Bernard Cornwell

Biografie şi Bibliografie

Bernard Cornwell OBE (born 23 February 1944) is an English author of historical novels. He is best known for his novels about Napoleonic Wars rifleman Richard Sharpe which were adapted into a series of Sharpe television films.


Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother was English, a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted and brought up in Thundersley, Essex by the Wiggins family, who were members of the Peculiar People, a strict sect who were pacifists, banned frivolity of all kinds and even medicine. After he left them, he changed his name to his mother's maiden name, Cornwell.

Cornwell was sent away to Monkton Combe School. He attended the University of London, and after graduating, worked as a teacher. He attempted to enlist in the British armed services at least three times, but was rejected on the grounds of myopia.

He then joined the BBC's Nationwide and was promoted to become head of current affairs at BBC Northern Ireland. He then joined Thames Television as editor of Thames News. He relocated to the United States in 1979 after marrying an American. Unable to get a green Card, he started writing novels, as this did not require a work permit. He later became a U.S. citizen. He currently resides on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

As a child, Cornwell loved the novels of C. S. Forester, chronicling the adventures of fictional British naval officer Horatio Hornblower during the Napoleonic Wars, and was surprised to find that there were no such novels following Lord Wellington's campaign on land. Motivated by the need to support himself in the U.S. through writing, Cornwell decided to write such a series. He named his chief protagonist Richard Sharpe, a rifleman involved in most of the major battles of the Peninsular War. Cornwell took the name from rugby player Richard Sharp.

Cornwell wanted to start the series with the Siege of Badajoz but decided instead to start with a couple of "warm-up" novels. These were Sharpe's Eagle and Sharpe's Gold, both published in 1981. Sharpe's Eagle was picked up by a publisher, and Cornwell got a three-book deal. He went on to tell the story of Badajoz in his third Sharpe novel Sharpe's Company published in 1982.

Cornwell and wife Judy co-wrote a series of novels, published under the pseudonym "Susannah Kells". These were A Crowning Mercy, published in 1983, Fallen Angels in 1984, and Coat of Arms (aka The Aristocrats) in 1986. (Cornwell's strict Protestant upbringing informed the background of A Crowning Mercy, which took place during the English Civil War.) He also published Redcoat, an American Revolutionary War novel set in Philadelphia during its 1777 occupation by the British, in 1987.

After publishing 8 books in his ongoing Sharpe series, Cornwell was approached by a production company interested in adapting them for television. The producers asked him to write a prequel to give them a starting point to the series. They also requested that the story feature a large role for Spanish characters to secure co-funding from Spain. The result was Sharpe’s Rifles, published in 1987 and a series of Sharpe television films starring Sean Bean.

A series of contemporary thrillers with sailing as a background and common themes followed: Wildtrack published in 1988, Sea Lord (aka Killer's Wake) in 1989, Crackdown in 1990, Stormchild in 1991, and a political thriller called Scoundrel in 1992.

In June 2006, Cornwell was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's 80th Birthday Honours List.

Azincourt was released in the UK in October 2008. The protagonist is an archer who participates in the Battle of Agincourt, a devastating defeat suffered by the French during the Hundred Years War. In 2009, he released The Burning Land, another of the five Saxon Stories centered on the protagonist Uhtred of Bebbanburg.

His latest novel entitled The Fort was published on 30 September, 2010. It relates to the events of the Penobscot Expedition of 1779 during the American Revolutionary War. Set in the summer of 1779, it follows a British force of fewer than a thousand Scottish infantry backed by three sloops-of-war, which were sent to what is now Castine in the State of Maine. The War of Independence was in its third year and the Scots were the only British troops between Canada and New York. Their orders were to make a garrison that could serve as a safe haven and a naval base. The State of Massachusetts was determined to expel the British and sent a fleet of forty vessels and some one thousand infantrymen to 'captivate, kill or destroy' the invaders.

Novel series

The Sharpe stories

Cornwell's best known books feature the adventures of Richard Sharpe, an English soldier during the Napoleonic Wars.

The first 11 books of the Sharpe series (beginning in chronological order with Sharpe's Rifles and ending with Sharpe's Waterloo, published in the US as Waterloo) detail Sharpe's adventures in various Peninsular War campaigns over the course of 6–7 years. Subsequently, Cornwell wrote a prequel quintology – Sharpe's Tiger, Sharpe's Triumph, Sharpe's Fortress, Sharpe's Trafalgar and Sharpe's Prey – depicting Sharpe's adventures under Wellington's command in India, including his hard-won promotion to the officer corps, his return to England and his arrival in the 95th Rifles, and a sequel, Sharpe's Devil, set six years after the end of the wars.

He also wrote Sharpe's Battle, a novel "inserted" into his previous continuity, taking place during the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro. It has been alleged that Cornwell was initially dubious about the casting of Sean Bean for the television adaptations, but if this is true the doubts did not last as he was subsequently so delighted that he dedicated Sharpe's Battle to him, and has admitted that he subtly changed the writing of the character to align with Bean's portrayal. Since 2003, he has written further "missing adventures" set during the "classic" Peninsular War era.


    1981 – Sharpe's Eagle and Sharpe's Gold
    1982 – Sharpe's Company
    1983 – Sharpe's Sword, Sharpe's Enemy and A Crowning Mercy (co-author)
    1984 – Fallen Angels (co-author)
    1985 – Sharpe's Honour
    1986 – Sharpe's Regiment and Coat of Arms (aka The Aristocrats, co-author)
    1987 – Sharpe's Siege and Redcoat
    1988 – Sharpe's Rifles and Wildtrack
    1989 – Sharpe's Revenge and Sea Lord (aka Killer's Wake)
    1990 – Sharpe's Waterloo and Crackdown
    1991 – Stormchild
    1992 – Sharpe's Devil and Scoundrel
    1993 – Rebel
    1994 – Copperhead
    1995 – Sharpe's Battle, Battle Flag and The Winter King
    1996 – The Bloody Ground and Enemy of God
    1997 – Sharpe's Tiger and Excalibur: A Novel of Arthur
    1998 – Sharpe's Triumph
    1999 – Sharpe's Fortress and Stonehenge: A Novel of 2000 BC
    2000 – Harlequin (aka The Archer's Tale)
    2001 – Sharpe's Trafalgar and Gallows Thief
    2002 – Sharpe's Prey, Sharpe's Skirmish and Vagabond
    2003 – Sharpe's Havoc, Sharpe's Christmas and Heretic
    2004 – Sharpe's Escape and The Last Kingdom
    2005 – The Pale Horseman
    2006 – Sharpe's Fury and The Lords of the North
    2007 – Sword Song
    2008 – Azincourt (Agincourt in U.S.A.)
    2009 – The Burning Land
    2010 – The Fort

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