Who is your favourite Bernard Cornwell character?


A Plume of Smoke
May 10, 2004
The Road
I haven't read all of Bernard Cornwell's works but so far my favourite Cornwell character is without a shadow of doubt Derfel from the Warlord Chronicles Trilogy. Not only is he the narrator of the story but he is also the hero (from his perspective).
I haven't really read anything ewlse, I did watch Sharpe a couple of times but I couldn't get into it...

So I'd have to pretty much agree with you on Derfel, although I like the way Merlin is portrayed in these books and Ceinwyn comes out as a strong less-represented character...But I'm not sure where you are so far so no spoilers :p
I have just finished reading the scene where Arthur and Derfel wrestle with a boar. Derfel is deliberating over whether or not to go with Merlin and Nimue in search of the cauldron.

Derfel is now the Champion of Dummonia and is trying to raise the young King Mordred.

I have struggled to put this book down and consequently am now suffering from massive sleep deprivation. :)
*****Possible Spoilers*****

Favourite Cornwell character? Well, they'd probably all come from The Warlord Chronicles, for a start. I loved Derfel, his sense of honour and duty, his courage and devotion. I had a soft spot for Ceinwyn (one may call it a crush, even...). Sagramor was quite cool, and Culhwch and Merlin were faves too. I loved Tristan when he showed up at the end of The Winter King with a handful of warriors, to repay Arthur and Derfel, and it tore me apart as he fought for his love and fell.

But I think my overall favourite would have to be Galahad. I'm not sure why, but it's kind of for the same qualities you see in Derfel, the freindship that builds between the two, his honour and courage and devotion. One of my favourite scenes from the entire trilogy (this just came back to me as I thought about it, and a chill ran down my spine) is when Derfel has gone to find Nimue on the Isle of the Dead and returning, finds Galahad and his men waiting for him, ensuring the guardians would let him leave:

'I should have known you would be here,' I told him.
'Yes,' he said, 'you should.' There were tears in his eyes, tears of happiness.

I think that says it all, really.
1. The Winter King
2. Enemy of God
3. Excalibur (did ya think it could be anything else? :D)

And I'm STILL waiting for my copy of Excalibur, dammit! I ordered it before CHRISTMAS...
April the trilogy is known as The Warlord Chronicles and is quite simply the most immaculate version of Arthurian Legend. The main character, Derfel, outshines all the great heroes of the story.
Going to be controversial and say Thomas from the Hundred Years Wars novels. I powered through them all last summer.
Going to be controversial and say Thomas from the Hundred Years Wars novels. I powered through them all last summer.

Thomas of Hookton was pretty cool - it's just for me, in whichever sequel it was, it seemed like he maybe wasn't such a good guy anymore.
I can't remember what specifically made me wonder, but I got the impression he may have turned into, or behaving much more like a Bandit/Rogue Warlord. I could well have been mistaken, I need to re-read them anyway, it's been a while!

I am soon going to be giving Cornwall's Azincourt, another read through, and ISTR liking Thomas Hook, more than Thomas of Hookton - It's strange that Cornwal used such similar names for 2 Characters, not only fighting in the same War (or set of Wars) in a very close time period with both being extremely proficient in the use of the War-Bow.

Next on my reading list is Tuck, the 3rd and I think final novel in Stephen Lawhead's Robin Hood adaption/reboot.
It's very much in his usual style - fairly decent characters, and Christianity almost there as a character itself, and his reasoning for the Reboot is very interesting - and actually caused massive upset in Nottinghamshire, to the point that when they heard that the first novel "Hood" was coming out, and what it was about, Nottinghamshire County Council actually released a press pack having a go at Lawhead, to the point they make themselves look rather pathetic, and like some sort of fascist censors - I have a vague memory the press thing had some random Councillor or Town Hall twonk demanding the book be banned. Because of course, 1 fictional/historical/mildly fantasy novel, about a probably fictional character is going to utterly devastate their Tourist Revenue Stream and Economy! :confused:o_O:rolleyes:

Stephen mulling ideas for a new series got to thinking about Robin Hood. And he thought that say the guy was real - an Outlaw on the run from the Normans in the early days of when the Normans were beginning to Occupy the Home Nations, England, followed by Wales and Scotland, it still doesn't make sense.

In the time period Hood is generally posited as being from, the War Bow was, on the Island of Great Britain mostly used only by the Welsh, at least as a military weapon, deployed in numbers. Historians often say one of the major reasons it took the Normans nearly 200 years to fully conquer and pacify Wales/the Welsh, when they effectively took all of England after just 1 major battle is the Welsh use of the War Bow - I imagine that an Army based around Heavy Cavalry, and Armoured Knights and Men at Arms, and the associated tactics is never going to have an easy job, even if, like the Normans/English have the numerical and financial superiority, not when your fighting lightly armoured men using guerrilla tactics to hit and run, ambushing your formations, when they have entered steep valleys, and those guerrillas pop up along the ridges and hills armed with a weapon which whilst not as powerful or ranged as a Crossbow, is much, much faster, and has enough range to turn that valley into a field of death, and your troops into pincushions. When North Wales finally fell in 1282, one of the first things Edward Longshanks did, was conscript thousands of Welshmen armed with War bows, the men who had been fighting him into his Army and take them up to Scotland. Lawheads thinking is a band of "Outlaws" in that time, armed with War Bows and extremely proficient in their use is far more likely to be Welsh than English/Saxon.

The other thing that doesn't make sense, and it's one of those things people have never thought of before, is Sherwood Forest. I don't know much about the place, but Lawhead says that in this time period, Sherwood was basically an important place of work, very large, but still, a place of work - it was a money house, has such, logging, hunting, lots of industries based within it, using the natural resources it held, so it was well known/mapped, it was well patrolled precisely to stop people from damaging its revenue stream, to stop Peasants poaching the wildlife, stealing the wood and so on. So it would have been very, very difficult for a band of Outlaws to successfully hide out, and continue hiding out for months/years.
At the time, the only truly "wild" or Primeval I think is the technical term, forests left under Norman rule or within their domain and influence were in Wales. So in the Hood series, Hood is a Prince, son of a Welsh King who was until his murder, a Client King to the Normans, and the local Norman Lords, and for various plot reasons is now an Outlaw, with his loyal men, hiding out in Welsh forests. :D
Obadiah Hakeswill; mad,bad and dangerous to know. And brilliantly played by the sadly departed Pete Postlethwaite.

For the good guys, Thomas Hookton

Good Choice!

Hakeswill was a right nasty sod in the books, but somehow, Pete Postlethwaite took it up another level, made him truly malignant!
And apparently, killing off Obadiah is Cornwell’s biggest professional regret.

Sharpe is my favourite hero, hands down. Well, the ensemble of heroes in the Sharpe stories especially Sharpe and Harper
His version of Merlin is one of the most flawless Magnificent Bastards I've ever seen in fiction. By turns malevolent, sentimental, wise, foolish, but almost always amusing, always magnificent... and usually a *******.

I could name the rest of the Warlord Chronicles characters very easily - his finest moment for my money - but outside that, I have major soft spots for Hogan from Sharpe, Starbuck and Delaney from the Chronicles of that name, Sandman in Gallows Thief and pretty much everyone in Stonehenge - to try and pick the non obvious.

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