Bernard Cornwell (born February 23, 1944) is a prolific and popular British historical novelist.
He was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman; his mother English, a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was given up for adoption and brought up in Essex by the Wiggins family, who were part of the Peculiar People, a strict Protestant sect who banned frivolity of all kinds and even medicine. He was sent away to Monkton Combe School, attended the University of London and after graduating worked for BBC Television as a director. He married Judy in 1980 and re-located to her home country, the USA. Unable to get a Green Card, he started writing novels, as this did not require a work permit.
His best-known books feature the adventures of Richard Sharpe, an English soldier, and are set in the Napoleonic era. After writing 12 books detailing adventures set around various European battle campaigns over the course of 12 years, further stories covered Sharpe's earlier years as a young soldier in India. Most of the Napoleonic-era books were filmed for a TV series starring Sean Bean as Sharpe. Further books written subsequently have been slotted in to different parts of Sharpe's timeframe.
Cornwell has also written the tetralogy The Grailquest novels, dealing with a 14th Century search for the Holy Grail, around the time of the Hundred Years War.
His latest series- The Saxon Stories- is set in 9th century Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex, during the reign of Alfred the Great, dealing with his defence of his kingdom against the Danes (Vikings), becoming as a result the only English monarch to be awarded the epithet "the Great" by his people.