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10 Best Bernard Cornwell Books (2024)

Best Bernard Cornwell Books ReviewBio

Bernard Cornwell, OBE, was born on the 23rd of February, in the year of 1944, in London, England, United Kingdom. Bernard Cornwell is a very famous British novelist whose works are almost always in the historical genre. The writing of Cornwell is truly notable, especially for the characters that he has written.


As we noted, Bernard Cornwell was born in London, England. While the father of Cornwell was William Oughtred, a Canadian airman, and his mother Dorothy Cornwell, a Women’s Auxiliary Air Force member, he was put up for adoption.

Best Bernard Cornwell Books

Religious Views

The Wiggins family were the ones that raised and brought up Bernard in Thundersley, Essex. The Wiggins family were members of the Peculiar People, a pacifist sect against frivolity of any sort. They were infamously against medicine even leading up to the 1930s.

Himself, Bernard grew out of the imposed religion of Christian Fundamentalism and became a firm nonbeliever. Cornwell became a US citizen and currently lives with his wife in Charleston, South Carolina. The couple also frequent Cape Cod, Massachusetts, as well. With that settled, we’re now going to take a look at what the best Bernard Cornwell books are.

The Last Kingdom Series


Just Fantastic

The Bernard Cornwell The Last Kingdom series is definitely one of the author’s most famous works of all time. The series is comprised of a total of thirteen novels, all of which are absolutely and unambiguously fantastic. The books consisting the series (among others) are:

  1. The Last Kingdom
  2. The Pale Horseman
  3. Lords of the North
  4. Sword Song
  5. The Burning Land
  6. Death of Kings
  7. The Pagan Lord

The Plight of One Man

The Tale of The Last Kingdom tells the story of how England was made during the ninth and the tenth centuries. This is during the reign of King Alfred the Great and his progeny. They vanquished the Danish Vikings who had, until then, been occupying three English kingdoms.

Uhtred, a nobleman that has lost much, is the one we follow. As a child, he was captured by the Danes and raised as one of them. For years until their attack on Alfred’s kingdom, Uhtred considers himself to be a Dane. However, when his side loses, he has a sudden change of heart.

Reclaiming the Land

Then, as a young man, deeply in love, and with knowledge of how to fight, he is prepared to do his work. He has a desire to reclaim the land of his father, the mesmerizing fort of Bebbanburg, located by the northern sea. However, before he can do that, he must face many perils on his journey. Truly the Bernard Cornwell Last Kingdom novels are some of the best books by Bernard Cornwell.

The Warlord Chronicles


Nothing to Overlook

The Warlord Chronicles series might just be the best Bernard Cornwell series, if you ask us. It is a brief one, we’ll give it that, but the quality of the novels is nothing to overlook. The series is a trilogy and the three novels by Bernard Cornwell in its composition are:

  1. The Winter King
  2. Enemy of God
  3. Excalibur

A Kingdom in Chaos

The news has broken that Uther, the High King, has just passed away. The only heir that he has left is his son Mordred, but he is no older than an infant. Having no other choice, the rule is given to Mordred’s uncle, the faithful, devoted warlord known as Arthur. Arthur is the backbone of the kingdom, now, and he must fight against the chaos into which his people and his kingdom have slowly been being plunged into.

As the caretaker Arthur rules and fights daily against the forces ready to tear down all that has been built up and preserved at a moment’s whim, it becomes evident that the mighty Saxon armies are only waiting on the right time to begin their invasion.

Huge Quest

Arthur’s attempts to unite Britain under one command while keeping a terrible foe at bay is nothing to scoff at, but his romance with the mesmerizing and breathtaking beauty Guinevere is what defines his character. Perhaps, it is Merlin that can lend a hand and claim the kingdom once again. Isn’t it just one of the best Bernard Cornwell book series?

Grail Quest Series



The Bernard Cornwell Grail Quest series is one that truly and wholeheartedly admire. It is a series where some of the best writing from Bernard can be noticed and even on their own, the books rank among the top Bernard Cornwell books. The series is comprised of the following novels:

  1. The Archer’s Tale
  2. Vagabond
  3. Heretic
  4. 1356

The Holiest of Ventures

The year is 1343 and it is a fine Easter morning. The fineness of the morning is interrupted, however, as French raiders ambush a village in England known as Hookton. There is but a single survivor, Thomas, and he views the savage attack as having been carried out most violently in the caustic and indifferent disposition of a certain black knight.

Thomas promises to himself and vows to the universe that he will right the wrong that has been done to his family and to his people. And he will retrieve the treasure taken from the Hookton church.

Joining the King

There is but a single way to fulfill his promise and that is to join King Edward III’s army, so he does. The latent abilities of Thomas with the bow and the arrow soon become evident and he is commended for his efforts. On his own, he never stops searching for signs of the band of raiders that so wronged him and took his family. Grail Quest is without a doubt one of the Bernard Cornwell’sbest series.

Richard Sharpe Series


Most Famous Series

The Bernard Cornwell Sharpe novels are definitely in league with the topmost and the most famous books that Cornwell has ever published. They are twenty-four in total, all of which are absolutely entrancing and wonderful. The Bernard Cornwell Sharpe series in order are:

  1. Sharpe’s Eagle
  2. Sharpe’s Gold
  3. Sharpe’s Company
  4. Sharpe’s Sword
  5. Sharpe’s Enemy
  6. Sharpe’s Honor
  7. Sharpe’s Regiment
  8. Sharpe’s Siege

Just to name a couple

Redemption and Expiation

The story of Richard Sharpe is a genuinely marvelous and charming one. Following the cowardice, the general butterfinger-like ineptitude of a pair of officers which only serves in detriment to the regiment’s name, it is left to none other than Captain Richard Sharpe to make amends and expiate his order.

The thing he must do so as to achieves this is nothing less than completely and utterly insane. What Sharpe has as a goal is the Golden Imperial Eagle, one that is always in the proximity of one Napoleon Bonaparte.

Thrilling Adventure

The tales of Richard Sharpe are nothing to overlook as they tell a sincere story of life during that point in human history, while giving us a truly thrilling, adventurous, and perilous plot, where almost everyone is the enemy of Sharpe. This series definitely has some of the best Bernard Cornwell books.

Starbuck Chronicles


Imaginative and Enchanting

The Bernard Cornwell Starbuck series is another fantastic series from Cornwell’s vast, imaginative, and enchanting mind. Consisting of only four books, it is among the shortest of Bernard’s, but by no means the least of the lot. The books consisting the series are:

  1. Rebel
  2. Copperhead
  3. Battle Flag
  4. The Bloody Ground

Free of Charge

Washington Faulconer, a landowner from Richmond, has decided to do nothing less than save the life of a young guy named Nate Starbuck. We see, Nate Starbuck has been in the firm, resilient grasp of a Yankee-hating group, so Faulconer’s swooping in to save him is a true godsend for the young guy.

His gratitude cannot be overstated and he is in absolute admiration of the person that rescued him. He even offers to repay him. Faulconer, however, already has an idea on how Nate can pay him back and that is by joining the Faulconer legion so that he can fight for the side opposite his home, against the North, and against the abolitionist ideology of his father.

Landscape of War

As the men are more than ready to go in, do battle with each other, even if their lives are lost in the process, they are all unaware of something happening, something that is to change the landscape of the war for good. Undoubtedly, these are among the best Bernard Cornwell books.

Crowning Mercy Series


Most Underrated

Of all the Bernard Cornwell historical novels, the Crowning Mercy series is definitely one of the most dashing and most underrated. The series has only three novels in its composition, all of which, though, are terrific and more than worthy of picking up. The three Bernard Cornwell’s books in order are the following:

  1. A Crowning Mercy
  2. Fallen Angels
  3. The Aristocrats

Knowing One’s Own Worth

This inventive tale is among the most creative of the career of Bernard Cornwell. For quite some time, it was not even known that Cornwell was the author. In the middle of the seventeenth century, England was in a state of unrest and chaos.

The Dorset countryside was where a young girl, while enjoying herself in a nearby stream, met and fell in love with a stranger who went his own way. She is referred to by her parents as Dorcas, but the man called her Champion and that has stuck with her for her life.

Long Journey Ahead

Following a series of unfortunate events, including the attempted marrying off following the illicit meeting with the aforementioned stranger, she sets out on a journey so as to find her own father, in whose honor she carries a pendant, and the stranger that had such a profound effect on her life. On her journey, though, odd and dangerous things are liable to happen, but, then again, she is a champion. Definitely one of the best Bernard Cornwell novels.



The War-torn Values’ Decay

Redcoat is one of the Bernard Cornwell stand-alone novels, and it is an amazing one at that. Redcoat was published in the year of 1987 and it spans a hair under five-hundred pages. As it stands, it is one of our favorites.

In the year of 1777, specifically during the autumn period, Philadelphia, which was regarded as freedom’s own cradle, has finally fallen in the hands of the British army.

War Goes On

However, though the fight is lost, the war goes on, and it is only just beginning, as far as both of the sides in war are concerned. Families, on both sides, are torn apart, loyalty, faithfulness, sincerity, and devotion are all qualities that are being tested as even comradery has become the source of skepticism.

Sam Gilpin

Sam Gilpin, a Redcoat, even though he is a young man, he has seen his own brother die. He, now, has no recourse but to pick between a distant king’s orders or to follow the words of his conscience. The Revolution, as everyone is painfully aware, has only just started, and history has barely begun to be written and rewritten. Lives are taken, cities fall, but the war and history go on. Redcoat is one of the best Bernard Cornwell books.

Gallows Thief


The Wartime Toils

At hand, we have many a book that we hope our Bernard Cornwell book reviews will do justice to, but this goes doubly for the novel Gallows Thief. The 2001 book spans a bit less than four-hundred pages and it is one that we rank very highly.

Rider Sandman is a man who was a part of the French Wars and he fought against Bonaparte. As it stands, Rider was justly anticipating a life following the war that would be calm, harmonious, and pleasant.

Impoverished and Besmirched

However, some two years following Waterloo, he is left impoverished, his family’s name has been besmirched, and he was forced to give up the lady whom he loved so dearly. He takes up a job as an Investigator, which in that time meant he was to go through mercy petition of condemned criminals and judge whether they are deserving.

Hard Decision

The first case on the job for Sandman has to do with a painter whose head and body are to hang in about a week. The verdict is to be confirmed by Sandman, but what can he do when he makes the discovery that the man is truly innocent? What can one man, especially one for whom this job is a godsend, do against a system that doesn’t care about the truth, but about punishment? Truly one of the best-selling Bernardo Cornwell books.



Legendary Battle

Agincourt is without a doubt one of the best Bernard Cornwell books that we have had the chance to read. The novel was published in the year of 2008 and it’s truly a marvel to read. We cannot recommend this novel quite enough to our readers.

Agincourt, as is familiar to readers, is one of, if not the great battles in all of history. There were two armies fighting one another, both of which were brutal and unwavering in their intent for conquering, and they met in 1415 in terrible weather and landscape conditions.

Epic Proportions

This is the battle whose victory England celebrated and which William Shakespeare wrote of in his classic work Henry V. This battle of epic proportions was a spectacle, albeit a bloody one, to watch, but we can read of it.

The archer Nicholas Hook has just received orders to go to London as means to hinder and thwart a Lollard uprising and any problems of that nature. However, his impetuous disposition and demeanor leave him an outlaw, so he has no choice but to cross the Channel and seek shelter.

Return to England

The events that occurred on this site, however, will lead Nicholas Hook to not just return to England, but also to become an archer for Sir John Cornwaille’s army, a leader in the command of Henry V. What follows, we cannot say, but the novel will be more than happy to spill the beans. One of the easiest picks for our list of the Bernard Cornwell best books.

Fools and Mortals


Unkind Fate

Fools and Mortals is one of the new books by Bernard Cornwell, having been published in the year of 2017. As it stands, it’s also one of the author’s best.

Richard Shakespeare, in the time of Elizabeth’s reign of England, is a man that is dreaming of an illustrious career among the playhouses of London, where his elder brother, William, can be most often found.

Gaining Traction

However, Richard is a destitute actor, barely making enough money to get by, and that is by means of subterfuge, his charm, and his irrefutably handsome face. While William keeps gaining traction in the public eye, Richard can’t be expected to meet the same results. Soon, a manuscript is said to have disappeared, and the calls of suspicion are all aimed at Richard. The young man has no choice, then, but to brave the unkind and discriminatory London.

Manipulation and Treachery

Manipulation and treachery are the name of the game in which Richard takes part in, but it is his only choice if he intends to evade the sentence to the gallows, one that is sure to come soon. He must employ his wit, his charm, his silver tongue, and his way with people if he has any intention of making it out alive and finding who the true culprit is. Stonehenge is one of the best Bernard Cornwell books and another that we recommend to our readers.

Robert Hazley

Robert is a science fiction and fantasy geek. (He is also the best looking Ereads writer!) Besides reading and writing, he enjoys sports, cosplay, and good food (don't we all?). Currently works as an accountant (would you believe that?)