Your Questions

Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell, I am a 10th grade student in Pennsylvania and I have enjoyed your Warlord Chronicles and am currently reading them again along with the Grail Quest series. But I write this email due to the fact that I love stories and history and you have a knack for combining the two. So my simple question, is it hard for you to do and how do you do it? I am currently entertaining thoughts of becoming a historian or history professor. I thank you for any advice you are willing to give and I won't sue you :) Sean Berryman

A

Is it hard to do? Well, I guess that depends who you are! And how do I do it? I don't know. There, that's really helpful! The history part is easy enough . . . either you love it or you don't, and I grew up with a love of history, and still love it, and read very little else. If you love it, then you'll spend time reading history and, probably, major in it at college. So that bit's easy! As for the story-telling? I really do not know. Some people can tell stories and others cannot, and I am not sure that story-telling (unlike history) can be taught. There is advice . . . try very hard not to be boring is good advice, but even so I still do not think that there is a set of skills that people can acquire . . either you're born a story-teller or you're not. That's what I think! Perhaps I'm wrong! But if you do want to combine story-telling and history, remember that the main story of a novel is probably a story you make up . . . and the big real-history story is pushed into the background . . . I'm a story-teller before I'm an historian. I'm not sure any of this is helpful, but for the moment immerse yourself in history and read lots of stories . . . that's the best training possible for a writer!


Q

Mr. Cornwell, First I love your Sharpe, Arthur, and Saxon books. I've been getting the Saxon series on audio download from Audible.com. Unfortunately, I cannot find an unabridged version of "Sword Song" at Audible, Audiobookstand, Amazon, or Harpers. Do you plan to release an unabridged version (or do I need to break down and buy the book)? Many Thanks!!! Ron Rolph

I have loved your Saxon books, particularly the unabridged audio versions read by Tom Sellwood. Will "Sword Song" be available in an unabridged version soon? I am disappointed that only the abridged version is available now. Diane Richards

Hello I was just wondering where/when you are going to have Sword Song, unabridged on cd available. I always listen to your books on cd because of my work and waiting for this one is killing me. I hate to get the abridged versions and ruin the whole story. I'm more than willing to buy the book but I just can't find where. I'd be especially happy if itunes would have it but I'll get it anywhere possible. I'm a huge fan of all your books I listen to them 3x over and can't wait for more.

Chad

A

Sorry, we haven't seen an unabridged version yet.


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell, what kind of Sword is Serpent-Breath ? (In German -> Schlangenhauch) in the third Book of the Saxon Stories, Uhtred brings his Sword to an Armorer to repair the wooden Grip which is compounded with two pieces of wood ... in the knob the armorer has to put in Hild´s Cross ... would you give me an example or a link, where I can see a similar sword ? also interesting for me is Uhtreds Dagger "Wespenstachel" (sorry, I only know the German word) ... I am looking forward to the German Version of Sword Song ... Best Regards Martin Nolte (Deutschland)

A

Not sure I can supply a reference . . . I used a dozen sources . . . but essentially the sword is pattern-welded, out of 5 or 7 separate strips of iron (of differing carbon content) with the longest forming the tang (to which the handle is attached) as well as the central spine of the blade . . . you must have some really excellent books on the history of the sword in German and I suggest you consult one!


Q

Dear Sir, I am so fond of your Saxon Stories book, I just finished reading the Sword Song and I am just wondering when will the next book be coming up? Thank you and I really do like your stories. best regards, Taufik

I have just completed reading SWORD SONG and am eager to know when and if we will be able to read more of Uhtred. I love this series and thank you for writing it!
Rick McDougall

A

I have not yet started on the next book of the Saxon stories so can't say when it might be published. Not until 2009 I suspect.


Q

Mr. Cornwell, In short, I'm a fan. I started with the Grail series and have read most everything else since. I just read "Growing up Peculiar" and felt compelled to comment. I was raised a Fundamentalist Christian (Church of Christ in Tennessee), but have slowly made my own Conversion to atheism. I was struck by your comment that you are H-A-P-P-Y as an atheist. I've considered myself agnostic for years now, post Cheerleader-for-Jesus days, but after reading Dawkins' _The God Delusion_ I rethought my position. A metaphoric weight fell away, much like it sounds it did with you. My family is less than thrilled, but oh, well. Anyway, I most appreciate the fact that you don't let historical Christians, especially priests, off the hook for their hypocrisies and evils. In a world in which _Left Behind_ is in print, let alone bestselling, you are a welcome relief. My (still fundamentalist brother) has read the first of the Saxon novels (I just started _Sword Song_) and doesn't know what to think. He considers Alfred the Great to be a personal hero, for reasons he has not explained but I can easily infer, and cannot decide if you like Alfred or not. I argued that Uhtred doesn't like him, but you objectively respect him. I'm interested, of course, in your thoughts. Thank you for your time and attention, and especially your stories. Sincerely, Neal Byles

A

I have a vast respect for Alfred . . . . I'm just not sure I like him very much! That's nothing to do with his Christianity, though he was, of course, a very pious man. He had little choice in that; in 9th Century Wessex Christianity was really the only product on offer (he would hardly have adopted the Northmens' religion) and in a pre-technological age, when sensible explanations for the causes of things was not possible, religion is really the only refuge. If he'd been born in Turkey he would have been Mohammedan - I'm always amazed that more people don't realise that the god they worship is 95% determined by their birthplace. A fundamentalist Christian born in Tennessee would be a fundamentalist Muslim if born in Tehran! And vice-versa. But what is admirable about Alfred is his clear-thinking, his organisational skills and his pre dedication to his people. He was, essentially, a man who struggled to be a good person and, in large part, succeeded.


Q

Thank you for making the 'Dark Ages' come to light. As a teacher I can wholeheartedly recommend the Arthur and Uhtred books to my pupils for a sense of place and period. The books have kept me hooked; any chance of some films as well? Richard Kerridge

A

I guess there's always a chance...but no plans for it at the moment.


Q

You mention in the Saxon Stories that Uhtred is a fictional character but based on a "paternal relative." Could you explain how you discovered this relationship? Also, when you speak of the historical "chronicles," are you talking just of the Saxon Chronicles, or are there others? If so, can you name a few? Thanks, Ed Olson

A

I found out about my family history when I found my family, which only happened five years ago, and it turned out that one member is a keen genealogist and had drawn up a family tree going back to Ida the Flamebearer - and before him to Woden.

Do I speak of them? I guess it depends on the context. It's a fairly loose term . . . .


Q

I think you should write a book about the First World War! Azzer

A

I fear I have no taste at all for writing about WWI or II. Don't know why. Just not there, so I suspect your suggestion will have to be done by somneone else!


Q

Many thanks for the Sharpe series which finally (and sadly) finished last week. I found Cochrane to be a very enjoyable character, did he ever meet or serve with Nelson? Also are there any good books devoted to him?

Quick cheeky question here, if you were someone else would Bernard Cornwell be your favourite author? Sword Song and all the Saxon tales are brilliant and I can't wait till Azincourt. Many thanks James Trethowan

A

There's a new biography - can't recall the author off the top of my head, but put Cochrane into Google and you'll find it! I don't think he did serve with Nelson, but I can't swear to that.

Oh wow! That is a good question. I hope so!!


Q

Mr Cornewell, I gave my copy of "Redcoat" to a friend who is know desparate to know what happens to the main characters. Please let us know if you have any plans for another novel on those characters. Thanks! Josh Bagley

A

No, no plans for a sequel to Redcoat.