Dear Mr Cornwell,
I hope you are well. I am writing simply to thank you for books and to tell you what pleasure I have drawn from reading them. I was given The Winter King as a christmas present from my sister (she always finds the best books for me) and - having never read any historical fiction before - was admittedly sceptical about the series.
Needless to say I was blown away by the Warlord Chronicles and moved straight onto The Last Kingdom. Again I was slightly sceptical as I had little previous interest in this period, preferring the imagery of gallant knights and fair maidens associated with sword-and-sorcery style fantasy.
Again, my expectations were blown away and I have now read all of the available books in this series. I have fallen in love with the history of the period, particularly aspects of Anglo-Saxon paganism (glimpsed more so in the Warlord Chronicles) and the early Christianity of England.
I greatly enjoy your historical notes, they serve as a great disclaimer for which parts of the novel are real and which are embellished or completely made up. I agree with one of the points you made that the story of England's making is unfortunately under-taught in schools and as such the general populace has very little knowledge of it. My own relatively recent school experiences (I'm 24) stand testament to this; we spent whole terms learning in great detail (little of which I remember) about the Cadbury family and the beginnings of World War I, but never did we look at wider historical topics such as the migrations and wars that sculpted Britain, the ways that we have changed since or even the royal houses and their periods. I do not suggest that the topics we studied were not important and we learnt skills in recognising historical contexts and historical analysis along the way, but I do think it a shame that we seem to forget our nation's beginnings.
I raise a smile everytime a place I know is mentioned in your books. As a resident of a small village in Staffordshire, I was happy to hear mentions of Lichfield and the events in Tamworth, and was giddy with excitement at the cameo of Penkridge, which lies a few miles from my home and was where I went to school.
This may seem a strange e-mail but I just finished The Empty Throne and felt an overwhelming urge to get in touch with you and let you know how much I have enjoyed your books and the passion that they have ignited in me. As I said before, I hope you are well and I greatly anticipate reading more of your work in the future!