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Bernard Cornwell - Author

About the Author

Born in Essex in 1944 Bernard Cornwell was adopted at the age of six weeks by two members of a strict fundamentalist sect called the Peculiar People. He grew up in a household that forbade alcohol, cigarettes, dances, television, conventional medicine and toy guns. Not surprisingly, he developed a fascination for military adventure. As a teenager he devoured CS Forester’s Hornblower novels and tried to enlist three times. Poor eyesight put paid to his dream, instead he went to university to read theology. On graduating, he became a teacher, then joined BBC’s Nationwide, working his way up the ladder to become head of current affairs at BBC Northern Ireland, then editor of Thames News. In 1979, his life changed when he fell in love with an American.

"Judy couldn’t live here, so I gave up my job and moved to the US. I couldn’t get a green card, and for 18 months the only thing I could do was write novels." The result was his first book about 19th century hero, Richard Sharpe, Sharpe’s Eagle.

In addition to the hugely successful Sharpe novels, Bernard Cornwell is the author of the Starbuck Chronicles, the Warlord trilogy, the Grail Quest series, the Alfred series and standalone battle books Azincourt and The Fort.

Bernard Cornwell owns houses in Cape Cod and Florida and two boats. Every year he takes two months off from his writing and spends most of his time on his 24 foot Cornish crabber, Royalist.

Featured books by Bernard Cornwell

Fools and Mortals

Fools and Mortals

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/04/2018

`With all the vivid history that is his trademark, Bernard Cornwell transports the readers to the playhouses, backstreets and palaces of Shakespeare's London with added depth and compassion' Philippa Gregory In the heart of Elizabethan England, young Richard Shakespeare dreams of a glittering career in the London playhouses, dominated by his older brother, William. But as a penniless actor with a silver tongue, Richard's onetime gratitude begins to sour, as does his family loyalty. So it is that Richard falls under suspicion when a priceless manuscript goes missing, forcing him into a high-stakes game of duplicity and betrayal, and through the darkest alleyways of the city. In this richly portrayed tour de force, Fools and Mortals takes you among the streets and palaces, scandals and rivalries, and lets you stand side-by-side with the men and women of Bernard Cornwell's masterful Elizabethan London.

ebook of the month
The Flame Bearer

The Flame Bearer

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/04/2017

From the day it was stolen from me I had dreamed of recapturing Bebbanburg. The great fort was built on a rock that was almost an island, it was massive, it could only be approached on land by a single narrow track - and it was mine. Britain is in a state of uneasy peace. Northumbria's Viking ruler, Sigtryggr, and Mercia's Saxon Queen Aethelflaed have agreed a truce. And so England's greatest warrior, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, at last has the chance to take back the home his traitorous uncle stole from him so many years ago - and which his scheming cousin still occupies. But fate is inexorable and the enemies Uhtred has made and the oaths he has sworn combine to distract him from his dream of recapturing Bebbanburg. New enemies enter into the fight for England's kingdoms: the redoubtable Constantin of Scotland seizes an opportunity for conquest and leads his armies south.

ebook of the month
Waterloo The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles

Waterloo The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/05/2015

'Some battles change nothing. Waterloo changed almost everything.' On the 18th June, 1815 the armies of France, Britain and Prussia descended upon a quiet valley south of Brussels. In the previous three days the French army had beaten the British at Quatre-Bras and the Prussians at Ligny. The Allies were in retreat. The blood-soaked battle of Waterloo would become a landmark in European history, to be examined over and again, not least because until the evening of the 18th, the French army was close to prevailing on the battlefield. Now, brought to life by the celebrated novelist Bernard Cornwell, this is the chronicle of the four days leading up to the actual battle and a thrilling hour-by-hour account of that fateful day. In his first work of non-fiction, Cornwell combines his storytelling skills with a meticulously researched history to give a riveting account of every dramatic moment, from Napoleon's escape from Elba to the smoke and gore of the battlefields. Through letters and diaries he also sheds new light on the private thoughts of Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington, as well as the ordinary officers and soldiers. Published to coincide with the bicentenary in 2015, Waterloo is a tense and gripping story of heroism and tragedy - and of the final battle that determined the fate of Europe.

The Empty Throne

The Empty Throne

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/04/2015

The new novel in Bernard Cornwell's number one bestselling series The Warrior Chronicles, on the making of England and the fate of his great hero, Uhtred of Bebbanburg. In the battle for power, there can be only one ruler. England is fractured, torn apart more by internal fighting than the threat of Viking invasion. The ruler of Mercia is dying, leaving no legitimate heir. His wife is a formidable fighter and great leader, but no woman has ever ruled over an English kingdom. And she is without her strongest warrior and champion, Uhtred of Bebbanburg. So the scene is set for an explosive battle between elders and warriors for an empty throne. The vacant throne leaves a dangerous opportunity for the rival West Saxons to seize Mercia. But Edward of Wessex is distracted by the succession of his own throne, with two heirs claiming the right to be West Saxon king. And while the kingdoms are in disarray, the Vikings, this time coming from the west, will go on the rampage once more. The very future of England hangs in the balance. A hero is needed, a hero who can destroy the threat to Mercia, a hero who will ultimately decide the fate of a nation...

ebook of the month
The Empty Throne

The Empty Throne

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/10/2014

The new novel in Bernard Cornwell's number one bestselling series The Warrior Chronicles, on the making of England and the fate of his great hero, Uhtred of Bebbanburg. The forces of Wessex and Mercia have united against the Danes, but instability and the threat of Viking raids still hang heavy over Britain's kingdoms. For Aethelred, Lord of the Mercians, is dying, leaving no heir and the stage is set for rivals to fight for the throne. Uhtred of Bebbanburg, Mercia's greatest warrior, has always supported Athelflaed to be Mercia's next ruler, but will the aristocracy ever accept a woman as their leader? Even one who is Aethelred's widow and sister to the king of Wessex? As the Mercians squabble and the West Saxons try to annex their country, new enemies appear on the northern frontier. The Saxons desperately need strong leadership, but instead they are fighting for an empty throne and threatening to undo the unity and strength they have fought so hard to achieve. Bernard Cornwell's new novel is an outstanding tale of a country torn apart by invasions and dynastic strife, from a master storyteller.

ebook of the month
Harlequin

Harlequin

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/05/2009

A 2012 World Book Night selection. In the fourteenth century the English were just beginning to discover their national identity, and one of the strongest elements of this was the overwhelming success in battle of the English bowmen. England's archers crossed the Channel to lay a country to waste. Thomas of Hookton was one of those archers. When his village is sacked by French raiders, he escapes from his father's ambition to become a wild youth who delights in the opportunities which war offers -- for fighting, for revenge and for friendship. But Thomas is hounded by his conscience. He has made a promise to God to retrieve a relic stolen in the raid from Hookton's church. The search for the relic leads him into a world where lovers become enemies, enemies become friends and always, somewhere beyond the horizon that is smeared with the smoke of fires set by the rampaging English army, a terrible enemy awaits him. That enemy would harness the power of Christendom's greatest relic -- the grail itself. In this, the first book of a new series, Thomas begins the quest that will lead him through the fields of France, until at last the two armies face each other on a hillside near the village of Crecy.

ebook of the month

Other books by Bernard Cornwell

Rebel (The Starbuck Chronicles, Book 1)

Rebel (The Starbuck Chronicles, Book 1)

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: eBook Release Date: 27/11/2014

The first book in Bernard Cornwell's bestselling series on the American Civil War.It is summer 1861. The armies of North and South stand on the brink of America's civil war.Nathanial Starbuck, jilted by his girl and estranged from his family, arrives in the capital of the Confederate South, where he enlists in an elite regiment being raised by rich, eccentric Washington Faulconer.Pledged to the Faulconer Legion, Starbuck becomes a northern boy fighting for the southern cause. But nothing can prepare him for the shocking violence to follow in the war which broke America in two.

Sharpe's Regiment: The Invasion of France, June to November 1813 (The Sharpe Series, Book 17)

Sharpe's Regiment: The Invasion of France, June to November 1813 (The Sharpe Series, Book 17)

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: eBook Release Date: 27/11/2014

Richard Sharpe returns to England to save the regiment.Major Sharpe's men are in mortal danger - not from the French, but from the bureaucrats of Whitehall. Unless reinforcements can be brought from England, the regiment will be disbanded.Determined not to see his regiment die, Sharpe returns to England and uncovers a nest of high-ranking traitors, any of whom could utterly destroy his career with a word. Sharpe is forced into the most desperate gamble of his life - and not even the influence of the Prince Regent may be enough to save him.Soldier, hero, rogue - Sharpe is the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage. He knows no other family than the regiment of the 95th Rifles whose green jacket he proudly wears.

Sharpe's Siege: The Winter Campaign, 1814 (The Sharpe Series, Book 18)

Sharpe's Siege: The Winter Campaign, 1814 (The Sharpe Series, Book 18)

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: eBook Release Date: 27/11/2014

Richard Sharpe, abandoned in enemy territory, has to trust in assistance from a hostile American privateer.The invasion of France is under way and the British Navy has called upon the services of Major Richard Sharpe. He and a small force of riflemen are to capture a fortress and secure a landing on the French coast - one of the most dangerous missions of his career.Through the reckless incompetence of a naval commander, Sharpe finds himself abandoned in the heart of enemy territory, facing overwhelming forces and the very real prospect of defeat. He has no choice but to trust his fortunes to an American privateer - a man who has no love for the British invaders.Soldier, hero, rogue - Sharpe is the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage. He knows no other family than the regiment of the 95th Rifles whose green jacket he proudly wears.

Heretic

Heretic

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: eBook Release Date: 25/11/2014

A sharp, skilled and utterly fearless archer in the army of King Edward III, young Thomas of Hookton has been making his way through France for three years now, fighting fiercely alongside the English troops. But being a soldier in the great Hundred Years War is only a means to an end: Thomas of Hookton is hot on the trails of the man who brutally slaughtered his father and stole his only treasurerumored to be the Holy Grailfrom the ancient church of Hookton. All Europe wants the grail, and though many doubt it even exists, no one would willingly allow an enemy to find Christendom's most precious relic. To seek revenge and reclaim what's rightfully his, Thomas finds himself in a murderous race with the dangerous black rider who keeps cunningly eluding his grasp.In the tradition of Ken Follett and Edward Rutherford, Heretic is the third book in Bernard Cornwell's remarkable new series about the search for the Holy Grail.

Vagabond

Vagabond

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: eBook Release Date: 25/11/2014

1347 is a year of war and unrest. Englands army is fighting in France, and the Scots are invading from the North. Thomas of Hookton, sent back to England to follow an ancient trail to the Holy Grail, becomes embroiled in the fighting at Durham. Here, he meets a new and sinister enemy, a Dominican Inquisitor, who, like all of Europe, is searching for Christendoms most holy relic. It is not certain the grail even exists, but no one wants to let it fall into someone elses hands. And though Thomas may have an advantage in the searchan old notebook left to him by his father seems to offer clues to the whereabouts of the relichis rivals, inspired by a fanatical religious fervor, have their own ways: the torture chamber of the Inquisition. Barely alive, Thomas is able to escapes their clutches, but fate will not let him rest. He is thrust into one of the bloodiest fights of the Hundred Years War, the battle of la Roche-Derrien and, amidst the flames, arrows and butchery of that night he faces his enemies once again.

Harlequin

Harlequin

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: eBook Release Date: 25/11/2014

The first book in Bernard Cornwells bestselling Grail Quest series, in a bright and bold repackage.The year is 1342. The English, led by Edward III, are laying waste to the French countryside. The army may be led by the King, but it is the archers, the common men, who are Englands secret weapon. The French know them as Harlequins.Thomas of Hookton is one of these archers. But he is also on a personal mission: To avenge his fathers death and retrieve a stolen relic. Thomas begins a quest that will lead him through fields smeared with the smoke of fires set by the rampaging English, until at last the two armies face each other on a hillside near the village of Crcy.

Gallows Thief

Gallows Thief

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: eBook Release Date: 18/11/2014

The year is 1820 and England has fought its last victorious battle against the French. Rider Sandman, a hero of Waterloo, has finally returned to London to wed his young bride. But instead of being able to settle down to his fame and glory, he finds himself penniless in a country where unemployment and social unrest are raging high, and where meninnocent or guiltyare hung for the merest of crimes. Thus, when the Home Secretary offers him a job as private investigatorto re-open the case of a death-row candidate accused of murderSandman readily accepts, as much for the money as for a chance to see justice being done in a country gone to ruins. Soon, however, he is up to his elbows in grisly a murder plot that keeps thickening as Sandman makes his way through gentlemans clubs and shady taverns, aristocratic mansions and fashionable painters studios, unerringly determined to rescue the innocent young man from the the rope. But someone doesnt want the truth revealed ...

Enemy of God

Enemy of God

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: eBook Release Date: 18/11/2014

At the end of The Winter King Arthur fought the battle that forces unity on the warring British kingdoms and now he sets out to face the real enemythe English (it is one of the great ironies of the Arthur stories that he should have become an English hero when, if he existed at all, he was a great war-leader who opposed the invading Sais). First, though, Merlin leads a perilous expedition into the mysterious west to retrieve a cauldron, one of the treasures of Britainthis cauldron story is almost certainly the root of the holy grail strand in the Arthur tales. The treasures of Britain, Merlin believes, will bring the old Gods onto the side of the British in their struggle against the Saxons (and the Christians, whom Merlin hates). But the treasures will also set Briton against Britonespecially as Guinevere, now Arthurs wife, wants to make a magic of her own. Chaos was now thick across Britain, for someone had spilt the Cauldrons power and its horror threatened to engulf us all.

Excalibur

Excalibur

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: eBook Release Date: 18/11/2014

With Excalibur Bernard Cornwell draws his Arthurian trilogy to an exciting close that will have listners gripping their headphones.If Arthur existed (and I am quite certain he did) then he was probably the great British war leader who won the battle of Mount Badon. No one knows where it was fought, or how it was fought, but we do know that the battle took place and it was the one great defeat inflicted on the English invaders of Britain. In Excalibur we follow Arthur and Derfel to that enormous struggle and incredible victory. It not only throws the Saxons back, but reunites Arthur and Guinevere. He might hope now to be left alone, to have a time of peace after gaining a great victory, but new enemies arise to destroy all he has achieved. First is Mordred himself, the crippled king who owes everything to Arthur and now tries to kill his benefactor. Mordreds ally is Nimue who has come to hate her mentor, Merlin. And so the story ends as it has always ended, at Camlann . . . and so my lord was gone. And no one has seen him since.

The Empty Throne

The Empty Throne

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 23/10/2014

The eighth book in the epic and bestselling series that has gripped millions. A hero will be forged from this broken land. As seen on Netflix and BBC around the world. In the battle for power, there can be only one ruler. England is fractured, torn apart more by internal fighting than the threat of Viking invasion. The ruler of Mercia is dying, leaving no legitimate heir. His wife is a formidable fighter and great leader, but no woman has ever ruled over an English kingdom. And she is without her strongest warrior and champion, Uhtred of Bebbanburg. So the scene is set for an explosive battle between elders and warriors for an empty throne. The vacant throne leaves a dangerous opportunity for the rival West Saxons to seize Mercia. But Edward of Wessex is distracted by the succession of his own throne, with two heirs claiming the right to be West Saxon king. And while the kingdoms are in disarray, the Vikings, this time coming from the west, will go on the rampage once more. The very future of England hangs in the balance. A hero is needed, a hero who can destroy the threat to Mercia, a hero who will ultimately decide the fate of a nation...

Empty Throne

Empty Throne

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: eBook Release Date: 23/10/2014

The eighth novel in Bernard Cornwell's number one bestselling series on the making of England and the fate of his great hero, Uhtred of Bebbanburg. In the battle for power, there can be only one ruler. England is fractured, torn apart more by internal fighting than the threat of Viking invasion. The ruler of Mercia is dying, leaving no legitimate heir. His wife is a formidable fighter and great leader, but no woman has ever ruled over an English kingdom. And she is without her strongest warrior and champion, Uhtred of Bebbanburg. So the scene is set for an explosive battle between elders and warriors for an empty throne. The vacant throne leaves a dangerous opportunity for the rival West Saxons to seize Mercia. But Edward of Wessex is distracted by the succession of his own throne, with two heirs claiming the right to be West Saxon king. And while the kingdoms are in disarray, the Vikings, this time coming from the west, will go on the rampage once more. The very future of England hangs in the balance. A hero is needed, a hero who can destroy the threat to Mercia, a hero who will ultimately decide the fate of a nation...

Sharpe's Enemy: The Defence of Portugal, Christmas 1812 (The Sharpe Series, Book 15)

Sharpe's Enemy: The Defence of Portugal, Christmas 1812 (The Sharpe Series, Book 15)

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: eBook Release Date: 23/10/2014

Major Sharpe, in the bitter winter, must attempt a desperate rescue and face his most implacable enemy.Newly promoted, he is given the task of rescuing a group of well-born women, held hostage high in the mountains by a rabble of deserters. And one of the renegades is Sergeant Hakeswill, Sharpe's bitter enemy.Sharpe has only the support of his own company and the new Rocket Troop - the last word in military incompetence - but he cannot afford to contemplate defeat. For to surrender or to fail would mean the end of the war for the Allied armies...Soldier, hero, rogue - Sharpe is the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage. He knows no other family than the regiment of the 95th Rifles whose green jacket he proudly wears.

Sharpe's Honour: The Vitoria Campaign, February to June 1813 (The Sharpe Series, Book 16)

Sharpe's Honour: The Vitoria Campaign, February to June 1813 (The Sharpe Series, Book 16)

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: eBook Release Date: 23/10/2014

Major Sharpe finds himself a fugitive, hunted by enemy and ally alike.Major Richard Sharpe awaits the opening shots of the army's campaign with grim expectancy. For victory depends on the increasingly fragile alliance between Britain and Spain - an alliance that must be maintained at any cost.Pierre Ducos, the wily French intelligence officer, sees a chance both to destroy the alliance and to achieve a personal revenge on Richard Sharpe. And when the lovely spy, La Marquesa, takes a hand in the game, Sharpe finds himself enmeshed in a web of political intrigue for which his military expertise has left him fatally unprepared.Soldier, hero, rogue - Sharpe is the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage. He knows no other family than the regiment of the 95th Rifles whose green jacket he proudly wears.

Gallows Thief

Gallows Thief

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: eBook Release Date: 25/09/2014

1820s Britain: after the wars with France, when unemployment was high and soldiers could be paid off, when the government was desperately afraid of social unrest, any crime was drastically punished and thousands were hung. But one could petition the King and an investigation might ensue...The man in the dark cell in Newgate Prison was due to hang in a week. He had been found guilty of murdering the aristocrat whose portrait he was painting. He claimed to be innocent - but then the hangman had never hung a guilty man, he said. But even in 1820, the Home Secretary could occasionally use his powers to grant mercy if his investigator found cause and Rider Sandman, once of the First Foot Guards, is given the job.Rider Sandman, a hero of Waterloo, has family debts to repay but when his first steps in the investigations produce a sizeable bribe to look the other way, this only arouses his smouldering anger over the condition of England, a country which he and others in Wellington's army had fought to preserve. Stepping between gentlemen's clubs and taverns, talking to aristocrats, fashionable painters, their models, and their mistresses, dodging professional cut-throats and deceptive swordsmen, Sandman uncovers a conspiracy of silence, a group whose proudest boast was that they would do anything for any one of them.Sandman is a wonderful character, as yet undaunted by the sleazy streets, dank jails or the looming scaffold, and uncorrupted by politicians, sneering gentlemen or frightening bruisers, an investigator in the making and a brilliant, but very different, hero for all Bernard Cornwell fans.

Sharpe's Fury: The Battle of Barrosa, March 1811 (The Sharpe Series, Book 11)

Sharpe's Fury: The Battle of Barrosa, March 1811 (The Sharpe Series, Book 11)

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: eBook Release Date: 25/09/2014

Captain Sharpe has to protect a philandering diplomat and, deserted by his ally, faces the enemy.In the winter of 1811, the war seems lost. Spain has fallen to the French, except for Cadiz, now the Spanish capital and itself under siege. Inside the city walls an intricate diplomatic dance is taking place and Richard Sharpe faces more than one enemy.The small British force is trapped by a French army, and their only hope lies with the outnumbered redcoats outside refusing to admit defeat. There, in the sweltering horror of Barrosa, Sharpe will meet his old enemy Colonel Vandal once again.Soldier, hero, rogue - Sharpe is the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage. He knows no other family than the regiment of the 95th Rifles whose green jacket he proudly wears.

Sharpe's Battle: The Battle of Fuentes de Onoro, May 1811 (The Sharpe Series, Book 12)

Sharpe's Battle: The Battle of Fuentes de Onoro, May 1811 (The Sharpe Series, Book 12)

Author: Bernard Cornwell Format: eBook Release Date: 25/09/2014

Richard Sharpe is fighting for his Irish battalion and his own honour through the blood-stained streets of the town.Quartered in a crumbling Portuguese fort, Richard Sharpe and his men are attacked by an elite French unit, led by an old enemy of Sharpe's, and suffer heavy losses.The army's high command blame Sharpe for the disaster and his military career seems to be ruined. His only hope is to redeem himself on the battlefield. So with his honour at stake, against an overwhelming number of French troops, Sharpe leads his men to battle in the narrow streets of Fuentes de Onoro.Soldier, hero, rogue - Sharpe is the man you always want on your side. Born in poverty, he joined the army to escape jail and climbed the ranks by sheer brutal courage. He knows no other family than the regiment of the 95th Rifles whose green jacket he proudly wears.