Bernard Cornwell, a renowned author of historical fiction, has left an indelible mark on the literary world with his captivating storytelling and meticulous research. From his humble beginnings and early life challenges to his breakthrough success with the Sharpe series, Cornwell’s literary career has been nothing short of extraordinary. With his critically acclaimed Last Kingdom series and enduring legacy, Cornwell continues to inspire and influence writers and readers alike, making him a true icon in the realm of historical fiction.

Early Life and Challenges

During his early years, Bernard Cornwell encountered numerous challenges that would shape his future as a renowned author. Born on February 23, 1944, in London, England, Cornwell’s childhood was marked by difficulties and hardships. One of the most significant challenges he faced was his struggle with dyslexia, a learning disorder that made reading and writing particularly challenging for him. Despite this obstacle, Cornwell developed a deep love for storytelling and history from an early age.

Another major challenge that influenced Cornwell’s writing career was his time spent in the military. After leaving school at the age of 16, he enlisted in the British Army and served in various roles, including a stint in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. This firsthand experience of conflict and the camaraderie of soldiers would later become a central theme in many of his novels.

Furthermore, Cornwell’s early years were also marked by a period of personal and financial struggle. He worked several odd jobs, including being a teacher and a cleaner, to make ends meet while pursuing his dream of becoming an author. These experiences provided him with a unique perspective on life and added depth to his writing.

Despite the challenges he faced, Cornwell’s determination and passion for storytelling ultimately led him to great success as an author. His early years instilled in him a resilience and a drive to overcome obstacles, which would go on to shape his writing style and contribute to his immense popularity among readers worldwide.

Literary Career Beginnings

At the outset of his literary career, Bernard Cornwell embarked on a journey of storytelling and historical fiction that would captivate readers and establish him as a prominent author in the genre. Inspired by a desire to write, Cornwell began his foray into the world of literature in the late 1970s. He initially tried his hand at writing a novel set during the English Civil War, but it was rejected by publishers. Undeterred, he decided to explore historical fiction, a genre that fascinated him.

In 1981, Cornwell published his first novel, ‘Sharpe’s Eagle,’ which introduced readers to the charismatic and courageous Richard Sharpe, a British soldier during the Napoleonic Wars. This marked the beginning of Cornwell’s highly successful Sharpe series, which would span over 20 books and garner a loyal following of readers.

Cornwell’s meticulous research and attention to historical detail set his work apart. His ability to vividly recreate historical events and bring them to life through compelling characters and thrilling narratives quickly gained him recognition and acclaim. His books not only entertained readers but also educated them about different periods in history.

With the success of the Sharpe series, Cornwell continued to explore various historical settings in his subsequent novels, including the Viking era, the American Revolutionary War, and the Arthurian legend. His works consistently topped bestseller lists and earned him numerous awards and accolades. Bernard Cornwell’s literary career beginnings laid the foundation for his enduring success as a writer of historical fiction. His ability to transport readers to different time periods and immerse them in gripping stories has made him a beloved and respected figure in the literary world.

Sharpe’s Eagle and Breakthrough Success

The publication of ‘Sharpe’s Eagle’ and its subsequent success propelled Bernard Cornwell into the literary spotlight as a renowned author of historical fiction. Released in 1981, ‘Sharpe’s Eagle’ marked the debut of Cornwell’s beloved protagonist, Richard Sharpe, a British soldier in the Napoleonic Wars. The book follows Sharpe’s journey as he leads a ragtag group of soldiers in a daring mission to retrieve a stolen French eagle, the symbol of French military pride.

‘Sharpe’s Eagle’ not only captivated readers with its gripping storyline and well-researched historical backdrop, but it also showcased Cornwell’s impeccable storytelling skills and attention to detail. The success of the novel led to the creation of a highly popular series, known as ‘The Sharpe Series’, which followed Sharpe’s adventures across numerous battles and campaigns.

Cornwell’s breakthrough success with ‘Sharpe’s Eagle’ opened the doors to a prolific literary career, earning him a dedicated fan base and critical acclaim. His subsequent novels, including ‘Sharpe’s Triumph’ and ‘Sharpe’s Rifles’, continued to garner praise for their compelling narratives and meticulous historical accuracy.

Today, Bernard Cornwell is recognized as one of the foremost authors in the genre of historical fiction. His extensive body of work, which extends beyond the Sharpe series to include other historical periods such as the Viking era in ‘The Last Kingdom’ series, continues to captivate readers worldwide. Through ‘Sharpe’s Eagle’, Cornwell solidified his place in literary history and established himself as a master storyteller of historical fiction.

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Historical Fiction and Meticulous Research

Numerous historical fiction enthusiasts and literary critics alike have lauded Bernard Cornwell’s novels for their meticulous research and attention to historical accuracy. Cornwell’s dedication to thorough research is evident in his extensive bibliography and his commitment to visiting historical sites. By immersing himself in the historical context of his novels, Cornwell is able to create a vivid and immersive reading experience for his audience.

One of the reasons Cornwell’s novels are so highly regarded is his ability to seamlessly integrate historical details into his storytelling. Whether it’s the weaponry and battle tactics of the Napoleonic Wars in his Sharpe series or the Viking raids and political intrigue in his Last Kingdom series, Cornwell’s novels are praised for their authenticity. His characters and their actions are firmly rooted in the historical events and cultural practices of the time, making for a more believable and engaging narrative.

Cornwell’s commitment to historical accuracy is also reflected in his attention to detail. From the clothing and architecture to the language and customs, he meticulously recreates the world of his novels, ensuring that readers are transported back in time. This level of authenticity not only adds depth to the story but also helps to educate readers about the historical period in which the novels are set.

The Last Kingdom Series and Literary Legacy

Cornwell’s Last Kingdom series, as well as his overall literary legacy, have solidified his status as a master of historical fiction. The Last Kingdom series, consisting of thirteen books and counting, has garnered widespread acclaim and a dedicated fanbase. Set during the tumultuous time of Viking invasions in 9th and 10th century England, the series follows the story of Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a Saxon nobleman who becomes embroiled in the conflict between the Vikings and the Saxons.

The Last Kingdom series is known for its gripping storytelling, well-researched historical background, and complex characters. Cornwell’s ability to bring historical events to life through his vivid descriptions and attention to detail is a testament to his skill as a writer. His meticulous research ensures that the reader is fully immersed in the world he creates, with every battle, political intrigue, and cultural nuance accurately portrayed. The Last Kingdom series has been praised for its authenticity and realism, capturing the gritty and violent nature of the time period.

In addition to the Last Kingdom series, Cornwell’s literary legacy extends to his other works, such as the Sharpe series and the Warlord Chronicles. His novels have been translated into multiple languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Cornwell’s impact on the genre of historical fiction is undeniable, and his works will continue to be celebrated for generations to come.

Impact and Influence on the Literary World

With his extensive body of work and captivating storytelling, Bernard Cornwell has left an indelible mark on the literary world. His impact and influence are evident in the way he has reimagined historical fiction, bringing it to life with vivid detail and compelling characters. Cornwell’s ability to transport readers to different time periods and immerse them in the world of his stories is unparalleled. Through meticulous research and a keen eye for historical accuracy, he has managed to create narratives that are both educational and entertaining. His novels have helped popularize historical fiction as a genre, making it accessible and appealing to a wider audience.

Furthermore, Cornwell’s influence can be seen in the number of aspiring writers who have been inspired by his work. Many authors have cited him as a major influence, praising his ability to blend history with fiction seamlessly. His storytelling techniques, such as using multiple perspectives and incorporating real historical events, have become hallmarks of the genre. In addition to his impact on the literary world, Cornwell’s work has also been adapted into successful television series, further cementing his legacy. The Last Kingdom, based on his Saxon Stories series, has garnered a loyal fanbase and critical acclaim, introducing even more people to his captivating storytelling.

Net worth

The net worth of Bernard Cornwell is estimated at $ 5 million.


In conclusion, Bernard Cornwell’s literary career has left an indelible mark on the world of historical fiction. Through meticulous research and captivating storytelling, he has created a legacy that continues to inspire and influence both readers and writers alike. From his breakthrough success with the Sharpe series to his acclaimed Last Kingdom series, Cornwell’s ability to transport readers to different eras and immerse them in the rich tapestry of history is a testament to his skill and dedication as a writer.

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