Your Questions

Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

I am an avid reader of your books and greatly admire the rich and intricate way in which you recreate some of the world's most fascinating military history. I've recently developed an interest in the Crimean War and have so far been unable to find any books other than cold and stuffy historical accounts of the event. It strikes me as a wonderful subject for you to touch your magic on. Would you consider writing a novel or two set then?

Thanks again,

Adam

A

I have thought about it....but It's unlikely.....


Q

Hi Bernard,

I came across a bit of legal dilemma set in late Georgian Period - and the last days of Bow Street Runners - regarding the heir or heiress of a wealthy aristocrat who suddenly decides to marry outside their social rank, and against his/her parents wishes. Were there legal grounds for the absconding lovers to be brought to heel? Could the Provost have jurisdiction in such a case, or would it have been resolved 'another way'? It's another matter if the runaway in question injured or stolen from somebody during their escapade, and the victim wished to press charges. But did the aristocracy have greater powers other than political influence?

Robert Douglas

A

I have no idea!  Wickham got away with absconding with one of the Bennet daughters. I suspect if they reached Gretna Green then the parents were helpless?  I suspect there was no law to kidnap an adult just because they were eloping with an unsatisfactory lover. A pistol might work though?

 

 


Q

Hello Mr. Cornwell,

I've been a fan since I read the Sharpe books years ago. My mother kept recommending the Saxon Stories, and my wife and I began reading them when they announced the show a few years ago, and devoured them in no time, and began hunting down your other books like the Warlord Chronicles. (I read your Waterloo without realizing you were the same author around the same time.) I just finished War of the Wolf and found it to be a highpoint, and can't wait to see what comes next. My question regards if you've considered non-television adaptations of your work.While I greatly enjoyed both the Sharpe and Last Kingdom series I do feel like one of the key elements of your work, the way you show characters aging, developing, and learning over the course of the years is limited by the age of the actors (as these shows are filmed over a much shorter duration than the time progression in your books.) As a lifelong comic book fan, while reading your ongoing series I've always felt that your series, with long ongoing plot and character arcs, along with the near serialized regularity with which you release books, lend themselves to the format. Now I realize comics are a very 'low art', and wouldn't bring in the interest of a TV series, but I have to ask if you've ever considered having your stories adapted into that medium, or any other non-television medium? In any case, thank you for so many great stories, and I can't wait to see what's next in store.

Marcus Siniari

A

It’s never been proposed, so I’ve never had to make that choice. In theory I’m quite happy for a graphic adaptation, but I guess it would depend on the artist?

 


Q

Is Uhtred handsome or ugly? It is ambiguous because Uhtred’s narrator. Though there are many instances where characters signal that Uhtred is ugly. For example, Mildrith wept at the first sight of Uhtred. We know Uhtred has a broken nose and a blunt, scarred face, but that doesn’t mean he is ugly. Also a whore said she would not marry Uhtred the younger because he looks too much like his father. However, there are signs in the novel that Uhtred is handsome. Gisela said she was stricken by Uhtred at first sight. Also, we know Uhtred is tall and formidable in his appearance. In all the novels written in the third person, the main characters such as Thomas, Sharpe, and Starbucks are all described as tall and handsome. Only in the first person novels like the Warlord Chronicles is it left ambigous.

Peter Ho

A

He doesn’t know, nor do I. He doesn’t have a mirror. Women find him devastatingly attractive . . . . and women, as we know, are always right.

 

 


Q

Hi Bernard,

Finished War of the Wolf and enjoyed it very much. My question is regarding Uhtred's age and his capabilities, you responded to another question responding his capabilities that you didn't want the reader to notice him losing his capabilities. I was just wondering how strongly you believe this because as much as I love reading about Uhtred being involved in duels (and as much as he loves a scrap) there must be a cut off point where he can no longer be involved? Have you thought about if you might have to phase him out of combat before this greybeards luck runs out?

James

A

I never stop thinking about it . . . . but how I’ll deal with it? I’ll find out as I write the books!  He’s doing okay in the new one.

 


Q

Mr. Cornwell,

I just finished War of the Wolf. I am slightly confused at the timeline. I know Edward the Elder historically dies in 924. And you mention he fell from his horse toward the end of the book and is assumed to be on his death bed. Am I correct in assuming the book is set in 924?

You also mentioned the Saxon Stories will continue through Brunanburh. I can also assume Uhtred will live until then? Or are you going to continue with another character? Regardless, I am excited to see how it all ends.

Thanks.

Andrew Bennett

A

Edward doesn’t die in that book – so no. Try 923!

I plan to end with Brunanburh, though God knows the poor man will be ancient by then. He’ll have to cope somehow.

 


Q

Dear Bernard Cornwell,

I hope my message finds you well.

I would like to start this message to you by thanking you for the Uhtred series, it has got my brother and I through some very bad times and it truly is a work of art as history and fiction. Finan is now my favourite fictional character ever! That says a lot as I am a keen reader.

I know when a book gets made into a film the author usually has a big part to play and I know you are active within the works of the Last Kingdom series which is fantastic by the way. I know to make it work things need to be changed slightly or left out but I was left rather disappointed by the treatment Alfred received from Uhtred S3 E2, i wondered what your thoughts were on this?

I apologise if I speak out of line or you do not wish to comment

Kind Regards

Bob

A

My thoughts were to sit back and enjoy the series!  And I did. Yes, they changed things, but they have constraints (time and budget) that I don’t have and I truly think the compromises they made were terrific. Would I have written a scene like that? Probably not, but it worked for me.


Q

Hopeful plot twist -

Please kill off king Alfred’s Wife.

Jay

A

She retires to a nunnery after his death – will that do?


Q

Hello Mister Cornwell

I have a general question about napoloenic warfare.

Its about infantry  melee attacks with bayonet an swords.

Duke Eugen of Württemberg (1788–1857) once said:

In  99 of  100  cases, the bayonet is gonna be more of a decoration then a weapon, and that most infantry units would retreat instead of facing the attack.

You describe in your Sharpe-Books a lot of melee fight. I would like to know how common were they on a battle during that time?

Thank you and best regards

Stefano

A

I suspect the Duke is right!  But persuading an enemy to retreat is an achievement – and the bayonet was very effective at that. Off the top of my head I can’t say how common it was, but it was undoubtedly effective when men did get to close quarters. The best example is Picton’s repulse of d’Erlon’s Corps at Waterloo when the bayonet was used at close quarters, though the final repulse, of course, was the attack of the Heavy Cavalry. Facing a bayonet was terrifying . . . and terrifying the enemy is a useful thing in battle. It was certainly no decoration – think of it as a psychological weapon. And, of course, when infantry was in square the bayonet was absolutely essential.


Q

Hello, Mr Cornwell,

Very big fan of the Saxon Stories starring Uhtred of Bebbanburg. I just had a couple of questions to ask concerning the books that I hoped you might be able to answer.

Firstly I'm curious as to what happened to Alfred's nephew, Ethelhelm, who was the brother of Ethelwold. Is there a sentence I must have missed saying he died or became a priest, because history records he was alive at the time of Alfred's will in the 880s. I can see why Ethelwold is the more major character though, since his life is better attested.

I'd also like to ask would there be any exploration of the Gaels and Finan in later books. As a descendant of the Uí Néill (like 99% of Ireland's population) I suppose that makes me a relative of Finan's, fictional though he may be, and was wondering would we have further exploration of his clan in the future.

Hope you keep up the good work.

Seán

A

I don’t know is the simple answer – but, unlike Aethelwold, he didn’t make trouble so rather faded away.

Wouldn’t that be nice!  I fear probably not. I think that book or books would be better written by someone Irish.