"Once upon a time, in a land that was called Britain, these things happened"
So begins The Warlord Trilogy, Bernard Cornwell’s story of Arthur, 'Rex Quondam Rexque Futurus', the Once and Future King born, legend has it, at Tintagel. Cornwell confesses that, of all the books he has written, the three books of Arthur are his favourites. Perhaps this is why he was happy to sign 50 Buckingham Tintagel first day covers to raise money for the Tintagel Old Post Office (a National Trust property).
Much later, we were thrilled to design a cover celebrating perhaps Cornwell's best loved hero of all: Richard Sharpe. Mr Cornwell very generously agreed to sign a limited number of these too.
Cornwell's Own Story
Bernard Cornwell was a 'warbaby', born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman and his mother was in Britain's Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted by a family in Essex who belonged to a religious sect called the Peculiar People (and apparently they were) but escaped to London University and, after a stint as a teacher, joined BBC Television where he worked for the next 10 years. He began as a researcher on the Nationwide programme and ended as Head of Current Affairs Television for the BBC in Northern Ireland.
It was while working in Belfast that he met Judy, a visiting American, and fell in love. Judy was unable to move to Britain for family reasons so Bernard went to the States where he was refused a Green Card. He decided to earn a living by writing, a job that did not need a permit from the US government. For some years he had wanted to write the adventures of a British soldier in the Napoleonic wars - and so the Sharpe series was born.
Bernard and Judy married in 1980, are still married, still live in the States and he is still writing Sharpe, along with other acclaimed works including the Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles, about American Civil War and, most recently, Stonehenge 2000 B.C.: A Novel and The Archer's Tale.