Hello Mr. Cornwell,
I'm currently reading The Empty Throne and really enjoy your series after having found them through the Last Kingdom Netflix series. I am also a Christian who understands how some denominations have a dark, brutal, and undeniably hypocritical history. With that being said, and I know you've addressed this before, we aren't all bad. You have surrounded Uhtred with Christians, some "better" than others, and he has grown bonds with them. Some of my favorite moments in your books are when Uhtred and one of his Christian friends share moments of absolute friendship and loyalty, without a care of what God, gods, or lack thereof they worship. (My personal favorite occurs when Uhtred is sure they're going to die in the shield wall in East Anglia and has amazing dialogue with Finan and Osferth.) Is this something you intentionally weave into your story telling? Regardless if it is or not, I find it as such a great lesson to both religious and non-religious people that we can still live side-by-side if we respect each other.
Looking forward to the rest of the series.
Thank you for that! I fear that Uhtred takes an unholy delight in teasing Christians, whether friends or not, but you’re right in saying that he does have extremely good Christian friends – Finan?? I wanted a certain tension between Uhtred and Alfred and the best way to show that was to make them of ‘opposing’ religions. We can thank Alfred for the vision of a united England which, if he did not achieve, he certainly inspired, but at the heart of that was a second motive – a Christian England. If an enemy converted then they were no longer an enemy. Uhtred regrets the passing of the old religions which he sees as more tolerant than the monotheistic Christianity (and I believe he has a point!). I suspect he knows he’s going to lose that battle, but he’s a stubborn man!