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Bernard Cornwell

Bernard Cornwell was born in London and raised in South Essex. Before taking up writing he appears to have enjoyed a successful career in television, following his graduation from London University.

Bernard spent seven years working for the BBC as producer of Nationwide. Nationwide if I remember correctly was the first National magazine program. The program contained serious material on the issues of the day along with some of the lighter moments from life. From Nationwide Bernard moved on to become head of Current affairs in Northern Ireland. He moved to Thames television (part of the Independent Network) in 1978.

Bernard is married and now lives mainly in America.

Bernard Cornwell photo

His work

Bernard is best known for his Sharpe novels set in the 19th century Peninsular war. These wars are better known as the Napoleonic Wars. The stories follow the adventures of Rifleman Sharpe from his days as a simple conscript through his gradual rise through the ranks. The stories are full of action and adventure, along with numerous love affairs, and marriage. He faces the might of the Imperial forces of Napoleon along with the personal enmity of fellow officers, common soldiers, scorned lovers and enemy agents. The books are based around fact, sometimes using artistic licence to make a good story.

The tales of Rifleman Sharpe are being gradually expanded. Recent novels have been pre-quels to the main series telling of Sharpes adventures in India, and the journey from India to Spain where true glory awaits him.

At the time of writing (July 2008) it looks as if the Sharpe series has finally run its term, as there appear to be no new stories in the pipeline. This may not be a bad thing, as Sharpe has been to hell and back and it's time to earn a rest.

With the demise of Sharpe (my view it may not be true) his other series - namely the Viking saga is starting to mature nicely. This author is definitely still on the up, and freed from the shackles of two novels a year is certainly maintaining quality.

If you are looking for a new author to try, then Bernard's work will not disappoint, and I would suggest an early Sharpe novel, such as Sharpe's Rifles (The titles before this book were written later) as the perfect start.

The latest title of 1356 is again a superb novel, with a perfect mixture of atmosphere and action. I'm amazed at the quality of output, and long may it continue! He may only deliver one book a year, but I will always go for quality over quantity.(2013)

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The Sharpe novelsgraphic indexPeninsular War22 titles
The Sharpe novelstext indexPeninsular War22 titles
The Warlord Chroniclesgraphic indexArthurian3 titles
The Starbuck Chroniclesgraphic indexAmerican Civil War4 titles
The Grail Questgraphic index14 Century England4 titles
The Warrior Chroniclesgraphic index 9 Century Britain8 titles
Other novelsgraphic indexIncludes best story to date10 titles
Complete indextext index51

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Last update
15 Feb. 2022
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the contents of these pages represent my own views and not necessarily those of my isp