Your Questions

Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell,

Are you ever going to take us to 1066? Let us sail with William as he prepares to go to Hastings? Just wondering.

Andy Lam

A

It's not in my plans, sorry!


Q

Hi Bernard,

I just started book 10, The Flame Bearer, and I had a thought about Uhtred's oaths.  He is very aware of his oath to Aethelflaed but did he not swear an oath to Edward on Alfred's deathbed after Alfred granted him that new estate? I don't have a copy to Death of Kings to confirm this but he doesn't seem to mention it in the books I've read so far that take place after Death of Kings. Was it just a temporary oath like in the tv show or was it supposed to be for life?

David Major

A

I’m not quite sure which oath you’re referring to? I don’t remember him swearing an oath to Edward, but he does have a lifelong oath to protect Aethelstan. Sorry, I’m confused!


Q

Dear Bernard/Mr.Cornwell,

I write to you as a friend, we have never met, but I have read so much of your work and have felt so much joy in reading your work that I feel closer than strangers at least. I did sign-up to meet you at a signing in Jorvik (York) once, but such as Arthur or Lancelot, I was driven to a position in France and was sadly not able to attend.

I am from Ipswich (sadly not mentioned in your series so far from what I have read as I always look for it in the place names in the Uthred books), but have family in Whitley Bay towards Bamburgh. Thus, I have had the pleasure of driving up to Bamburgh, and, if I had my way, you and I would share a pint (or a Jameson Whisky as I understand you enjoy) in a nearby pub and would talk for hours about your books and History.

Alas, as I have found love in France, which keeps me here (happily I should add) such as you ventured to America to be with Judy, so I shall just ask a couple of questions.

You mentioned on a live chat once (and in the Sharpe books) that Harper came from your friend and his son in Ireland, and you were about to mention where Finan came from when all of a sudden you were side-tracked by another question, so, I would like to know what you would have said about Finan's origins (is it from your love of Ireland etc.)?

Now that the Uhtred series is coming to an end (and he has done spectactularly well), do you think there will be some continuation or ending of the Starbuck Chronicles? (I understand it is probably an annoying question by now, so feel free to ignore it).

To finish, and if you have made it this far I applaud you because damn do I ramble-on, I just wanted to say that it was The Arthur Books that got me reading you. As many a British boy I'm sure, I am in love with the idea of being a hero, Robin Hood, or Arthur or Henry V or indeed Derfel or Thomas of Hookton. Your take on the Arthurian legend really grasped me in the way characters could hold depth in their stories, and what a story to be a part of. Of course when I read I am there, with Sharpe or with Derfel as their right-hand man.

Apologies for the essay and the bad grammar, I do hope you have the time to read it.

In the hopes I will make a reading one day, I leave you a loyal fan, looking forward to reading more and more.

Best regards,

Alex

A

Oh, Finan is certainly from my love of Ireland! I lived there long enough to be seduced by the Irish, and swore never to have an Irish villain or an Irish caricature. This was tested a bit with Sergeant Lynch in Sharpe’s Regiment, but of course the definition of an Irish villain is his passionate adherence to the British, so that was solved!

 


Q

Dear Bernard

The US Army Rifle Regiment during the War of 1812 used the Harpers Ferry Rifle (not as commonly assumed the Kentucky long Rifle) as opposed to the British using the Baker Rifle. I wonder how you felt they compared and which was the better ?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harpers_Ferry_Model_1803

Also have you ever heard of US Rifle Officer Benjamin Forsyth.?He seems a bit like Sharpe albiet without Sharpes code of ethics. Women and children were seen as fair game and unlike Sharpe he didn't mind his men stealing from innocent people. Also unlike Sharpe he got beat and then killed. Though his men were devoted to him

Regards

Geraint

P.S you said it's not the Pyrenees fighting for the next Sharpe so that leaves out Soauren, is it Burgos or St Pierre then ? . In Sharpes Siege he does say at the start he'd been fighting on the Nive so that would make sense on the other hand writing about Wellington's 1 (therefore Sharpes too) big defeat in Spain must seem tempting

 

A

I really know very little about the Harpers Ferry Rifle – but it had a long usage in US service, so we can assume it was an effective weapon. Compared to the Baker? I have no idea! Certainly the Baker was appreciated by other nations – it was exported across the world – and no-one criticised its accuracy or its very robust build. The Baker proved to be a very good weapon indeed, and I suspect the Harpers Ferry was not that far behind!

 

I have not heard of him . . . I shall try to educate myself! Thank you!

 

Wait and see!


Q

Hello I would like to ask when will the next Sharpe novel be out to read?

Thank you for your time.

Daniel

 

A

I can't say as I haven't written it yet!  But, maybe next year.....


Q

Hi Bernard,

Will War Lord be the last in the series? You were non-committal last time I asked but your answers to others suggests this will be the end. Can you shed light?

Good luck with whatever comes next.

Chris

 

Hi. I was just wondering how long you think Uhtred has left? By my reckoning he was born in about 857, and by the end of Sword of Kings Edward dies, which happened in 924, so Uhtred is 67! Surely he doesn't have many battles left in him?

Andrew Evans

A

At the moment, yes – the last. But I thought that about the ‘last’ Sharpe too. But probably.


Q

I love the last kingdom series and can’t wait to read the next book. Curious to know - will there be a 13th book and if so when will it be published? No pressure of course - I realize you need to write it!

Cheers

Stacey from Down under.

 

Hello Mr. Cornwell,

I just wanted to take a moment to say to you that the last kingdom series is one of the best I have ever read. I recently came about them after seeing and being recommended to watch the show currently on Netflix. I have always been a medieval time period fanatic. I decided to read the books first ( as always ) and wasn’t able to stop. I have read all twelve books in the matter of three weeks and, just finished the sword of kings a few days ago. I have seen on other questions and comments that you are currently writing a thirteenth! Very excited!! I was curious when might we see it released? Also when Uhtred passes, which I hope is never haha, will you continue on writing through the eyes of his son?

Thank you for your time reading this, I hope to hear from you soon!

Forever Fan,

Doug

A

The thirteenth book of The Last Kingdom series is almost done!  It is to be called War Lord and will be published in the UK on 15 October 2020 and in the US on 20 November 2020.


Q

Dear Bernard,

I am currently studying a Master's in Social and cultural history and have a research task and wondered if I could pick your brain about your research process for maintaining historical accuracy in your novels, mainly the Last kingdom series. How much and what type of research do you undertake to keep the factual elements accurate?

Terence

A

I suppose I do (or try to do) the same research that anyone would do – which is to read the sources, then the histories, and try to decide what is true – there are so many gaps and contradictions. The one big difference is that though I owe a huge debt to the real history, I can’t let it dictate the story. For a novelist the gaps and contradictions are opportunities, and I’m a story-teller, not an historian. So yes, I play merry hell with history at times, but do try to keep the background authentic, and also confess my manifold sins and wickednesses in the historical note.

 


Q

Hello Mr. Cornwell,

I have thoroughly enjoyed the Last Kingdom series. Thank you for your creativity. I likely missed it in the series, but what happened to the deaf girl Uhtred’s son had at his farm? What happened to the wife and child of Uhtred’s cousin (also Uhtred). The wife was with Osferth, and her son went back to his father, but I don’t recollect seeing what happened with them. Does Mildreth ever make a return, or is she living her days out in the nunnery?

Thanks,

Steve

A

There are loose ends, I know. Maybe I’ll clear them up? But sometimes they stay loose. I doubt we’ll see Mildreth again. The best assumption is that they lived happily ever after!

 


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

I absolutely loved The Warlord Chronicles. They have gone down as my favourite series ever. I have always loved and been obsessed with the Arthurian legends, and this was just a joy to read.

I am now writing a dissertation on the evolution of the Arthurian legends, with a large part dedicated to The Warlord Chronicles. What were your main influences regarding the decisions you made on central characters and time period?

Once again, thank you for an incredible trilogy.

Best wishes,

Will

A

I’ll try to keep this answer brief, though your very welcome comments probably deserve better. Thank you! The time period was a fairly easy decision – it had to be after the Romans left Britain and during the initial Saxon invasions, mostlly because if Arthur existed (and I’m inclined to believe he did) I suspect he was the unnamed British war-leader at the battle of Mount Badon in the early 6th Century. I think the irony of that is that Arthur, who becomes a legendary ‘English’ hero (Malory, Tennyson), was probably one of the most successful leaders who ever opposed the ‘English’. As for the other characters – well Derfel is mentioned in some of the very earliest Arthurian stories and then dropped out – I wanted to bring him back. The same is true of Ceinwyn (one of my favourite characters!). I was influenced by the early Welsh saints’ lives that make Arthur out to be a thorough villain and certainly not a Christian. I also wanted to be mischievous with Chretien de Troye’s additions to the legends – trust a Frenchman to insert adultery into a good British story! – which meant making Lancelot into a despicable character (I enjoyed that!). For a time I was determined to write the books based entirely on the very earliest sources, but that would have meant leaving out Merlin and the whole strand of magic and mysticism, and I relented – and am glad I did. I tried to make the magic  explicable, but as the books progressed that failed again and again and I let it happen. There’s an old Hollywood movie – The Legend of Liberty Valance? – in which a character says ‘when facts become legends, print the legend’, and in the end I surrendered to that advice. I suspect Arthur was a grim, savage war-leader who gained fame because he was the one man who successfully checked the Saxon takeover of what is now England, and over the years the story of his exploits became embroidered and exaggerated until the legend had entirely escaped from reality. But it’s a good legend! And somewhere at its heart is a truth. Unless archaeologists make a wonderful discovery – a lost manuscript, an inscription on a stone, whatever – we’ll never know the truth of Arthur. One chronicler said he ‘was cruel from a child’, another calls him ‘the red ravager’, but he’s still the Once and Future King because that’s what we need! And again, thank you!