Your Questions

Q

Did I catch a mistake in War Lord?

Hello Mr. Cornwell,

I do not mean to nitpick and I could be mistaken however if I am not wrong then I believe you used a character in Warlord that had actually died in Sword of Kings! Folcbald was said to have been killed in the fight and the Crepelgate in London but yet he is mentioned at the Battle of Brunanburh as fighting alongside Uhtred and his men! This is the only mention of him in the book and he has no dialogue. I hope I am not inconsiderate in saying that I hope I caught a slip as that would be rather exciting for me and rather insignificant for you and your team.

 

Your books are my favorite,

 

William Moore

A

Thank you for that! It’s perfectly possible that I made that mistake – I do tend to lose track of some characters, but I hope it didn’t spoil your enjoyment of the book!

 

 


Q

Dear Bernard

After listening to your interview with Dan Snow on his Podcast. You mentioned you might go back to the Medieval period. I wondered if you were thinking of Edward the 1sts Campaigns. I know one Military History Encyclopedia I read where they said that His Evesham Campaign was possibly the most brilliant Military Campaign on English Soil. I wondered if you agreed with that and were tempted to have a go so to speak.

Regards Geraint

P.S Please please reconsider what you say about not doing anymore on the American Revolution.  If only because you'd be the perfect writer for Guildford Courthouse. It was such a close fight between 2 of the most famous Commanders.  Also I would like to know what happened to Sam Gilpin and Co. I must confess after reading Redcoat I did want him to end up with Martha rather than Caroline

A

It’s on the radar, but beyond that? It’s simply a possibility, but the Evesham campaign does sound very tempting!  Thank you!

I suspect Sam survived very happily, though with what woman? I’m not sure I will go back to the Revolution, but I have learned never to say never. So maybe?

 


Q

Hi,

thank you for War Lord and an excellent conclusion to the Last Kingdom series.  I shall miss Uthred.

I was just wondering whether any particular location inspired your setting of the Devil's Valley?  From the map it looks very close to my home town of Barnard Castle.  It's not particularly high in the Pennines but some of the description seems to fit.  The site of the Norman Castle sits on a crag, overlooking the Tees, where there was a Roman ford.  There is a Roman road that leads across the ford to the south west, joining the main east west Roman road across the Pennines (the A66) four miles away at the village of Bowes, which is of Roman origin itself and so would have probably have been inhabited in Saxon times.  There was a small (now infilled) valley beneath the crag but sadly no burial cairns.  Could this have been the location you had in mind or is it just wishful thinking by me?

Angus Wheeler

 

A

You’re spot on – that was exactly the location I had in mind. Sadly the wretched pandemic stopped me making a trip to Barnard Castle to find the best spot, so I worked off Ordnance Survey maps instead. And the burial cairns were pure fiction.


Q

Hello,

I've read the Uhtred series up to volume 11. One day I would be interested in the basis on which Uhtred's statements about Christianity are based. Do you have the roots in your artistic freedom, or do you have historical sources here.

MfG Bernd Klingelhöfer

A

He made so many statements! I’m sure most of them came from me, so call it artistic license if you want to be kind.

 


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell,

 

I am in the process of reading the Last Kingdom Series, currently in the fifth book and enjoying it tremendously!  I would love to ask one question: Do you know whether Alfred the Great was truly the stuffy, pious, sickly, and irritating character portrayed in the books, or was he portrayed that way for the entertainment value?

 

Whatever the truth, I am not knocking your writing whatever.  I've learned much about the history of the areas where my people came from, and the books have been tremendously enjoyable.

 

If you ever make it to Las Vegas, I would love to buy you lunch or dinner.

 

Thanks,

Gary

A

We do know!  Bishop Asser wrote a life of Alfred and describes his poor health (maybe Crohn’s disease), and his piety is well attested. Stuffy? I’m not sure. As for irritating, well Uhtred found him irritating, but I’m sure Alfred would have found Uhtred incredibly irritating!

 


Q

Dear Bernard

I thought this photograph of John Smoke Johnson, John Tutela and Young Warner. All War of 1812 veterans from the Six Nations might be of interest to you and other readers on here. Do you think Fredrickson would've liked them?

https://www.wikitree.com/photo/jpg/War_of_1812_Resource_page-4

Geraint

A

I suspect Sharpe would have enlisted all three. It’s a great picture, thank you!!!

 


Q

Hello Bernard,

I hope you are keeping well.

I was wondering if anyone has asked you this question before, but with regards to Sharpe and the Archer books being third person, and with the Arthur and Last Kingdom books being first person, do you have a particular preference in terms of you being able to immerse yourself in the story? Does one just edge out the other in terms of your enjoyment when writing?

Thanks

Conor

 

A

It's swings and roundabouts. You do lose something by writing in the first person- not just the suspense of whether the main character will survive (which he or she usually does even in third person narratives), but also the alternative points of view that can increase suspense - i.e. you can watch an ambush being laid, then watch your hero walking into it. On the other hand there's an immediacy to the first person which can increase excitement and pace. I don't think one is any better than the other - and though most of my books are third person I enjoy doing the first.


Q

Dear Bernard (if I may)

As a novelist myself, I'm amazed at the range and quality of your output. I'm lucky if can manage 800 words a day! The ending of War Lord was elegaic and feels right. But am I wrong that earlier in the series, he's retired to a monastery? And that was a framing device? I suppose as a reader, we don't need to be spoonfed, but I was genuinely curious.

David Docherty

Ps. I loved the Sharpe novels as well...

 

A

I have a feeling you’re confusing Uhtred with Derfel, the hero of the three Arthurian books who does end his days in a monastery.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

I heard you talk this morning on Saturday Live about your copy of Seamus Heaney's 'Selections from Shakespeare'. I was intrigued enough to try and buy a copy of this for myself, but have been unable to find it anywhere. Does it have another title, please?

Many thanks,

Robert Wilson

A

Not that I know of, and the odd thing is that I can’t trace the book either. Yet it’s firmly engraved in my memory – I can even see the title in my mind’s eye. It’s a mystery!


Q

Just finished Warlord. Sad that the story of Uhtred and England is complete. Thanks for the last 15 years. Wyrd bið ful āræd.

Did Uhtred's line survive until 1066?

James Barrett

 

A

And it still survives. The family owned Bebbenburg until 1016 when it was taken from them by treachery – the story is told in Richard Fletcher’s book Bloodfeud; Murder and Revenge in Anglo Saxon England, and after that the family moved to Yorkshire, where they are still prominent. My branch emigrated to Canada in the 19th Century and thrive in British Columbia.