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9 Best Bernard Cornwell Books You Must Read

Best Bernard Cornwell Books

Bernard Cornwell was born in London, England, United Kingdom, on the 23rd of February 1944.

Bernard Cornwell is a well-known British author who mostly writes historical fiction.

Cornwell’s work is renowned, particularly for the characters he has created.

We have picked the 9 best Bernard Cornwell books for you to read.

Best Bernard Cornwell Books

1. Saxon Tales (13 book series)

Saxon Tales (13 book series)

The Saxon Stories (also known as Saxon Tales/Saxon Chronicles in the United States, The Warrior Chronicles, and most recently as The Last Kingdom series) is a historical fiction series about the founding of England in the ninth and tenth centuries written by Bernard Cornwell.

Uhtred of Bebbanburg, the series’ protagonist, was born to a Saxon ruler in Northumbria. A Danish warlord captures him and adopts him.

The fictional protagonist’s name is derived on the historical Uhtred the Bold, of whom Cornwell is a descendant.

The narrative opens with the Danes conquering all but one of the great Saxon kingdoms, with Wessex, the last remaining kingdom, being nearly conquered.

The King of Wessex, Alfred the Great, gathers his armies and begins the long battle to unite all English speakers into one kingdom.

Despite his inclinations to the contrary, Uhtred struggles and plots to bring Alfred’s goal to fruition during the course of his long life.

The television series The Last Kingdom, starring Alexander Dreymon, adapts the first eight novels in the series for four seasons.

The BBC produced the first two seasons. Netflix produced the third and fourth seasons, and a fifth season was just confirmed.

“The Warrior Chronicles/Saxon Stories had been renamed The Last Kingdom series,” Cornwell said on his website afterwards.

2. Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles

This is the actual account of Waterloo, from the globally bestselling author of the Sharpe books, and it comes in the bicentennial year of the fight.

The armies of France, Britain, and Prussia descended on a peaceful valley south of Brussels on June 18, 1815.

The French army had vanquished the British at Quatre Bras and the Prussians at Ligny in the preceding three days. The Allies were on the verge of collapsing.

The bloody fight of Waterloo would become a watershed moment in European history, one that would be revisited time and time again, not least because the French army was on the verge of winning the war until the evening of the 18th.

This is the story of the four days leading up to the fight, as well as a dramatic hour-by-hour narrative of that fateful day, as told by famous author Bernard Cornwell.

Cornwell blends his narrative abilities with a thoroughly studied history to provide a compelling account of every dramatic episode, from Napoleon’s flight from Elba to the smoke and gore of the battlefields, in his first book of non-fiction.

He also offers new insight on the private views of Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington, as well as ordinary officers and soldiers, through letters and diaries.

Waterloo is a dramatic and compelling narrative of courage and tragedy – and of the last fight that sealed Europe’s fate.

3. 1356: A Novel

1356: A Novel

In 1356, an exciting stand-alone novel, Bernard Cornwell, the “master of martial fiction” (Booklist), takes Thomas of Hookton from the popular Grail Quest series into a new adventure.

The historic Battle of Poitiers took place on September 19, 1356, between an outmanned English army and the French.

Cornwell resurrects this spectacular and terrible battle in 1356, one that would turn out to be the Hundred Years’ War’s most decisive and unlikely triumph, a conflict in which the underdog English not only took the key location of Poitiers, but also the French King John II.

1356 is an action-packed narrative of peril and conquest, replete with military strategy and amazing characters both evil and heroic, taking readers to the front lines of war while presenting a vivid picture of heroism, betrayal, and warfare in the style of Cornwell’s bestseller Agincourt.

4. Agincourt

Bernard Cornwell, the “reigning king of historical fiction” (USA Today) according to the New York Times, takes on his most dramatic, rich, and captivating topic yet: the legendary tale of Agincourt.

This stunning tale of valour, love, dedication, and duty from the famous author of the Richard Sharpe books and the Saxon Tales is set against the epic conflict immortalised by William Shakespeare in his masterpiece Henry V.

As author Lee Child says, “nobody in the world does this stuff better than Cornwell.” This amazing journey will capture readers from the first page, showing once again and most forcefully that “nobody in the world does this stuff better than Cornwell.”

5. The Fort: A Novel of the Revolutionary War

The Fort: A Novel of the Revolutionary War

Bernard Cornwell’s latest novel, The Fort, is a worldwide success.

Seven hundred and fifty British soldiers and three small Royal Navy ships arrive in the summer of 1779.

Their orders were to construct a fort over a port as a base from which to command the New England coast.

Over nine hundred soldiers and forty-one American ships. The British were to be expelled, according to their orders.

The struggle that ensued was a classic illustration of how personality and politics can derail even the best-laid plans, and how combat can bring out the best and worst in mankind.

It’s a classic narrative about soldiers at war, told by a superb storyteller.

6. Redcoat


The cradle of liberty, Philadelphia, had fallen to the British in the autumn of 1777. However, the real fight has just just begun.

Loyalties are challenged on both sides, and families are ripped apart. Sam Gilpin, a teenage Redcoat, had witnessed his brother’s death.

Now he must choose between the call of his conscience and his allegiance to a faraway ruler. The Revolution brings harsh strife between those loyal to the monarchy and others who dream of independence for the men and women of the affluent Becket family.

Soon, history will be rewritten over the fields of ice and blood at a site called Valley Forge, forever altering the lives and fortunes of these men and women.

7. Copperhead


A copperhead is a turncoat — someone from the north who sympathizes with the South.

Captain Nate Starbuck, expelled from his beloved Legion due to General Washington Faulconer’s hatred, finds embroiled in a hazardous double espionage game.

In a desperate attempt to disrupt Yankee strategy that threatens to overrun the South, he is forced to journey from a jail cell in Richmond, Virginia, to the hidden headquarters of the top Northern command.

In a winner-takes-all effort to save his own life and return to the Legion, Starbuck engages in a tough and intricate game of bluff and treachery – but at a great cost to his personal and professional allegiance as a friend and a soldier.

8. War Lord: A Novel (Saxon Tales, 13)

War Lord: A Novel (Saxon Tales, 13)

The last volume in Bernard Cornwell’s bestselling Saxon Tales trilogy, which chronicles the epic narrative of England’s creation and served as the inspiration for the smash Netflix series The Last Kingdom.

The epic climax to the best-selling historical series in the world.

The United Kingdom is being attacked. Chaos reigns supreme. Northumbria, the final kingdom, is under siege from all sides, on land and at sea, and only one man stands in their way.

The warrior king Lord Uhtred of Bebbanburg, torn between devotion and pledged oaths, fights his greatest ever battle – and prepares for his final doom.

Bernard Cornwell has astonished and thrilled readers and reviewers with his prolific string of page-turning blockbusters, dubbed “maybe the finest writer of historical adventure books today” (Washington Post).

None of his characters, however, is as well-loved as Uhtred of Bebbanburg, and this gripping historical tale continues the story of his exploits and England’s stormy early years.

9. Sharpe’s Tiger (Richard Sharpe’s Adventure Series #1)

Sharpe's Tiger (Richard Sharpe's Adventure Series #1)

Sharpe’s adventures in India are described in this prologue to the series.

Sharpe’s early soldiering existence in India is mentioned several times in the storey.

Bernard Cornwell has sumptuously recreated the 1799 campaign against Seringapatam that made the British masters of southern India, a campaign that pitted brutalised soldiers against an ancient and splendid civilization, with the same meticulous research and attention to detail found in the Peninsular War books.

Sharpe, his regiment, and Arthur Wellesley, the rising star of the general staff, are ready to begin the siege of Seringapatam, the Tippoo of Mysore’s island stronghold.

The British need to depose this potentate from his Tiger Throne, but he has gone to tremendous measures to protect his city.

Sharpe is offered the chance to try a rescue and infiltrate Tippoo’s forces when a senior British commander is captured by Tippoo’s men.

Sharpe doesn’t need an invitation to flee Sergeant Hakeswill’s tyranny, but once inside the Tippoo’s perilous world, he realises he’ll need all of his wits simply to stay alive, let alone save the British army from disaster.

Sharpe’s Tiger is his greatest adventure yet, set against a backdrop of dazzling luxury, devastating poverty, beautiful castles, unexpected savagery, and pitiless warfare.

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Chandan Negi

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