Your Questions

Q

Hi Bernard,

First I would just like to thank you for creating such vivid worlds and inspiring me to have a go at creative writing myself. I just have a couple of questions if you have the time.

In the Last Kingdom Uhtred talks about being a Sceadugengan, a shadow-walker. Is this an invention of yours, or did people of the day believe in such creepy entities lurking in the shadows?

I am currently researching for a Viking inspired fantasy novel, but find that most books on the Vikings are generic and don't have anything special about them. Are there any particular books you have read when researching the Saxon Stories to get the creative juices flowing that you would recommend?

 

Thank you, and all the best,

Stuart

A

They did, and I didn’t make it up (though an Anglo-Saxon scholar chided me for getting the tense wrong)

Here is a link directly to the webpage 'Suggestions for Further Reading' for the Warrior Chronicles:  http://www.bernardcornwell.net/readingclub/?series=the-saxon-stories

 


Q

Dear Sir

I am currently re-listening to Sharpe's Gold.  Everytime from the first time I purchased the paperback, to listening to the fantastic William Gaminara read it to me on Audio-Book, the genius of your writing inspires me to get extremely annoyed at Major Kearsey.  Major Kearsey is adamant that Britain has let Spain down, and what frustrates me is he's conveniently ignoring facts like broken promises made to Britain/Wellington by Spain.

I actually admire Sharpe's restraint in this book, because I think there must have been occasions where he'd have liked to give him a little slap?  Particularly when Kearsey was being patronising or condescending.

He was an honest man, which i know is supposed to be admired, but I cannot bring myself to either pity or like the man.  What did you think of Kearsey?

Also, Harper aside, whom have your 3 favourite friends of Sharpe been?  Mine are Sweet William, Hogan and Jorge Vicente.

Lee

A

Oh, you’ll hate me, I’ve forgotten him. I wrote that book over thirty years ago!

Lady Grace, the Contessa and Lucille!


Q

Hi Bernard,

It's very interesting about the grenadier regiments. I understand they began as 'ad hoc' assault units within line regiments, handpicked for their strength and elitism. As years passed, they became regiments in their own right, finally attaining ostentatious titles such as 'grenadier guards' or 'marine grenadiers'; cream of the cream in military hierarchy. Foot Grenadiers of the Old Guard (have I translated that correctly?) are perhaps the most famous unit in Napoleon's army with their distinctive bearskin helmets. However, I'm curious if the early French grenadier regiment - similar to the Fusiliers wearing shakoes but with red poms attached and wearing white trousers without the black or white spats - was abolished at some point, or did it continue beyond establishment of Napoleon's Old Guard? And was Napoleon's Old Guard established around 1800? The game Napoleon Total War features such a grenadier regiment descended from the regular (Fusilier) regiments.

Robert Douglas

A

I’m not sure about the fate of the early French grenadier regiments . . . .sorry. You’re right, I think, about their establishment as ‘assault’ units; they were ‘heavy’ infantry as against the light. The irony, of course, is that the British 1st Foot Guards were awarded the name ‘Grenadier Guards’ for their supposed defeat of the Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard at Waterloo, when in fact they defeated the Chasseur regiment of the Imperial Guard. Too late to make the correction!

 


Q

Hello Mr Cornwell,

I am a huge fan of your books (particularly Uhtred's stories) and I was wondering how you organise your great battle scenes. I know a lot of the battles are written in the Anglo Saxon chronicle etc. but I would imagine that they are not written in much detail and therefore you have to theorise and "work out" how they would have played out based on the terrain and tactics of the day. I was wondering if there are any useful books that explain strategy with regards to warfare of this era (I have tried searching on amazon but with little success). I would love to know how decisions are made how to deploy particular men to particular positions and how the army is organised etc. Sorry for wasting your time with questions like this, I am on tenterhooks waiting for the next Uhtred story and hope there are many (many) more to come as they are my favourite series of all time! Wishing you all the best.

Nicolaas Nicholson

A

I’m afraid it’s all done in my head and, of course, from walking the battlefields where that’s possible. Alfred, Warrior King by John Peddie is a useful book written by a soldier who knows his tactics, but even that contains a deal of speculation. The Chronicle can be infuriating, of course, because it is so bland, but in some ways that’s an opportunity for me.

 


Q

Looking forward to the BBC2 drama that is coming soon.Its about time your work was made into TV.Any idea when it will be? With reference to Burning Land; which Farnham did the Battle take place,it doesn't appear to be Surrey,what was your source?

Sue Morrison

A

All we know right now is some time later this year.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. It is Surrey.

 


Q

We met at Charleston Burns Dinner-Great speech. Just finished The Empty Throne and was confused. On p216 they came ashore-"we had no shields, no swords....". On p228 his son draws his Ravens Beak and on p231 he draws Serpent Breath, yet there is no indication that their ship ever returned to them for them to obtain  their swords. Thanks.

Have read the majority of your books and find them to be superb, interesting and refreshing.

Ralph Comp

A

Not everything has to be explicit! Part of the art of storytelling is know what to leave out, though perhaps I under-egged that pudding, sorry.

 


Q

Thank you in advance for your time. When will the last kingdom air on the BBC. I can not find it anywhere.

Bucky Smith

 

Bernard, where does this BBC filming leave us with next novel, I know I'm being impatient but I need my next fix....Have Beeb given any indication as to when they hope to broadcast?

Mark Skelton

 

Mr Cornwell,

 

I am a huge fan of your Saxon Tales Books and have just finished the 8th book when I heard that BBC America is turning the story of Uhtred into a TV show when will it air?

Thank again for a great and awesome series

Terry

A

Don't know for sure - sometime in Oct, Nov or Dec of this year is all we've heard.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

I just wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed reading many of your novels, especially those relating to Sir Thomas Hookton.  I get so drawn into the story lines and  I cannot put them down! I have begun reading the Warrior Chronicles and I am enjoying these just as much.

My question is: Please, please, would you consider adding to the Thomas Hookton book collection? I am sure that there are many who would share my desire to read more about the adventures of him and his band of Archers!

With best wishes,

Rachelle

 

Mr. Cornwell,

When is your next Thomas Hookton book coming out?

Mary

A

I’ll consider it, but whether it will happen? I don’t know. I have other books I want to write first, but I won’t dismiss the idea altogether!

 


Q

Hi Bernard,

 

I am reading the Empty Throne and was wondering why you changed the tense from the prologue to Chapter 1, between Uthred and his father?  It has made it a bit confusing

 

Ardent Fan

Leigh

A

In order to confuse you, and to make some readers think that Uhtred senior was dead.

 


Q

Amazon have recently "recommended" a book of yours due to be published in September 2016. They do not give a title and merely state that the book is "Untitled Battle Book 2". Which leads me to believe that you will be writing a non-fiction  book about the Battle of Passchendaele,

Is this true?

Michael Allen

A

I have no idea where they got that from, sometimes they seem to make things up out of thin air! Passchendaele? Lord, no! I have no idea what book I’ll write next winter (which will be the one published in the autumn of 2016) but I can guarantee it won’t be about the First World War!