Bernard Cornwell

Culhwch

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I was more thinking paganism as described in The Last Kingdom, which is most recently in my mind - the Viking tradition of Valhalla - warriors and women and feasting and fighting - as opposed to a very sterile Christian Heaven where saints spend eternity singing the praises of God. I too have little time for religion, but it is a topic that fascinates me.

I came around to Guinevere, too, but I could never quite forgive Arthur for his staunch belief in justice and how things ended with Tristan. When I first read it, that scene was probably the most moving thing I had read to that point, and probably still is. Actually, when I was first reading Martin, scenes like the Red Wedding put me in mind of this series and that scene. Brutal and unforgiving and without a happy ending...
 

Lacedaemonian

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I have no doubt whatsoever that Martin has read Cornwell's works. The Tristan scene was the most moving scene I have ever read. It killed me reading that scene.
 

Culhwch

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Actually I was over at Martin's site not so long ago and on his list of 'What I'm Reading' was... The Last Kingdom, by Bernard Cornwell. Wait a minute...

And I quote: 'A terrific read. Cornwell really makes history come alive, and no one writes better battle scenes. He has another winner on his hands.'

So there you go. And now I think I might go finish The Last Kingdom, and jump back into The Winter King. Even though I know all that heartbreak is coming. But then, that's why I love it.
 

Culhwch

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Apparently so... Just been on Cornwell's website and it says the next in the series, The Pale Horseman, is due in the UK in October. So hopefully that means here as well.
 

Lacedaemonian

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I might try and wait until they are all out. If I had had to wait for the release of each of the Warlord Chronicles then I would have slashed my wrists. Have you read the Grail Quest trilogy?
 

Culhwch

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Well, you shouldn't have to wait too long, Cornwell seems to churn them out fairly regular. I'd say the third will arrive early to mid next year, at the latest. Martin could learn a thing or two from him there...

Yeah, I read the Grail Quest. I liked them, but I thought the writing quality tailed off in the second and third books. It seemed to me that Cornwell lost the passion for the work, or something. Still better than most around at the moment, though.
 

Lacedaemonian

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His heroes bare an uncanny resemblance to one another. They all seem to have 'royal blood', they are all merely soldiers but excel in combat, they all seem to have a renowned Lord who favours them... However, they all fight in different historical climates and use very different weapons. Their abilities are realistic and do not seem to be exaggerated, and are quite common for the time periods. What seems to make the heroes shine is simply their massive sense of duty coupled with absolute friendship.

I firmly believe that George RR Martin used these books as the back bone of his fantasy series. The entire time I was reading these books, I kept thinking that it is a shame Cornwell did not try his hand at writing heroic fantasy. Well it appears that Martin has done it for him, and why not. These works of historical fiction beg to be gifted a fantastical theme. As they stand they are perhaps the most enjoyable work of historical fiction available. Add a fantastical theme to these works and Cornwell would be the most celebrated fantasy writer around.
 

Lacedaemonian

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The only issue that I have with The Warlord Chronicles is that you know from the off that it will all end in tears. Though I am still interested in how things will turn out for Derfel.
 

chump

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Lacedaemonian said:
I will definitely read the Last Kingdom next. Is it another trilogy?

On Bernard Cornwell's website he made it sound that the series would have close to 10 books rather then just a triology. The Last Kingdom is a great book and you should read it.
 

Culhwch

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chump said:
On Bernard Cornwell's website he made it sound that the series would have close to 10 books rather then just a triology. The Last Kingdom is a great book and you should read it.
Really? I never noticed that while I was there... So it would seem he's making more of a Sharpe out of Uhtred than a Derfel. Sounds promising.
 

chump

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Quote from Bernard Cornwell " I sort of think, meaning I'm not sure, that there will be seven or eight. Or nine? More? Don't know, but probably at least seven." In regards to the amount of books about Uhtred.
 

Lacedaemonian

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Just finished reading The Warlord Chronicles. Absolutely brilliant!! I rate these books amongst the best I have ever read - definitely in my top five recomendations.

***Spoiler***

What do you think came of Derfel in the end? You never get a glimpse back into his present at the end of the book. I imagine that Cornwell wrote a chapter detailing Derfel's demise but probably edited it out as it may have ended the series weakly. Still though I kind of wanted to know what happened to him - though it was painfully obvious that he was to die with his sword in his hand. I like to think that he killed at least one more Sais before going to his family and spearmen in the Otherworld.
 

Culhwch

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I don't know - that's a tough one. I'd say that he would have died with Hywelbane in hand, though I'm not sure that he could've taken down a Saxon warrior in his state. The important thing though is that he'd try - maybe renouncing the Christian God as a mist of red shadows his vison, and the bridge of swords reaches out before him, Ceinwyn and Galahad and Sagramor and Culhwch and Issa and Tristan waiting for him at the far end - but not Arthur, because Arthur is only sleeping, and he will return to the world...
 

Lacedaemonian

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Ah such an excellent finish mate. It would have been excellent if the Sais recognised him and give him a wide birth, or sent forward a champion to give the once mighty Lord Derfel the absolute respect he deserves. Derfel should always be at Arthurs side. The patter at the end of the book where Derfel says that he was always Arthurs man and that he loved him to the last... tearful stuff. I honestly can not wait until I have read twenty books or so, simply so I can come back and read this book again. I definitely wish that I had wrote this book, but am glad that I didn't on account of the fact that I would have not done such a wonderful job.
 

Culhwch

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It is one of those jealousy inducing books, isn't it? I mean, some things you read you sit there and think to yourself, 'Well, I could've written that.' With this book it's more, 'I'm so out of my league here...' Though it is something to aim for I guess.
 

Lacedaemonian

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Definitely one of those books that begs the question, 'can you write this good?'. In short the answer is no. :)
 

Hypes

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Lacedaemonian said:
Perhaps Cornwell hates religion in general, I know that I do.
Why hate religion? It only brings you below those standards you set yourself by opposing it.
 
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