Your Questions

Q

Hi Bernard,

I recently came to see you give your talk at York! I absolutely loved it, meeting you was great! You mentioned in your talk that you're currently writing another book at the minute, is this the next  Uhtred book? I adore Uhtred, I just wish he was real haha. I'm pleased that you have around another 4 Uhtred books in mind.

Zoe Edwards

A

It’s not!  I’ll probably write that next year.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

my biggest praises to your works.

While reading the Saxon stories, I often felt like the vocabulary you used was predominantly Germanic, or at least much more than in "day-to-day" English or in the Sharpe books. My question: Am I mistaken, did you do that on purpose or is this an amazing linguistic coincidence?

Also, I have read that there is a theory that the English language is actually a creole derived from Old English, Old Norse and later Norman French. Do you have an opinion on that theory?

Best regards

Paul

A

I’m flattered you should think so – it isn’t really deliberate, though I do try to prefer words that are Germanic – though it isn’t always possible!  Is English a Creole language? Only in the sense that every language is, except possible the original Indo-Germanic tongue. And at what point does a creole language become non-creole?

 


Q

Dear Bernard,

Thanks for your books, which have entertained and educated me enormously. I've never been on this site and I'm very impressed - how do you possibly find time to write all the replies to questions?

I'm going to sound like a smartarse, but Uhtred could not have ridden through a wood of oaks and sycamores because sycamores were not in Britain then.

All the best,

Pete

A

You’re absolutely right about the American sycamore ( a plane tree), which makes it puzzling that the word occurs in the 14th Century. A mystery! I have no answer.

 


Q

A new twist on an old classic question from a massive fan of all your books but for whom, tragically, the Starbuck series is my favourite.

Quite often in response to questions relating to books you wrote some time ago, you say (perfectly reasonably) that you cant remember things you have written previously.

Is this one of the reasons you haven't revisited the Starbuck books?

Michael Watson

A

Not really. I just haven’t found the time to go back to them!

 


Q

Sharpe's Father -

“ take you out, put me in and a horse appears in this happy person “

Mr Cornwell,

I love Sharpe and things Napoleonic.

Thank you for your work and many hours of reading pleasure.

Your riddle has perplexed me for some time , but now, like a fusilier with bayonet firmly affixed, I am ready to join the ranks of other brave Cornwellians and finally have a figurative “ stab “ at this infernal conundrum.

Like the stronghold at Badajoz, this devilish clue needs breaking-down :

take you = “ con “ ( as in “ swindle “ ) a horse appears in this = “ stable “ naturally !

combined you get “ constable “

happy person = the laughing policemen ( a constable ! ) Incidentally, this famous music hall song was written by none other than Charles Jolly ! )

I cannot prove that the impressionist John Constable made a habit of spending his hard earned cash on the Piccadilly Commandoes of 18th Century London, and in particular Sharpe’s mother, but who can say he did not ?

And crucially, in Regency Britain, Suffolk to the capital was not an arduous journey on a steam train, even if one  you had to change in Colchester.

Do I win Sharpe’s gold ?

Jonas

A

Sharpe’s gold (when was that offered?) is still safe!


Q

Dear Bernard,

having read almost all your books has made me an addict and I can't wait for the next book to be published. So at first: Thank you for your books!

Before you read on: YES, I have read and understood your guidelines and I herewith give up any right in any Idea or right I could possibly have.

After reading the Uhtred series I got interested in the questions of when and why the Saxons and Angles left their home in the north of Germany (since I live near to that area) and started the settlement / conquer of Britain. While reading about this I stumbled about Horsa and Hengist as Saxon tribal Leaders and the Finnburh fragment. That time lies rather nebulous with not many historic facts to be known. That on the other hand can give freedom to an author to develop a story. I thought, this could offer a good frame for a prequel of the Uhtred series.

I will not continue in order to not further interfere with your guidelines.

To make my point clear: I do not plan to sue you. I just want some new compelling stuff to read.

I would be glad, when you give a thought to the idea.

Yours sincerely,

Markus Hudalla

A

I always think of the three Arthur books as the prequel – probably the only one I’ll write! But thank you for the suggestion.


Q

Dear Mr.  Bernard Cornwell

The trouble with your books is, they are impossible to put down!  I've just read "The Flame Bearer" .....However it appears from the Epilogue that, that is not the end of the saga.  Or am I jumping to conclusions?

But, isn't it about time the American Civil War drew to a close?  It didn't take anywhere near as long as it took Alfred and his children to unite all the Saxon speaking peoples of this island under one Christian king.

Phil White

 

well just finished reading Flame Bearer ....I think there was hints of further quests for Uhtred and his family { hopefully] .love all your books keep writing and please find time to include Thomas Hookton in your thoughts

thanks

Paul

 

I have just finished reading The Flame Bearer - magical story telling and writing, thank you!  I feel somewhat bereft now, however, I notice that in your note at the back you hint that Uhtred's story may not yet be finished. Can I hope that this is not the last we will read of Uhtred?

Ann

 

Hi,

I have devoured the Flame Bearer in a day and as always I'm left breathless with admiration, it doesn't get any better than that this whole series has been amazingly great.

Two questions

Is this the end for Uhtred?

I have read that you enjoy the Shardlake series of novels, as do I, any plans for a bit of crime in your future?

Mike Davidson

 

A

Uhtred's story is not finished....


Q

Hello Mr. Cornwell,

I first discovered your work with "The Archer's Tale" and have recently read "The Last Kingdom."  They are both on my short list of best historical fiction I have ever read! Recently though the briefly mentioned sceadugenga in "The Last Kingdom" has captured my interest. I did a little research and found the brief mention in Beowulf, but couldn't find any other sources for them. Outside of a few wiki pages that cite nothing, I couldn't find any reliable ties to Anglo-Saxon mythology outside of Beowulf. I've been meaning to look into more Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, and Germanic mythology anyway, so if you could point me to some more sources on the Sceadugenga in mythology, or just some good sources on what the ancient Britons thought dwelt in the woods and went bump in the night, that would be great. I was very impressed with your ability to weave the mythology of people groups into representing their cultures in a rich way, so I hope you might have some good sources for a look into old European mythology and stories.

Thanks!

Jonathan

A

I’m fairly sure I found the ‘shadow-walker’ in Beowulf too! And that’s a pretty good source. I don’t know of any other offhand . . . though it was so long ago that I don’t remember exactly where I found it, though I do remember that my old Anglo-Saxon tutor from college days reproved me for getting the tense wrong. As for European mythology, where do you start? There is so much, and so much under the radar, and how far do you go back? The Celtic World, edited by Miranda Green, is useful, but that may be too far back. The sagas, obviously. Much of the magic and superstition lingered far longer than we suppose, which makes a book like Religion and the Decline of Magic by Keith Thomas so useful, but most of the material comes from forty years of reading and jotting notes into a book – literally hundreds of books.


Q

Sir,

I am a great fan of yours. I have read nearly all of your series. I wish that you should write a book series on 3rd crusade. History has always fascinated me. I started to read your books from 5th class. So far i have not found a book on 3rd crusade of that standard.

Muhammad Ibrahim

A

Sorry, but I have no plans to write about the Crusades.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

Firstly, please let me thank you for countless hours of enjoyment that I, and many other avid readers of your books, have spent imagining and reliving the battles and lives of your characters.

May I please ask if you have any regrets in killing off a character, either generally or to suit a specific storyline? I have read previously that you had some regrets in killing off Obadiah Hakeswill (My personal favourite villain amongst all of your publications) and was wondering if there were any others?

George Hammond.

A

Obadiah is the only one . . . except for a slew of wonderful women in the later Sharpe stories (Lady Grace!) who, because they weren’t mentioned in the earlier books had to be disposed of. Mind you, I’ve always suspected Obadiah had a twin brother, Jedediah . . . .