on an isolated station.

In Australia (and New Zealand for that matter) we have the struggles between indigenous and invaders (colonizers). The Rogues who became statesmen and politicians, and the convicts who started commercial empires.

Might not get the reading public's attention like Waterloo or the American Civil War, but it was an equally vital struggle, with lives lost, changed, destroyed and remembered.

No civil war or national armies, but battles, struggles, humanity on a smaller scale in a vast landscape.

Jim

A

Mainly because I know nothing about it, and nothing about the geography, terrain, speech patterns and all the other things that would make the background to the story authentic. You’re right, of course, that it’s a tempting area to write about, but I suspect an Australian would do a much better job than I ever could!

 


Q

Hello Mr Cornwell,

hope you're keeping well. Couple of questions. The first one is, I understand George MacDonald Fraser was working on a last Flashman book before he died - since you knew him so well have you any idea what period it was going to be about?

(Don't tell me it was going to be the American Civil War at last - that would be too cruel, although I suppose to a Brit like Flashman the Civil War was kind of a side show).

The other thing is, when you created Sharpe, I guess Hornblower was the primary inspiration for the character, but were there any others? Flashman again, perhaps? Others? Or was he literally just born in a flash?

By the way, I loved 'Wildtrack' and I thought it was the best Thriller I ever read - you did what few thriller writers do: give the main character a personality!

Thanks!

Isaac Glynn

 

A

I have no idea! He sent Flash to Harper’s Ferry in Flashman and the Angel of the Lord, so it’s possible he wanted to go further into the civil war?  I certainly don’t think George regarded the Civil War as a sideshow and I suspect he had planned some mischief for Flashman!

 

Thank you! Hornblower was certainly the primary inspiration, though Sharpe was never as moral a man as Hornblower. I really can’t think of any others. I read and liked a lot of historical novels, but it always seemed odd to me that various splendid authors were writing series about naval officers fighting Napoleon and there was no equivalent for the officers who served under Wellington.

 

 


Q

Hi Bernard,

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all your books and watching The Last Kingdom. I received by mail the Sword of Kings today from Amazon and have already started reading it. Although I've lived in Ottawa for the last 40 odd years I was born and brought up in Canterbury and my brother lived in Faversham. There is a Norman Keep just inside the old city walls near where I lived.I was hoping your Saxon series would explain the Norman conquest but I see you are 100 years and a number of kings short. Can you recommend any books that cover the subjugation of the Saxons by the Normans? Surely one battle was not enough. Perhaps you might do something similar to Waterloo on the topic. Thank you for many hours of enjoyment.

Regards,

Bill Holman

A

You’re right – Uhtred’s tale finishes over a century before the Norman conquest, and that conquest was far from settled by the Battle of Hastings – William had a hard time in the north, which resisted him. I think the best book I know is The Norman Conquest by Marc Morris – published five or six years ago and available in paperback.

 


Q

Is there any way to bring Gisela back?  She was a wonderful character and showed that Uhtred was capable of true love.

Steph

A

It was capricious of me to kill her – but I can’t see a resurrection, sorry! Maybe in a short story?


Q

I was surprised to see you write in answer to a question “ And the French hatred of archers would almost certainly have led to either a massacre or the maiming of the captured archers by severing their fingers.”

 

This is often said to be the origin of the V-sign. My searches about that claim have only resulted in statements by historians that there is no evidence for archers ever showing their two bow-string fingers to the French. Has your research shown that archers’ fingers were cut off, and not that archers held their two fingers up to taunt the French?

Mike Hutchinson

A

There is no direct evidence, though there is evidence that the French threatened to cut off their bow-string fingers. I’ve talked to some historians who believe it’s very likely that the two-finger insult did begin as a retort to the defeated French and so became a very British gesture.