Bernard Cornwell and the Warlord Chronicles

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Postby Bolg » Tue Aug 07, 2007 1:19 pm

tarathiel wrote:
What started you reading Sharpe?
And have you read Sharpes Company or Enemy yet? Hakeswill at his most horrible.Tar


I enjoyed the Warlord Chronicles and the Saxon Stories so much that I figured I wouldn't have a problem switching to a more modern setting, as long as Bernard was writing. :D

I am just finishing 'Battle' and have 'Company' waiting in the wings. My initiation to Cornwell was detailed in an earlier post but in the past year I have been reading his material just about non-stop. My interest the history of Britain, in all it's phases. has been re-kindled by his writings.

When I do pick up Tolkien again I will probably have finished the Sharpe series, but I still have a ways to go. Who knows, by that time the latest installment of the Saxon series may be out...
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Postby tarathiel » Sun Aug 26, 2007 2:18 pm

Havn't tried the saxon stuff yet.
It's on my 'what to pick up next' list.

To be honest i havn't picked up a book for about six weeks! (most unlike me, because i normally read a few pages of something before i go to sleep.) I'm really busy at work and am struggling to keep up with real life without dipping into other stuff.

But there is a Sharpe book that i havn't read yet so i need to get hold of it: sharpes havoc.
Any reviews?

Tar
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Postby THORIN_CLAYHELM » Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:25 am

Hi, good discussion :) I'm a big fan of both the warlord cronicals and the saxon stories in fact the sharpe books are the only Cornwell books i havent read, I know this is weird as they are by far the more famous of his books. :? :oops:


tarathiel wrote:The book/TV translation is a bit wierd because there is a lot of plot alterations.
The characters are pretty acurate and very well done but the storylines are a bit stretched.
One of the TV episodes isn't even based on a book at all!


Tar



is that true? whick one is it? i have them all on DVD (also wierd as i haven't read any i know :oops: ). there is a great box set you can get (about £70) with maps and everything. I collected them one by one but wish i had just got that now.

also, the 4th saxon story has just been released, "Sword Song". Not sure if this is the last or if it will be a longer series.

T_C
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Postby Bolg » Tue Sep 04, 2007 5:15 am

Hello Tar and THORIN, I have been fairly busy lately but am glad to see the thread is still active.

Wow, Tar, 6 weeks without a book is a long time; I would not know what to do at breakfast without something to read. :D

But there is a Sharpe book that i havn't read yet so i need to get hold of it: sharpes havoc.
Any reviews?


Havoc is next on my list, having just read Company and Rifles

Sword Song won't be available in the U.S. until next year... :|

I remember reading a quote where BC said there will be more books in The Saxon stories. The Civil war series is on hold...
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Postby Whirling_Dervish » Sat Sep 08, 2007 6:52 am

Greetings again, folks! Just thought I'd stop by for a moment and say that I finished the third and latest book in the Saxon series recently (actually, I listened to it via audio books) and am awaiting Cornwell's latest one, Sword Song. I liked Lords of the North well enough, but must confess that I wasn't exactly thrilled with certain sections in the second half of the story. I found the part where Uhtred and his gang sneak into Dunholm to be...well...silly, actually. Especially the whole bit with Ragnar's crazed and imprisoned sister communing with the wild pack of dogs. Then brother Beocca commences to 'exorcise' the devil out of her amid all of the chaos raging around him. Pretty ridiculous, IMO. :roll: Much too Hollywood for me. Scenes like this makes me wonder if BC was rushing through this part of the story in order to meet a dealine or something. Anyway, the finale of this novel was a dissapointment for me. Have any of you read this book yet or have any opinions on it? I guess so far I like the first Saxon novel the best. Hopefully Sword Song will be back up to what I am used to reading from Cornwell.
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Postby Bolg » Wed Sep 12, 2007 11:55 am

Hello, Whirling_Dervish. I read LoTN back in March, then again in June.

Overall, it was enjoyable for me, but some parts were a little flat, along with a few cringe worthy moments as well. I didn't mind the breaching of Dunholm so much as when Uthred was taken as a slave. That section seemed to drag just a bit.

I did enjoy the ending though, and was caught off guard by the easy demise of Ivar.

I find Uthred to be greatly entertaining during his interactions with the enemy, ie. when they trade insults during a parley or before a battle. I have laughed out loud many times when reading some of those passages...
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Postby tarathiel » Sun Oct 14, 2007 1:33 pm

Hi whirling dervish,
Hi Bolg.

I Apologies for absence, again, but work has been completely mad at the moment.


Thorin, the tv episode not based on any book was Sharpes Justice.

Well i still havn't got hold of Sharpes Havoc yet, but i should be near a book shop next week so i'm going to try to grab a copy :)

Tar
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Postby Bolg » Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:44 am

I just read ' Havoc', and will move on to 'Fury'.
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Postby portia » Wed Oct 17, 2007 5:13 pm

What attracted me to the Sharpe series was a sig pic from a swooning thread that showed our hero in his Sharpe uniform. After I stopped drooling, I asked where the pic came from, and tracked down the books. Then I saw the series on TV. That isn't the usual way I find out about books, but if it works. . .
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Postby tarathiel » Wed Oct 31, 2007 12:54 pm

Portia, I completely understand the drooling over Sharpe in uniform :lol:

I still havn't got my hands on Havoc yet, but i found out that a friend has it so am waiting to borrow it.

Tar
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Postby Rymeryn » Thu Nov 01, 2007 3:44 pm

The Saxon series are my favorite, actually. I have the first two books of the Arthur set, but i bought them while i was in an Arthur faze and that fizzled out at the end of the second book.

But the Saxon books, man, awesome. Uthred is great. I have actually liked every one of his adventures, including his stint as a slave.

I am currently reading Rebel, his civil war book actually, and thought to come here and start a thread if one had not been started. And low and behold.

I have to say that his character in the series, Nathaniel Starbuck, is so far really annoying. I am not much of a fan of him at all. He whines way too much. He's just...well a bit of a loser.
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Postby Rymeryn » Thu Nov 01, 2007 4:19 pm

Actually, i have come half way through the civil war book, and have come to thoroughly detest...no, loath, Nathaniel Starbuck. He is the most useless character yet, as main characters go, and utterly unsympathetic. I'll try to finish the novel but there is, at this time, little chance that i will care to continue his story enough by buying the next book.
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Postby Bolg » Fri Nov 02, 2007 12:10 pm

Hello, Rymeryn, nice to see another Cornwell reader.

I finished the whole Civil War series back in July with mostly positive feelings.
I agree a little about Nate, in that he seems weaker than any other of BC's main characters. I don't know if he really annoyed me so much as he seemed to be in the shadow of all the other protaganists that went before him, namely Derfel, Uthred and Mr. Sharpe of course.

If I recall, BC said that the NS Chronicles were on hold because of too much similarity with him and Sharpe. ( I think I read that on his website, somewhere, sometime )

If you are only on the 1st Civil War book, you will find that the story doesn't really begin to unfold until the end, and I thought it went at a good pace in book #2.

I know what it's like to hate a book and see no point of continuing, ( StoneHenge ) :D but the action and some of the other elements involved made it an above average series for me. ( The muzzle-loader era was uncharted territory for me until I started with Sharpe back in May, and was still gripping for me with the Starbuck series. )

As for The Warlord Chronicles, you must read Excalibur.

From Mr. Cornwell himself--
"I don't know if an author's opinion on his own books means anything, but I think the Warlord trilogy
is the best thing I've written.It was enormous fun to write, and the books have outsold all my others in Britain and Europe"
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Postby Rymeryn » Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:06 pm

Bolg:

I think i will restart the Warlord Chronicles at some point in the future, now that i am done being done with Arthur.

I think Cornwell is an amazing author, but honestly, i have to care about the main character. I finished the book, and didn't like much of anything about him until the last couple of pages. That is too little, too late for me. I don't really care to get involved reading about some whiner, and Nate is a whiner. He is also incredibly irrational, what with his instantly falling in love with all these scoundral woman and following them everywhere. I mean, he only met Sally ONCE before deciding to chase her down. It was simply unrealistic. I could see him falling for the first one, but the second one? No way.

And i hate main characters that don't stand up for themselves. He just takes it from everyone, and barely does anything. I mean, with Washington Faulkner, i would have told that loser were to go and how to get there. I read stories to see interesting characters, not the civil war equivalent of the supermarket bag boy.
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Postby tarathiel » Sat Nov 03, 2007 11:03 am

Hi Rymeryn.
Always good to meet another Cornwell fan to help keep the thread afloat :)

Bolg wrote:
If I recall, BC said that the NS Chronicles were on hold because of too much similarity with him and Sharpe. ( I think I read that on his website, somewhere, sometime )


I'm sure i've read that aswell, maybe on the SAS (sharpe appreciation society) website
southessex.co.uk (i think)

I havn't read the starbuck series so i can't comment on the irritation factor, but i do tend to struggle with books if i don't actually like the lead character.

Tar
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Postby Mithfânion » Mon Apr 28, 2008 12:25 pm

Just finished it. I thought it was absolutely phenomenal. I have an issue with how quickly he ended it though, it seems very out of keeping. Everything else in Derfel's life is described extensively, and by having the story be from Derfel's POV and ending it with the last battle at Camlann, he leaves out so much story which could easily have fitted into an epilogue. Were I his editor I would at least have advised to spend some time on tying that up properly. Too many questions unanswered. What happens to Guinevere, Galahad, Gwydre and the others on the boat for instance? Does Derfel ever meet them again? Where does he go to live with Ceinwyn and how many more years are they given? I understand that he wants to keep Arthur's final fate unknown, even though we can deduce from his never coming back that he did die, but the final chapter just doesn't seem right in how fast Cornwell goes about tying things up.

Other than that niggle about the unsatisfying ending, nothing but praise. Well almost. I thought the characterization was great, particulary for the secondary characters. He does a great job of building a big cast of characters in a way few authors can. Especially the group of Arthur's companions such as Sagramor, Culhwch, Galahad, Tristan. Derfel is the star of the show in this series rather than Arthur, whose portrayal I am ambivalent about. The same applies to Merlin, who has been portrayed better elsewhere ( Stewart). Merlin to me was too powerless, too vulgar. I understand he went for the Dark Merlin/Mad Merlin take but I don't think it fully worked, he is too diminished for my taste. Nimue was interesting, as was Guinevere. So many good enemies as well, Lancelot, the Saxons, Amhar and Loholt, Mordred, Nimue, the vicious twins Dinas and Lavaine that killed his daughter, so many weak men set off against strong ones, the story of Tristan and Iseult, the character of Gawain gets a completely different treatment,a great sense of melancholy for a lost reign. Wonderful how Cornwell gives us the story through the eyes of a man writing at the end of his life, excellent device. Actually a great romance between Derfel and Ceinwyn as well, touching.

His portrayal of magic in the story seems to shift at the end of the third book from how it has been portrayed up until that late point in the story however, and I found that quaint. After two and a half book of pretty much no magic and alternate explanations for everything that could be construed as magical, he does seem to want to make it plain at the end that there is some real magic being done.

Lancelot: Yes, one-dimensional. He's a total tool, bereft of good qualities, unlike Galahad who is his opposite and who Derfel calls his best friend.

The Saxons: not villains in the sense that they are just like the Britons, trying to gain land so continious flow of Saxons coming to the British shores can be accomodated. And enemy yes, but it depends on the POV. Nimue, the druid twins, Lancelot etc are more clearly defined as villains. Not to mention the guy that tries to kill Derfel so shcokingly at the Isle of the Dead.

Strange how Nimue turned out. From Merlin's best friend in youth to ally in maturity to cruel enemy at the end. Mordred was a truly terrible human being, rotten even as a boy.

Merlin's portrayal leaves too much to be desired here. As does Arthur's, who is lead around the nose too much by Guinevere in the first two books, something which is corrected in book 3. He is very human, but for me just a bit much and too flawed. Some of his decisions were just poor and as Derfel said, poor for all to see but Arthur.

Loved the companions. The bachelor Galahad, Christian knight of great prowess, coarse Culhwch, built like a bull, Derfel himsel with his marvellous life story, Sagramor the black demon. Tristan was a great character as was the brutal Lord Owain in book 1, I was sad to see him killed. Same for Aelle, Derfel's father.

In the end, a superb portrayal of Arthurian legends. The only Arthurian series that rivals it is the vastly different Merlin Trilogy by Mary Stewart. I've still yet to read Sword at Sunset though, which has no Merlin as I understand it. He puts a different hat on almost every character, and on many known events. He has great storytelling flair and displays great characterization abilities. He shows us battles, passion, romance and makes the Arthur story new to those had become tired of it.

9/10
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Postby tarathiel » Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:14 am

*BUMP*

Heres the thread :)
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Postby Ayslhyn » Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:36 am

Thank you kindly tarathiel. I didn't realise there was a thread already


:)
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Postby tarathiel » Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:59 am

It'll be nice to have someone else around to keep the thread afloat :)

I'm a fan of the Sharpe series but i was given Harlequin for Christmas so i'll start reading it soon.
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Postby Ayslhyn » Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:02 pm

Oh I love the Sharpe books. Such a great character and the Chosen Men are good too especially Harper.

Have you seen the TV series based on the books? Very well made.
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Postby tarathiel » Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:17 pm

I love the TV series.
I have most of them on DVD.

I think they did an amazing job with the characters.
John Tams as Hagman was genius.

Tar
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Postby Ayslhyn » Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:24 pm

I've got the boxed set of the TV series.

Hagman is great! I love his songs, they really add a period feel to the series.

Ducos is my favourite baddie. Him and Hakeswill.
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Postby tarathiel » Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:30 pm

Hakeswill is awsomely horrible :twisted:
Pete Poslethwaite is brilliantly cast.

Have you heard any of john tams stuff?
He's a really good folk musician.

I think Sharpes Sword is my favorite episode, it's quite different from the book but still good.
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Postby Ayslhyn » Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:43 pm

I like "Sharpe's Enemy" best as a TV episode but "Sharpe's Rifles" best as a book.

Both good in their own way.

I haven't heard anything by John Tams though I knew he was a folk singer. I do like folk music and I think one song he sings in the series was also done by Fairport Convention.
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Postby tarathiel » Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:52 pm

I heard i review of his stuff on bbc Radio 2 a few years ago.
He does have a website but i can't find it at the moment, google is teasing me :roll:

Sharpes Rifles is a very good book, bit then i like them all :wink:
Did you notice James Bond/Daniel Craig in rifles?
He played Lt Berry.
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Postby Ayslhyn » Wed Jan 07, 2009 1:01 pm

Wasn't that in Sharpe's Eagle?

I don't recall him in Rifles.
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Postby andurilwest » Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:32 am

Here's a page, written by an academic, which contains reviews for several Arthurian historical fiction novels including this trilogy. The reviewer found them accurate to the period - to a certain degree. I quote:

"This novel for me captures the spirit of the British Dark Ages politics better than any other. The level of organisation, the civil wars between the British states, the struggle for succession on the death of a king, the importance of dynastic marriages, and the negotiations between Briton and Saxon are all convincingly portrayed.

... Paganism (druids, human sacrifice etc.) is unrealistically prevalent. The one thing Gildas (writing probably at most a generation after Arthur) did not criticize the rulers of his day for was paganism.

Cornwell does not make use of the known (or at least traditional) history and genealogies of the time. He makes no mention of Ambrosius or Vortigern, who are surely the most important Britons of the time preceding Arthur..."

Also, my own thoughts: Cornwell doesn't use the original, or at least earlier forms of names for several characters. He also incorporates some characters that weren't in the original British legends, like Lancelot, Galahad and Sagramor - all French additions. Quite liked his clever re-imagining of Sagramor as an African mercenary, thus a "black knight".

Here's my own thread about Arthurian fiction which mentions similar books.
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Postby tarathiel » Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:29 am

You're right, He was in Eagles :oops:

I got them muddled up.
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Postby Ayslhyn » Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:40 am

Hey no big deal.

Great series. My wife hates Jane so much she won't watch an episode with her in it!


:D


And thanks for the link andurilwest. Some interesting stuff on there. I enjoyed reading it :)
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Postby tarathiel » Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:05 am

I have to admit that Jane is NOT my favorite character :wink:

Aside from the fact that she is a stroppy little cow and had a proper little
(insert swear word of choice here) of a brother.
And she stole all Sharpes money.

*Is not jealouse of her for marrying Sharpe at all, in any way* :wink:

Tar
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