Your Questions

Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

First, let me thank you for the huge reading pleasure that you have brought me over decades. I started reading the Sharpe books many years ago. Then I lost touch with your writing--life moves on and reading with it--to more recently return having found the Last Kingdom series. As a former student of the Anglo-Saxon period, I enjoy your imaginary reconstruction not just because of its powerful plotting and great characters but also because I find it historically satisfying. I really congratulate you on your convincing eye for what ought to have been, and for detail that fills the historical gaps so convincingly that I am now at a loss to distinguish what we do know about this extraordinary period and what you have created. On reflection, I should perhaps curse you for this.

Born and brought up in a house that sits quite literally on top pf Hadrian's Wall, I have always been fascinated by the Roman/Dark Age transition. What were the social and political implications of the withdrawal of the legions, especially as this was initially expected to be temporary? How Roman or how British were the Romano-British? What happened to the administration? How long did it take for the bureaucracy to collapse--or perhaps, more likely, to crumble and decay? What were the local political factions, if any, lying underneath the Roman system? What were the economics of Roman Britain--was the military supply chain the dominant driver, meaning that without it the economy was in disarray?  And many, many more similar questions.

So I hope you can imagine my delight at finding your Arthur series. I have especially enjoyed your unpicking of the myths and legends and their translation into a gritty history of real if somewhat larger-than-life people.

This leads to my question. The Last Kingdom Netfllx series has, in my view, achieved the near impossible of translating your work to the screen in a thoroughly enjoyable way (I hope you agree). Are there plans to film the Arthur series too? The characters are powerful, the stories immense--and your take on them wry and human--and, I feel, resonant in another era in which "fact-based" reporting is also at a premium.

With many thanks,

Andrew Mawson

 

A

Thank you!  There has been talk of films based on the Arthur books....but I'm not sure if it will happen?


Q

Dear mister Cornwell,

I am a huge fan of the Last kingdom series and i have all the books. Unfortunately i am now reading the last available book (Sword of kings). I wondered if you are going to write more books for this series or if this is the last one. Also: why is the size of the last 2 books different from the rest? Thank you in advance for answering these questions.

Yours Sincerely,

Peter Vervoorn

A

I am writing the next book of the series now!  I am not aware of a size difference?


Q

Hello Bernard,

I continue to enjoy your well researched and entertaining novels - especially the Last Kingdom series.

In your latest book, Uhtred, as is his benevolent nature, continues to give away shillings. This intrigues me since the coin never existed in his time. It was first issued, a ‘Testoon’, in early 16th Century in the reign of Henry VII. I’m sure you have had this pointed out to you before now. However a literary licence does allow such generosity !

Keep up your good work

Keith Wilson

 

A

The word 'shilling' is an Anglo-Saxon word denoting a small value coin that was used in Wessex and Mercia - it's mentioned in a couple of surviving documents from the 8th Century onward and, of course, it has very little to do with the shilling some of us grew up with!


Q

I must thank you for the many hours I have been entertained by your stories.  I still have 3 or 4 books left to go.  They have made my road time to and from work enjoyable.

I was wondering, will there be more to the story of Uhtred after Sword of Kings?  My only wish with this series is that Jonathan Keeble had done the whole series.  The way he told the story was amazing.  Matt Bates has done well.

If there is going to be more to Uhtred's story, when might the next book be released.  I will have it on release and will make sure I have audibles ready to play it when it is released.

Many Thanks for the wonderful stories.  They are brilliantly and richly written.

Kind Regards,

Heather

 

Dear Bernard,

I’m such a huge Uhtred fan and have been happily expecting the next in the series this autumn - but I’ve realised you’ve not yet said (or I’ve not discovered) what you’ll be working on next or when it might be due! Are you able to tell us yet?

Very best wishes

Jackie (proud BCFC member)

 

Is this the last of the series or do you plan to write some more. Have loved the whole series (so far?).

John Turnbull

A

I am writing the next book (number 13!) of the series now.  Hopefully it will be ready for publication in October of this year.  I won't know what will come next until I've finished this one!


Q

I have just finished Sword of Kings -- I think I've read all your books, with enjoyment. But one of my favourites was Sea Lord; and it doesn't even appear in the list at the front of Sword of Kings. Have you abandoned it?

[An aside: I hope you enjoyed your time at UCL -- my doctorate is from there, in 1982]

Graham McFee

A

I don't believe any of the sailing thrillers are listed in my latest book; but you can see them all here:  http://www.bernardcornwell.net/series/the-thrillers/


Q

I admire you. You are a prolific writer. Many of your books have made it to the silver screen .  Now, with the launch of the "streaming wars", companies like Netflix have allocated hundreds of millions for content.

Here is my Question. I do hope it fits within your guidelines.

Have you yourself considered - or produced - a film or been engaged for a TV series?

I have a book that describes Wellesley's greatest battle - The Battle of Assaye. Its on Amazon books under the name "Patrarch"  I have another in the works called the Sinai conspiracy Your extremely successful and entertaining Sharpes series makes reference to the Battle of Assaye.

My very best wishes to you....

Pravin

A

There is a TV series available on Netflix based on my books.  It is called 'The Last Kingdom'.  You can watch the first three seasons of the show now - and season four should be available sometime this spring or summer!


Q

I enjoy all your series and especially Starbuck. just finished my third reread of them and eagerly await more of them.  I read a lot of Civil War fiction but think yours are the best.  Keep on writing and give us more civil war history.

Steve Pagach

 

I was wondering when you would complete Starbuck? I have found them excellent reading but unfinished. I must say that I have enjoyed most of your books(not yet read all of them) The Last Kingdom series, Azincourt, 1356, and The Grail Series.

Bob Person

A

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


Q

Thank you for having this interface with fans. I don't think it is sufficient to say you are my favorite author. You spawned an entire genre of captivating historical fiction, and I am as grateful for that as for your books, which still reign supreme.

Two questions:

I am puzzled by the ending of Sword of Kings where Uhtred says "but I did" (after Benedetta proclaims "you did not want her dead."). What am I missing here?

Second question: Sharpe vs. Uhtred: who wins? Yes, I know, different eras, different weapons. But level the playing field on that score, and...??

Jeremy Symons

 

A

Because he did and he was ashamed of it.

They're as good as each other, which is all you'll get from me!


Q

So, I've been working my way through the Sharpe series (in chronological order) and also reading  Lee Childs "Jack Reacher" series.  At one point I noted that sometimes "Sharpe said nothing."  and sometimes "Reacher said nothing".  So, in my mind, somehow, Sharpe and Reacher are related.  Hey, why not? After all, Reacher's mother was French.   Anyway, it's a theory that I like without any evidence.

Thank you for the stories.

As I sit here, I count 22 of your books on my shelves waiting to be read.

Dennis

A

Maybe they are? I have a feeling Sharpe left quite a few offspring about which he knew nothing, and he’d be very flattered to be related to Jack Reacher!

 


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell

In my research of the old Danish Kings and Queens, I have discovered an overlap between Uthred and Saxo Grammaticus description of Gorm the Old in Gesta Danorum. This overlap has created one of the greatest mysteries in Danish Viking history about the parentage of Gorm's queen Thyra, as Saxo lists her as a daughter of Ethelred. Since no Danish historian seems to have been very interested in the life of Uthred before your books, I believe this is why this has remained a mystery.

>From Gesta Danorum:

"This man was counselled by the elders to celebrate the rights of marriage, and he wooed Thyra, the daughter of Ethelred, the king of the English, for his wife. She (...) laid the condition on her suitor that she would not marry him till she had received Denmark as a dowry."

No one knows the exact birth of Thyra, but it has been estimated to be between 880 and 900, she dies around 935-940. This would mean that the only ruler (not king) of English people named Ethelred around that time would be Aethelred of Mercia.

Aethelred of Mercia 833-911

Ethelred the Elder 847 - 871

Ethelred the Unready 968 - 1014

However, I came across a description of Uthred, that is worded very closely to the story Saxo is telling:

>From "English and Norse Documents" Margaret Ashdown

Cambridge University Press, 14 Aug 2014

"Symeon of Durham states that Uthred was son of Walteof, Earl of Bernicia, and he distinguished himself in driving back the invading Scots from Durham, and for this was given the hand of Ethelred's daughter and the Danish kingdom south of the Tyne, the old Deirs."

Since I would like to make the bold statement, that you are the most well researched historian on the life of Uthred, would you know if the original source of that statement dates back to before Saxo wrote Gesta Danorum, and he simply might have misunderstood. Since Gorms father was Godfred/Hardacnut king of York, Saxo might have mistaken one Northumbrian lord for another, the name Tyne for Thyra, and the Danelaw/Danish kingdom for Denmark?

I know this is not an exact science, but it would cool to debunk one of the greatest myth of the Danish viking age.

Thank you so much for spending time considering this brain teaser.

All the best and a merry christmas.

Ulrik Paludan

(33 x great grandson of Gorm the old)

A

To be honest? I don’t have a clue! So far as I know Aethelred of Mercia only had one daughter, and she didn’t marry (she ended up in a convent, poor darling). Part of the problem is that so many of those old chronicles appear to have been written from hearsay – perhaps dodgy information from a traveler – and names get confused, mistakes get copied, and historians are left to sort out the tangle. I really have no idea, sorry! But Happy New Year anyway.