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History is not just a tale of men's making, but is a thing tied to the land. We call a hill by the name of a hero who died there, or name a river after a princess who fled beside its banks, and when the old names vanish, the stories go with them and the new names carry no reminder of the past. -- Bernard Cornwell
There's war between the gods, Uhtred, war between the Christian god and our gods, and when there is war in Asgard the gods make us fight for them on earth. -- Bernard Cornwell
So a good man can be a bad Christian?"
"I suppose so."
"Then a bad man," I said, "can be a good Christian? -- Bernard Cornwell
Only a fool wants war, but once a war starts then it cannot be fought half-heartedly. It cannot even be fought with regret, but must be waged with a savage joy in defeating the enemy, and it is that savage joy that inspires our bards to write their greatest songs about love and war. -- Bernard Cornwell
They smile and sing their psalms and preach that their creed is all about love, but tell them you believe in a different god and suddenly it's all spittle and spite. -- Bernard Cornwell
Doubtless there were insanely frenzied warriors, but there is no evidence that lunatic nudists made regular appearances on the battlefield. -- Bernard Cornwell
I am old now. So old. My sight fades, my muscles are weak, my piss dribbles, my bones ache, and I sit in the sun and fall asleep to wake tired. -- Bernard Cornwell
Trinity Royal, which was being nuzzled by a dozen small launches nosing into her flank like piglets suckling on a sow. -- Bernard Cornwell
Sometimes, when I tell folk my story, they ask why I did not run away from the pagans, why I did not escape southward into the lands where the Danes did not yet rule, but it never occurred to me to try. I was happy, I was alive, I was with Ragnar, and it was enough. -- Bernard Cornwell
Because there could not be peace, not while two tribes shared one land. One tribe must win. Even the nailed god cannot change that truth. And I was a warrior, and in a world at war the warrior must be cruel. -- Bernard Cornwell
Children born to unwed mothers,' he said after a long silence, 'have parts of their souls missing. -- Bernard Cornwell
My sword," I told him, "says I tell the truth, and that you are a stinking bag of wind, a liar from hell, a cheat and a perjurer who deserves death."
"Up to our arses again," Leofric said. -- Bernard Cornwell
And we screamed. We screamed our war cry, our shout of slaughter, our joy of being men in battle who are driven by terror. -- Bernard Cornwell
I like to see a man obeying a woman," Father Pyrlig said as I fetched the loaf.
"Why's that?" I asked.
"Because it means I'm not alone in this sorry world. -- Bernard Cornwell
It'll be an honour to serve you, sir," he added.
"In a French battalion?" Gudin teased him.
"If you don't flog, sir, and you don't carve up pricks, then it'll be more than an honour. -- Bernard Cornwell
I am not sure,' Mordecai told Thomas, 'whether omens can be trusted.'
'Of course they can.'
'I should like to hear your reasons. But show me your urine first.'
'You said I was cured,' Thomas protested. 'Eternal vigilance, dear Thomas, is the price of health. Piss for me. -- Bernard Cornwell
I liked those tales. They were better than my stepmother's stories of Cuthbert's miracles. Christians, it seemed to me, were forever weeping and I did not think Woden's worshippers cried much. -- Bernard Cornwell
The Holy Grail, the most precious of all Christ's bequests to man, lost these thousand years and more, and he could see it glowing in the sky like shining blood and about it, bright as the glittering crown of a saint, rays of dazzling shimmer filled the heaven. Thomas -- Bernard Cornwell
No man wanted to face warriors like Finan in battle. -- Bernard Cornwell
Guinevere grimaced. 'Do you know how cloying love can be, Derfel? I don't want to be worshipped. I don't want every whim granted. I want to feel there's something biting back. -- Bernard Cornwell
We make children and wealth and amass land and build halls and assemble armies and give great feasts, but only one thing survives us. Reputation. -- Bernard Cornwell
Is all ordained? Foreknowledge is not fate, and we may choose our paths, yet fate says we may not choose them. So if fate is real, do we have a choice? -- Bernard Cornwell
I hated his religion and its cold disapproving gaze, its malevolence that cloaked itself in pretended kindness, and its allegiance to a god who would drain the joy from the world by naming it sin, -- Bernard Cornwell
Madness ends sometimes. The Gods decree it, not man. -- Bernard Cornwell
You don't buy a dog and bark yourself, -- Bernard Cornwell
At risk of sounding foully pompous I think that writers' groups are probably very useful at the beginning of a writing career. -- Bernard Cornwell
War is fought in mystery. The truth can take days to travel, and ahead of truth flies rumor, and it is ever hard to know what is really happening, and the art of it is to pluck the clean bone of fact from the rotting flesh of fear and lies. -- Bernard Cornwell
And I must be nineteen by now, lord! Maybe even twenty?" "Eighteen?" I suggested. "I could have been married four years ago, lord!" We -- Bernard Cornwell
I touched Thor's hammer, then Serpent-Breath's hilt, for death was stalking us. God help me, I thought, touching the hammer again, Thor help us all, for I did not think we could win. -- Bernard Cornwell
You can't live somewhere," he told me, "if the people don't want you to be there. They can kill our cattle or poison our streams, and we would never know who did it. You either slaughter them all or learn to live with them. -- Bernard Cornwell
Dealing with the Scots, my father had always said, was like trying to geld wildcats with your teeth, but luckily the wildcats spent much of their time fighting each other. Once -- Bernard Cornwell
There is such joy in chaos. Stow all the world's evils behind a door and tell men that they must never, ever, open the door, and it will be opened because there is pure joy in destruction. -- Bernard Cornwell
So I woke, I listened, and I heard the small sounds of a wood at night, the things moving, the claws in the dead leaves, the wind's soft sighs. -- Bernard Cornwell
And you can use that sword, Weland Godfredson?"
"As a woman can use her tongue, lord."
"You're that good, eh?" Ragnar asked, as ever unable to resist a jest. -- Bernard Cornwell
But Alfred could not live long. He was already an old man, well past forty years, and now he was looking to the future. He -- Bernard Cornwell
Five things make a man happy," I told him, "a good ship, a good sword, a good hound, a good horse, and a woman." "Not a good woman?" Finan asked, amused. "They're all good," I said, "except when they're not, and then they're better than good. -- Bernard Cornwell
So the books have a greater appeal to a British audience, but that hasn't stopped them making best-seller lists in places like Brazil, Japan and at least a dozen other countries. -- Bernard Cornwell
We were dressed for war, and war was coming. -- Bernard Cornwell
The only purpose a Council serves is to make you all feel important. -- Bernard Cornwell
Latin! The language of God! Or perhaps He speaks Hebrew? I suppose that's more likely and it will make things rather awkward in heaven, won't it? Will we all have to learn Hebrew? -- Bernard Cornwell
I could hardly see him in the darkness, but knew he wore a leather jerkin and had a sword at his side. The rest of us were in leather and mail, had helmets, and carried shields, axes, swords, or spears. Tonight we would kill. Sihtric, -- Bernard Cornwell
There is a greater war, Uhtred. Not the fight between Saxon and Dane, but between God and the devil, between good and evil! We are part of it! -- Bernard Cornwell
Most folk consider that a woman aboard a ship brings nothing but bad luck because it provokes the jealousy of Ran, the goddess of the sea who will abide no rivals, -- Bernard Cornwell
Writing is a solitary occupation. -- Bernard Cornwell
The sight of that loveliness was enough to drive all sense from a man's head. -- Bernard Cornwell
You do like them thin, don't you?" Pyrlig said, amused. "Now I like them meaty as well-fed heifers! Give me a nice dark Briton with hips like a pair of ale barrels and I'm a happy priest. Poor Hild. Thin as a ray of sunlight, she is, but I pity a Dane who crosses her path today. -- Bernard Cornwell
I had no idea what I was speaking of, but only knew I must sound confident. Fear might work on a man, but confidence fights against fear. Odda -- Bernard Cornwell
But destiny grips us and, the next morning, in a soft winter rain, we buried the dead, paid silver coins, and then walked southward. We were a boy on the edge of being a grown man, a girl, and a dog, and we were going to nowhere. -- Bernard Cornwell
We were the wolf pack, we were the killers of Britain, we had fought from the south coast of Wessex to the northern wilds, from the ocean to the sea, and we had never been beaten, and these men knew it. -- Bernard Cornwell
At sea, sometimes, if you take a ship too far from land and the wind rises and the tide sucks with a venomous force and the waves splinter white above the shield-pegs, you have no choice but to go where the gods will. -- Bernard Cornwell
a mystery to make men mad. -- Bernard Cornwell
Only the gods tell him what to do, and you should beware of men who take their orders from the gods. -- Bernard Cornwell
Prisoners!" Finan shouted, and I suspected he was shouting at me because I had so blatantly ignored my own insistence that we take men captive. -- Bernard Cornwell
There are seasons of our lives when nothing seems to be happening, when no smoke betrays a burned town or homestead and few tears are shed for the newly dead. I have learned not to trust those times, because if the world is at peace then it means someone is planning war. -- Bernard Cornwell
I should never have confessed my rank, I thought. Better to be a living slave than a dead ealdorman. -- Bernard Cornwell
Am I to deny Mark justice because he is old and gross and ugly? Do youth and beauty deserve perverted justice? What have I fought for all these years, if not to make certain that justice is even-handed? -- Bernard Cornwell
Never do what an enemy expects, Dudda. We'll go in at dawn. On the flood. -- Bernard Cornwell
He died without cutting his nails, she said accusingly, as if I was responsible for that ill luck, and it was bad fortune indeed because now the grim things of the underworld would use Ivar's nails to build the ship that would bring chaos at the world's end. -- Bernard Cornwell
What happens to you, Uhtred, is what you make happen. You will grow, you will learn the sword, you will learn the way of the shield wall, you will learn the oar, you will give honor to the gods, and then you will use what you have learned to make your life good or bad. -- Bernard Cornwell
The sun shone on us, the water sparkled, the oar-blades dipped and we were gone. Gone to make history. -- Bernard Cornwell
Tomorrow!" he said suddenly. His voice was high, but it carried clearly enough. "Tomorrow we fight! Tomorrow! The Feast of St John the Apostle!"
"Oh God," Leofric grumbled next to me, "up to our arsholes in more saints. -- Bernard Cornwell
Judy couldn't move to Britain for family reasons, so I had to come to the States, and the U.S. government wouldn't give me a Green Card, so I airily told her I'd write a book. -- Bernard Cornwell
Some mothers soften their sons, but Osbert was motherless and I had raised him hard because a man must be hard. The world is filled with enemies. -- Bernard Cornwell
One book at a time ... though I'm usually doing the research for others while I'm writing, but that sort of research is fairly desultory and I like to stick to the book being written - and writing a book concentrates the mind so the research is more productive. -- Bernard Cornwell
Only a fool takes pride in pretending that a skill he doesn't possess is worthless. -- Bernard Cornwell
and Ravn recited a long poem about some ancient hero who killed a monster and then the monster's mother who was even more fearsome than her son, but I was too drunk to remember much of it. And -- Bernard Cornwell
He's a boy who must learn to be a warrior and a king,' I said, 'and death is his destiny. He must learn to give it.' I patted Aethelstan's shoulder. 'Make it quick, boy,' I told him. 'He deserves a slow death, but this is your first killing. Make it easy for yourself. -- Bernard Cornwell
Does that girl work here?' Robbie asked, gesturing at the screen behind which Mary had disappeared. 'All her life,' Sir Giles said. 'You remember Mary, Thomas?' 'I tried to drown her when we were both children,' Thomas said. -- Bernard Cornwell
I was born a Saxon, but raised by Danes, my daughter had married a Norseman, my dearest friend was Irish, my woman was a Saxon, the mother of my children had been Danish, my gods were pagan, and my oath was sworn to AEthelflaed, a Christian. Whose side was I on? -- Bernard Cornwell
Idle men make mischief, especially idle men supplied with ale, whores, and weapons. -- Bernard Cornwell
Of every night you must be open to the Gods, and if -- Bernard Cornwell
Why do they put cows over the gates, sir?"
"For the same reason we put images of a tortured man in our churches. Religion. You ask too many questions, Sharpe. -- Bernard Cornwell
When a man must choose between nothing and everything he has small choice. -- Bernard Cornwell
why prefer a god who wants you to torture yourself instead of worshipping Eostre who wants you to take a girl into the woods and make babies? -- Bernard Cornwell
An army, I learned in time, needs a head. It needs one man to lead it, but give an army two leaders and you halve its strength. -- Bernard Cornwell
They're praying to ham bones, ham bones! The blessed pig! -- Bernard Cornwell
Laughter in battle. That was what Ragnar had taught me, to take joy from the fight. -- Bernard Cornwell
The art of war," I told him, "is to make the enemy do your bidding. -- Bernard Cornwell
I wondered why the gods no longer came to earth. It would make belief so much easier. -- Bernard Cornwell
Once upon a time, in a land that was called Britain, these things happened. -- Bernard Cornwell
If a man can't remember the laws," Ragnar said, "then he's got too many of them. -- Bernard Cornwell
Why did I choose to fight him? He was going to die whether I fought him or not, and he was dangerous, half my age and a warrior. But it is reputation, always reputation. Pride, I suppose, is the most treacherous of virtues. -- Bernard Cornwell
I was hated, and I knew it. Part of it was my fault, I am arrogant. -- Bernard Cornwell
Victory does not come to men who listen to their fears. -- Bernard Cornwell
Ignored Truslow, trusting instead in the Colonel's largesse. -- Bernard Cornwell
If the leader is a good man he will be liked and if he's not, he won't, and if he is a good man and a bad leader then he is better off dead. -- Bernard Cornwell
Ravn had given me much advice and all of it was good, but now, in the night wind, I remembered just one thing he had said to me on the night we first met, something I had never forgotten.
Never, he had said, never fight Ubba. -- Bernard Cornwell
The Christian god has nothing better to do than to make rules for us. He -- Bernard Cornwell
Someone wise, I forget who, said we must leave our children to fate. -- Bernard Cornwell
A trial relied heavily on oaths, but both sides would bring as many liars as they could muster, and judgment usually went to the better liars or, if both sides were equally convincing, to the side who had the sympathy of the onlookers. -- Bernard Cornwell
His charms worked, for though the bullets flicked close none hit him. He was the tiger of Mysore, he could not die, only kill. -- Bernard Cornwell
And you look bloody young to be a sergeant"
"I was born late, sir -- Bernard Cornwell
The sword was called Caledfwlch, which means 'hard lightning' though Igraine prefers to call it Excalibur -- Bernard Cornwell
The crews of the Viking ships are Danish, Norse, Frisian, and Saxon. -- Bernard Cornwell
The Immortals were about to engage the Impregnable. The unbeaten would fight the unbeatable. -- Bernard Cornwell
Start your killers young, before their consciences are grown. Start them young and they will be lethal. -- Bernard Cornwell
The spinners were watching me, waiting, needles poised, and unless I did their bidding then my fate would be failure. -- Bernard Cornwell
And yes, there's a simplicity to writing books because you're not a member of a team, so you make all the decisions yourself instead of deferring to a committee. -- Bernard Cornwell
He knew you were a warrior. He called you a brute. He said you were like a dog that attacks a bull. You had no fear because you had no sense. -- Bernard Cornwell
An army isn't made of its officers, you know, though we officers like to think it is. An army is no better than its men, and when you find good men, you must look after them. That's an officer's job. -- Bernard Cornwell
I'll happily mentor anyone who wants mentoring, and most of that goes on by internet rather than face to face. -- Bernard Cornwell
That man is my Arthur, a great warlord and a hero who fought against impossible odds to such effect that even fifteen hundred years later his enemies love and revere his memory. -- Bernard Cornwell
Instinct is everything. -- Bernard Cornwell
Looking back, of course, it was irresponsible, mad, forlorn, idiotic, but if you don't take chances then you'll never have a winning hand, and I've no regrets. -- Bernard Cornwell
How anyone could endure three or four hours of chanting monks and ranting priests was beyond my understanding, just as it was beyond my understanding to know why bishops needed thrones. They would be demanding crowns next. -- Bernard Cornwell
Some Gods are wicked, Derfel. And besides, they have no duty to us, only we to them. Maybe it amused them? -- Bernard Cornwell
Someone, I thought, knew where Ice-Spite was hidden. And I would find her. -- Bernard Cornwell
We all suffer from dreams. -- Bernard Cornwell
Everyone looks old to the young," Ravn said. -- Bernard Cornwell
He was watching my eyes. A man who uses a sword with lethal skill always matches his opponent's eyes. -- Bernard Cornwell
Our ancestors took this land. They took it and made it and held it. We do not give up what our ancestors gave us. They came across the sea and they fought here, and they built here and they're buried here. This is our land, mixed with our blood, strengthened with our bone. Ours! -- Bernard Cornwell
10 East 53rd Street -- Bernard Cornwell
When those blades cut, they cause tears that feed the well of Urdr that lies beside the world tree, and the well gives the water that keeps Yggdrasil alive, and if Yggdrasil dies then the world dies, and so the well must be kept filled and for that there must be tears. -- Bernard Cornwell
You're a boy playing in men's games, Sharpie, and you're going to lose unless you're a man. Are you man enough to fight me here? Put me down? Claim I was kicked by a horse in the night? You can try, Sharpie, but you're not man enough, are you? -- Bernard Cornwell
Television is a young person's medium. -- Bernard Cornwell
He sang the song of the sword, keening as he fed his blade, and Rollo, standing thigh-deep in the creek, ax swinging in murderous blows, blocked the enemy's escape. The Frisians, transported from confidence to bowel-loosening fear, began to drop their weapons. -- Bernard Cornwell
You bastard!' he shouted. He was quick. No warrior stays alive by being slow. -- Bernard Cornwell
Harlequin, probably derived from the old French Hellequin: a troop of the devil's horsemen. -- Bernard Cornwell
And I looked,' Pyrlig said to me, 'and I saw a pale horse, and the rider's name was death.' I just stared in amazement. 'It's in the gospel book,' he explained sheepishly, 'and it just cam to mind. -- Bernard Cornwell
Serpent-Breath was famous ... Wasp-Sting, short and lethal. -- Bernard Cornwell
If the Danes are outnumbered," my father told me that night, "they won't fight. They're like dogs, the Danes. Cowards at heart, but they're given courage by being in a pack. -- Bernard Cornwell
A sad, plangent music. In the British camp, Sharpe thought, they would be singing, but no one was singing here. -- Bernard Cornwell
A leader leads," Ragnar said, "and you can't ask men to risk death if you're not willing to risk it yourself. -- Bernard Cornwell
They're frightened that we'll make a sally and kill them all," Ragnar said, "so they're going to sit there and try to starve us out. -- Bernard Cornwell
And Eoferwic, I thought, was where my story had all begun. Where my father had died. Where I had become the Lord of Bebbanburg. Where I had met Ragnar and learned of the ancient gods. -- Bernard Cornwell
You won't regret the men you never killed, but you will regret the women you passed up. -- Bernard Cornwell
There comes a moment in life when we see ourselves as others see us. I suppose that is part of growing up, and it is not always comfortable. Eanflaed, -- Bernard Cornwell
This time, if God wills it, we shall replace him. A man bitten by a snake once does not let the snake live a second time. -- Bernard Cornwell
The rules were simple: trust no one, be ever watchful and if trouble came hit first and hit hard. It had worked for him so far. -- Bernard Cornwell
These word-stringers make nothing, grow nothing, kill no enemies, catch no fish, and raise no cattle. They just take silver in exchange for words, which are free anyway. It is a clever trick, but in truth they are about as much use as priests. -- Bernard Cornwell
Who do you serve?" Lanferelle asked.
"Sir John Cornerwailled," Hook said proudly.
Lanferelle was pleased. "Sir John! Ah, there's a man. His mother must have slept with a Frenchman. -- Bernard Cornwell
I could imagine Cnut sitting there and thinking that I must join him soon, and we would raise a horn of ale together. There is no pain in Valhalla, no sadness, no tears, no broken oaths. -- Bernard Cornwell
Night was falling across the trampled rye. Nine thousand men had been killed or wounded in the fight for the crossroads, -- Bernard Cornwell
Yes, sir, Hicks said. He was a small young man, very officious, who would never contradict a superior. If Morris claimed the clouds were made of cheese Hicks would just stand to attention, twitch his nose, and swear blind he could smell Cheddar. -- Bernard Cornwell
It was an unsettling thought, that somehow we were sliding back into the smoky dark and that never again would man make something so perfect as this small building. -- Bernard Cornwell
That is why battles of the shield wall are slow to start. Men have to nerve themselves for the horror. -- Bernard Cornwell
Book tours and research provide a lot of travel - too much, I sometimes think, but we do take vacations. -- Bernard Cornwell
Next time we fight the Danes you'll be with me.
"Because we are warriors," I said, "and our job is to kill our enemies, not be nursemaids to weaklings. -- Bernard Cornwell
We live in a world where the strongest win, and the strongest must expect to be disliked. -- Bernard Cornwell
Have you heard a cuckoo yet?" I asked Steapa. "Not yet." "It's time to go," I said, "unless you want to kill me?" "Maybe later," Steapa said, "but for the moment I'll fight beside you." And -- Bernard Cornwell
A three-day-old baby is a saint?'
Willibald flapped his hands. 'Miracles happen, lord,' he said, 'they really do. They say little Rumwold sang God's praises whenever he suckled.'
'I feel much the same when I get hild of a tit,' I said, 'so does that make me a saint? -- Bernard Cornwell
You're to grovel." Aethelwold spoke for the first time. He grinned at me. We were not exactly friends, but we had drunk together often enough and he seemed to like me. "You're to dress like a girl," Aethelwold continued, "go on your knees and be humiliated." "And -- Bernard Cornwell
You cannot command love, Lady, only beauty or lust does that. Do you want the world to be fair? Then just imagine a world with no kings, no queens, no lords, no passion and no magic. You would want to live in such a dull world? -- Bernard Cornwell
My name is Uhtred. I am the son of Uhtred, who was the son of Uhtred and his father was also called Uhtred. -- Bernard Cornwell
The Tippoo should have killed you when he had the chance."
"We all make mistakes, sir. -- Bernard Cornwell
Every day is ordinary, until it isn't. -- Bernard Cornwell
All you need to know, boy," Finan growled, "is that Lord Uhtred's side is the one that wins. -- Bernard Cornwell
The wheel of fortune that had once raised her so high had taken her into the utter depths. -- Bernard Cornwell
It was funny, Richard Sharpe thought, that there were no vultures in England. -- Bernard Cornwell
They gave death with impunity as they followed a war-maddened Scotsman down an enemy wall that was sticky with blood. -- Bernard Cornwell
I had broken three Saxon shield-walls and buried Hywelbane to her hilt in my country's enemies before I had been elected to Mithras's service, but all Lancelot had ever done was boast and posture. -- Bernard Cornwell
Religion makes strange bedfellows. -- Bernard Cornwell
The gods are capricious, and I was about to amuse them. And Alfred was right. I was a fool. -- Bernard Cornwell
I envy your Christian God. He is three and He is one, He is dead and He is alive, He is everywhere and He is nowhere, and He demands that you worship Him, but claims nothing else is worthy of worship. There's room in those contradictions for a man to believe in anything or nothing, but -- Bernard Cornwell
Instinct is a strange thing. You cannot touch it, feel it, smell it, or hear it, but you must trust it, and that night, as we listened to the slap of the waves and the creak of the oars, I was as certain as I could be that my fears were justified. -- Bernard Cornwell
Obadiah Hakeswill had never been concerned by such enmity. Power did not lie in being liked, but in being feared. -- Bernard Cornwell
So you know it was a glorious battle, Hook, in which God favoured the English, but God's favour is a fickle thing.'
'Are you telling me He's not on our side?'
'I'm telling you that God is on the side of whoever wins, Hook. -- Bernard Cornwell
She was as faithful as a morning mist, as hard as a sword-bayonet, and that, he thought, made her a suitable reward for a soldier. -- Bernard Cornwell
Agents will read unpublished work because they might make money, and that's their job. It isn't mine. -- Bernard Cornwell
And that, too, was the truth, that a man cannot step back from a fight and stay a man. We make much in this life if we are able. We make children and wealth and amass land and build halls and assemble armies and give great feasts, but only one thing survives us. Reputation. I could not walk away. -- Bernard Cornwell
How much of our earth has been wet by blood because of jealousy! And at the end of life, what does it all matter? We grow old and the young look at us and can never see that once we made a kingdom ring for love. -- Bernard Cornwell
You're not a Christian, are you?"
"You should consider it. We may not offer too many earthly delights, but our lives after death are certainly worth having. -- Bernard Cornwell
If they saw men swarming up the wall, if they saw the axes chopping at our shields on the wall's top, then they would join the battle. Men want to be on the winning side. -- Bernard Cornwell
Love's madness, swinging from ecstasy to despair in one wild second. -- Bernard Cornwell
I spoke in English because the language of the Frisian people is so close to our own. -- Bernard Cornwell
World rotted as we slid from light into darkness, getting ever nearer to the black chaos in which this middle world would end and the gods would fight and all love and light and laughter would dissolve. -- Bernard Cornwell
She is a woman, and what women want, they get, and if the world and all it holds must be broken in the getting, then so be it. -- Bernard Cornwell
I sometimes think,' Merlin said when no more suggestions were offered, 'that I am doomed to live among idiots. -- Bernard Cornwell
Piglet," Bishop Wulfheard said in a scornful tone. I stared at him, then held up a hand to check Merewalh, who was about to leave the hall. "Maybe we don't need a piglet," I said slowly, as if an idea was just coming to me. "Why waste a baby pig when there's a bishop available?" Wulfheard fled. -- Bernard Cornwell
Christianity is not a religion that offers the solace of revenge to its adherents. For that you must go to the old women who know which herbs to pluck and what charms to say under a waning moon. -- Bernard Cornwell
Thought folk were buried there?" "They are! And their treasures! So the dragon guards the hoard. That's what dragons do. Bury gold and you hatch a dragon, see? -- Bernard Cornwell
The sun flashed off the wet blades, splinters of light, then the oars dipped, were tugged, and the beast-headed boats surged, and I stared entranced. -- Bernard Cornwell
I ain't seen a herd the size of it, not even when the Scots drive the beeves down from Scotland to London. -- Bernard Cornwell
All the Danish leaders, had carved into our shield wall with his great war ax, I had faced him, beaten him, and sent him to join the einherjar, that army of the dead who feast and swive in Odin's corpse hall. What -- Bernard Cornwell
Ensign Fitzgerald had somehow managed to get himself a jewelled sabre that he was now flashing around like a shilling whore given a guinea fan. -- Bernard Cornwell
May the gods always send me stupid enemies. -- Bernard Cornwell
God offers his protection to sinners," Ceolnoth said unctuously. "Especially to sinners," Ceolberht said. "I'll remember that," I said, "when I've finished sinning. -- Bernard Cornwell
I just gazed at the smoke haze above Lundene, the darkness darkening a summer sky, and wished I were a bird, high in that nothingness, vanishing. Haesten -- Bernard Cornwell
All that was needed to get ahead in the world was a bit of sense and the ability to kick a bastard faster than the bastard could kick you, and Richard Sharpe reckoned he had those talents right enough. -- Bernard Cornwell
Tell Ragnall," I told him, "that the Saxons of Mercia are coming. Tell him that his dead will number in the thousands. Tell him that his own death is just days away. Tell him that promise comes from Uhtred of Bebbanburg. -- Bernard Cornwell
There was something about Gawain's youth and credulity that was driving me to puncture his pious innocence. -- Bernard Cornwell
Wyrd bith ful araed (Fate is inexorable). -- Bernard Cornwell
Of course some days are easier than others, but my worst day is better than being in most humdrum occupations. -- Bernard Cornwell
Don't tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass. -- Bernard Cornwell
Dreams are like songs. Their task is not to offer an exact image of the world, but a suggestion of it. -- Bernard Cornwell
He liked to see men cowed and frightened, for that made them biddable, and Sergeant Hakeswill was always at his happiest when he was in control of unhappy men. -- Bernard Cornwell
Together we would make reputation, we would have men in halls across Britain telling the story of our exploit. Or of our deaths. They were friends, they were oath-men, they were young, they were warriors, and with such men it might be possible to storm the gates of Asgard itself. -- Bernard Cornwell
Hurry up and do nothing, that was the army's way of doing things. -- Bernard Cornwell
My son smiled. "You taught me well, Father."
"What did I teach you?"
"That a spear-point in a prisoner's liver is a very persuasive thing. -- Bernard Cornwell
It would cause nothing but madness, Thomas thought. Men would fight for it, lie for it, cheat for it, betray for it and die for it. The Church would make money from it. It would cause nothing but evil, he thought, for it stirred horror from men's hearts, -- Bernard Cornwell
No, fate is difficult. Is all ordained? Foreknowledge is not fate, and we may choose our paths, yet fate says we may not choose them. So if fate is real, do we have choice? -- Bernard Cornwell
Bugger Shekhar. How about a bibbi instead?"
"Maybe I'll read."
"Your choice," Sharpe said carelessly. -- Bernard Cornwell
Life is simple," I said. "Ale, women, sword, and reputation. Nothing else matters. -- Bernard Cornwell
They're the sort of dozy bastards who don't think beyond their next pot of ale, but Thomas does, Thomas is a two-pot thinker, he is. -- Bernard Cornwell
Thousands!" Appah Rao's tone mocked the claim. "You may have thousands, Colonel, but the Tippoo has tigers. -- Bernard Cornwell
Do you ever read the scriptures?"
"Every day," I said enthusiastically, "not a moment passes that I don't have a quick read of Ieremias or dip into Ezekiel."
She smiled, amused. "What a barbarian you are! -- Bernard Cornwell
He's discovered the value," I said, "of murderous bastards like me, so perhaps he'll learn to distrust the advice of sniveling bastards like you who told him the Danes could be defeated by prayer. -- Bernard Cornwell
And that was what the Christians had been doing in their church, consecrating their wizards by making boys into black-clothed priests who would spread their filth further, and my son, my eldest son, was now a damned Christian priest and I hit him again. -- Bernard Cornwell
He grinned at Sharpe. "Christ, but this is joy! What would we do for happiness if peace came?" He turned his horse clumsily, rammed his heels back, and whooped as the horse took off. "Let's go get the whores! -- Bernard Cornwell
I know I have gained Christ and through His blessing I have gained the whole world too, but for what I have lost, for what we have all lost, there is no end to the reckoning. We lost everything. -- Bernard Cornwell
Only a fool leaves cash where a servant can find it,' he said. -- Bernard Cornwell
Remember the old saying, my lady,' he said slyly. 'Put a cat to watch a flock and the wolves eat well. -- Bernard Cornwell
Politics were so very simple, the Cardinal thought, just so long as a man believed no one, double-crossed everyone, kept a full treasury, and inveigled others into doing the dirty work. -- Bernard Cornwell
You're a bastard," I said.
"Uhtred," he began, but could find nothing more to say.
"You're a piece of weasel-shit," I said, "you're an earsling."
"I'm a king," he said, trying to regain his dignity.
"So you're a royal piece of weasel-shit. An earsling on a throne. -- Bernard Cornwell
Shun epic verse. -- Bernard Cornwell
What I mean by that is that the point of life, as I see it, is not to write books or scale mountains or sail oceans, but to achieve happiness, and preferably an unselfish happiness. -- Bernard Cornwell
But you can get arrows from the -- Bernard Cornwell
A bastard son must fight his own way in the world. Osferth knew that. -- Bernard Cornwell
Shit!" Evelgold added.
"What?" Hook asked, alarmed.
"I just stepped in some."
"That's supposed to bring you luck," Hook said.
"Then I'd better dance in the goddam stuff. -- Bernard Cornwell
You know why farts smell?" "I don't." "So the deaf can enjoy them too. -- Bernard Cornwell
An arena where, so Merewalh's priest told me, Christians had been fed to wild beasts. Some things are just too good to be true and so I was not sure I believed him. -- Bernard Cornwell
That's bloody obvious. A schoolboy with a palsied brain could have worked that one out. -- Bernard Cornwell
Even be here,' Douglas snarled. The Scottish knights had been summoned by -- Bernard Cornwell
Choose your battles,' I snarled at Aethelstan. 'That space between your ears was given so that you can think! If you just charge whenever you see an enemy you'll earn yourself an early grave.' Lord Uhtred of Bebbanburg -- Bernard Cornwell
I sometimes wonder what would have happened if the first book had not sold ... doesn't bear thinking about, but I suppose we'd have made it work somehow. -- Bernard Cornwell
I know nothing about producing TV drama and any involvement on my part is liable to prove an obstacle to the producers, so I prefer to be a cheerleader and let them get on with it. -- Bernard Cornwell
It is hard to force obedience," he said, "without encouraging resentment. -- Bernard Cornwell
This was a clever man, as clever as Alfred, and he knew that weakness invited war. -- Bernard Cornwell
Thinking of her, he felt a sudden longing inside him. She had the face of a hawk, slim and cruel, with dark hair and eyes. Teresa was beautiful as a fine sword was beautiful; slim and hard. -- Bernard Cornwell
I was without a lord. I was outcast. I was free. I was going Viking. There -- Bernard Cornwell
You're the son of a king,' I told him, 'and one day you might be a king yourself. Life and death will be your gifts, so learn how to give them, boy. -- Bernard Cornwell
St George!' the English shouted, but the saint must have been sleeping for he gave the attackers no help. -- Bernard Cornwell
He was a hard man, but what else would he be? He had stood in the shield wall, he had watched the Danes come to the attack, and he had lived. He was no youngster. -- Bernard Cornwell
The Lord Uhtred sought to annoy you, bishop," the king said, "and it is best not to give him the satisfaction of showing that he has succeeded. -- Bernard Cornwell
Well damn him. I was not dead yet, and so long as I lived I would fight for Aethelflaed. -- Bernard Cornwell
Serpent-Breath was in my hand and anger in my soul. -- Bernard Cornwell
So sanity is not a requisite of soldiering,' Wellesley said quietly. -- Bernard Cornwell
Tomorrow," he shouted, "you do not fight for me! I fight for you! I fight for Wessex! I fight for your wives, for your children and your homes! Tomorrow we fight and, I swear to you on my father's grave and on my children's lives, tomorrow we shall win! -- Bernard Cornwell
I had the arrogant confidence of a man born to battle. I am Uhtred, son of Uhtred, son of another Uhtred, and we had not held Bebbanburg and its lands by whimpering at altars. We are warriors. -- Bernard Cornwell
I paid him," Lawford said indignantly.
"If you want a job done properly," Sharpe said, "you do it yourself. Hell! -- Bernard Cornwell
When you are young and powerless you dream of possessing mystical strength, and once you are grown and strong you condemn lesser folk to that same dream, -- Bernard Cornwell
Violence may not be good, my friend, but it has a certain efficiency in the resolution of otherwise insoluble problems. -- Bernard Cornwell
When a man cannot fight he would curse. The gods like to feel needed. -- Bernard Cornwell
The Tippoo's life seemed charmed. He stepped in blood, but none of it was his and it seemed as though he could not die, but only kill, and so he did, cold-bloodedly, deliberately, exultantly defending his city and his dream against the barbarians who had come to snatch his tiger throne. -- Bernard Cornwell
Except we were there, and I was in a vengeful mood. My cousin was still in Bebbanburg. Aethelhelm was trying to destroy my daughter and her husband. Constantin had humiliated me by driving me from my ancestral land. I had not seen Eadith, my wife, in a month. So someone had to suffer. -- Bernard Cornwell
We should know who they are," I said, "before we kill them. That's just being polite. -- Bernard Cornwell
Poor as an honest lawyer. -- Bernard Cornwell
I kicked back my heels, but all I achieved was to ride out of the panicked mass into the path of the Danes, and all around me men were screaming and the Danish axes and swords were chopping and swinging. The grim work, the blood feast, the song of the blade, they call it. -- Bernard Cornwell
This isn't just a war over land, it's a war about God. And Alfred ... is Christ's servant ... -- Bernard Cornwell
So I do my duty," Sharpe said, "and land in the shit." "You have at last seized the essence of soldiering," Hogan said -- Bernard Cornwell
Don't give me your Christian shit about forgiveness. -- Bernard Cornwell
And on my conscience," he said, "I will for ever bear the weight of all those men who died in a hopeless cause. Two thousand against five thousand? How can 1 justify leading so few against so many?"
"You know how."
"So I can be king?"
"So that we are not slaves in our own land," I said. -- Bernard Cornwell
All those separate people were a part of my life, strings strung on the frame of Uhtred, and though they were separate they affected one another and together they would make the music of my life. -- Bernard Cornwell
He was a startlingly handsome young man, and that, too, distracted him for girls were attracted to him like priests to gold. -- Bernard Cornwell
Arrows of insight have to be winged by the feathers of speculation. -- Bernard Cornwell
Uhtred of Steapa - He might be dumb as a parsnip but he knows how to fight. -- Bernard Cornwell
The existence of tricks does not imply the absence of magic. -- Bernard Cornwell
The men, who a moment before had been cursing and cumbersome creatures clambering down the clay bank into the clumsy boats, were mysteriously transformed into warrior silhouettes, spiky with weapons, who glided silent and noble through the vaporous night toward the misted shadows of the enemy shore. -- Bernard Cornwell
The bards sing of love, they celebrate slaughter, they extol kings and flatter queens, but were I a poet I would write in praise of friendship. -- Bernard Cornwell
But fate, as Merlin always taught us, is inexorable. Life is a jest of the Gods, Merlin liked to claim, and there is no justice. You must learn to laugh, he once told me, or else you'll just weep yourself to death. -- Bernard Cornwell
Win your war, Lord Uhtred," he said, "then take her away from us priests and give her lots of children. She'll be happy, and one day she'll be truly wise. That's the women's real gift, to be wise, and not many men have it. -- Bernard Cornwell
I believe the Gods hate to be bored, so I do my best to amuse them. That way they smile on me. Your God,' Merlin said sourly, 'despises amusement, demanding grovelling worship instead. He must be a very sorry creature. -- Bernard Cornwell
Your mother didn't give birth to you," I told hint, "but farted you out of her shrivelled arsehole."
"Frightened or not," Asser said, "you've taken Peredur's silver, so you must fight them now."
"Say one more word, monk," I said, "and I'll cut off your scrawny balls. -- Bernard Cornwell
If the Danes come," he spoke to Wulfhere, "you must let me fight."
"You don't know how to fight."
"Then you must teach me." He slid Serpent-Breath back into the scabbard. "Wessex needs a king who can fight," he said, "instead of pray. -- Bernard Cornwell
I hated Alfred. He was a miserable, pious, tight-fisted king who distrusted me because I was no Christian, because I was a northerner, and because I had given him his kingdom back at Ethandun. And as reward he had given me Fifhaden. Bastard. -- Bernard Cornwell
We are all lonely and all seek a hand to hold in the darkness. It is not the harp, but the hand that plays it. -- Bernard Cornwell
I wanted to hit him hard now.
I wanted to hit him in the dark of the night's ending, hit him in the thunder of Thor's providential storm, hit him under the lash of Thor's lightning, strike him in the wind and the rain of the gods. I would bring him chaos. -- Bernard Cornwell
Just remember, Braithwaite. While you were learning to be a fool at Oxford I was learning to kill men. And I learned well. -- Bernard Cornwell
Now, waving flies from his face, he told the two deserters what they might expect. -- Bernard Cornwell
Liberty! Man has no liberty except the liberty to obey rules, but who makes the rules? With luck, Kate, it will be reasonable men making reasonable rules. -- Bernard Cornwell
When you are up to your arse in shit there is only one thing to do. Attack. -- Bernard Cornwell
Pride, I suppose, is the most treacherous of virtues. The Christians call it a sin, but no poet sings of men who have no pride. Christians say the meek will inherit the earth, but the meek inspire no songs. -- Bernard Cornwell
We watched them, and my stepmother, alarmed by the sound of hooves, came from the hall to join us on the rampart. "The devil has opened his bowels," my father greeted her. -- Bernard Cornwell
Lawford shrugged. "She jilted you."
"Easy come, easy go," Sharpe said, then belted the tunic. -- Bernard Cornwell
I'm fortunate that the books sell, but even more fortunate to live in Chatham, to be very happily married and to have, on the whole, a fairly clear conscience. -- Bernard Cornwell
We don't build,' I said to my son, 'we just destroy. -- Bernard Cornwell
Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. It -- Bernard Cornwell
Fight well," he said distantly, "and remember you are Englishmen!"
"Welshmen," someone intervened. Sir Roger visibly flinched at that and then, without another word, led his three men-at-arms from the church. -- Bernard Cornwell
We pulled slow and steady through the darkness and we hammered the ears of the gods with prayers. -- Bernard Cornwell
There are times," Leofric grumbled, "when you are an earsling." An earsling was something that had dropped out of a creature's backside and was one of Leofric's favourite insults. We were friends. -- Bernard Cornwell
If this world ever contained one worthless, treacherous slime-coated piece of human dung then it was Haesten. -- Bernard Cornwell
Seven kings will die, she had said, seven kings and the women you love. And Alfred's son will not rule and Wessex will die and the Saxon will kill what he loves and the Danes will gain everything, and all will change and all will be the same. -- Bernard Cornwell
Then you start another book and suddenly the galley proofs of the last one come in and you have to wrench your attention away from what you're writing and try to remember what you were thinking when you wrote the previous one. -- Bernard Cornwell
The spelling of place names in Anglo Saxon England was an uncertain business, with no consistency and no agreement even about the name itself. Thus London was variously rendered as Lundonia, Lundenberg, Lundenne, Lundene, Lundenwic, Lundenceaster and Lundres. -- Bernard Cornwell
We were three ships in a summer's dawn, and we were going to battle. -- Bernard Cornwell
For Arthur, at last, had come. -- Bernard Cornwell
He tolerated his fellow Englishmen, but the Welsh were cabbage-farting dwarves, the Scots were scabby arse-suckers, and the French were shriveled turds. -- Bernard Cornwell
Cnut Longsword had near killed me with his blade Ice-Spite and it was small consolation that Serpent-Breath had sliced his throat in the same heartbeat that his sword had broken a rib and pierced my lung. -- Bernard Cornwell
So, in the morning light, where they flapped in the drying wind, the bear and the star defied the Saxons. -- Bernard Cornwell
My dear Lord,' I said, but not to him. I spoke to Arthur. And I watched and wept, my arm around Ceinwyn, as the pale boat was swallowed by the shimmering silver mist. And so my Lord was gone. And no one has seen him since. -- Bernard Cornwell
Fate is inexorable. -- Bernard Cornwell
And when you speak with him," I said, "tell him to stop hitting his wife." Erkenwald jerked as though I had just struck him in the face. "It is his Christian duty," he said stiffly, "to discipline his wife, and it is her duty to submit. Did you not listen to what I preached? -- Bernard Cornwell
He had always thought there was an answer to all life's mysteries in the stars, yet whenever he stared at them the answer slipped out of his grasp ... But he had to think now, and he stared at the smoke-dimmed stars in the hope that they would help him, but all they did was go on shining. -- Bernard Cornwell
I gazed at the far woods and knew our enemies were also sharpening their blades. They had to be confident. They knew the dawn would bring them a battle, victory, plunder, and reputation. -- Bernard Cornwell
Do you really think men and women thanked you for bringing them peace? They just became bored with your peace and so brewed their own trouble to fill the boredom. Men don't want peace, Arthur, they want distraction from tedium, -- Bernard Cornwell
Frenchman was tall and thin, with a lugubrious and tired face, but -- Bernard Cornwell
We are going to soak this rock with blood! I am Uhtred! I am the lord here. This is my rock! -- Bernard Cornwell
What did you want to achieve?" "Liberty, of course!" The answer was swift, but followed immediately by a deprecating smile. "Except I've learned there's no such thing." "There isn't?" "You can't have freedom and lawyers, Sharpe, -- Bernard Cornwell
So, with no real plan for my future and content to let fate -- Bernard Cornwell
Anyone who claims to have an entirely clear conscience is almost certainly a bore. -- Bernard Cornwell
I was angry. I wanted blood in the dawn. -- Bernard Cornwell
To be discreet, '"he looked up to glare at Aethelflaed, "'chaste! Keepers of the home! Good! Obedient to their husbands!' Those are God's own words! That is what God demands of a woman! To be discreet, to be chaste, to be home-keepers, to be obedient! God spoke to us! -- Bernard Cornwell
You know what circumcision is, Private? -- Bernard Cornwell
She looked at Stiorra and grinned, and I wondered whether that was what the two girls had in common: bad fathers. -- Bernard Cornwell
You do not swing in a shield wall, you stab. May the gods ever send me enemies who swing their blades. -- Bernard Cornwell
Hengall the Warrior hated war. The business of life, he liked to say, is to plant grain, not blades. -- Bernard Cornwell
The preachers tell us that pride is a great sin, but the preachers are wrong. Pride makes a man, it drives him, it is the shield wall around his reputation ... Men die, they said, but reputation does not die. -- Bernard Cornwell
Most men want to follow, and what they demand of their leader is prosperity. We are the ring givers, the gold givers. -- Bernard Cornwell
Beware the hatred of a woman. -- Bernard Cornwell
Mothers were sacred. Mothers were not expected to be pretty. -- Bernard Cornwell
There's plenty of food here," Erik said dismissively. "We have fish traps and eel traps, we net wildfowl and eat well. And the prospect of silver and gold buys a lot of wheat, barley, oats, meat, fish, and ale. -- Bernard Cornwell
Certainly strip him of his petty -- Bernard Cornwell
Anything that comes from the north is bad news. -- Bernard Cornwell
He doesn't want to face Englishmen,' the Lord of Douglas said, and he knew he was right. Ever since the Scottish knights -- Bernard Cornwell
Alfred has trapped you, Uhtred."
"No," I said, "the spinners did that." Ur r, Ver andi, and Skuld, the three women who spin our threads at the foot of Yggdrasil, had decided my fate. Destiny is all. "I shall go to my woman," I said. -- Bernard Cornwell
I'm not his man, Father. I'm Uhtred of Bebbanburg, and the lords of Bebbanburg don't marry pious maggotfaced bitches of low birth. -- Bernard Cornwell
Of the insolence of the Scots, my father used to say, there is no end. -- Bernard Cornwell
I was doing everything wrong. I was confused. Confusion is inevitable in battle, but indecision is unforgivable, and I had hesitated to make any decision and then made all the wrong ones. -- Bernard Cornwell
Thomas, I can pull down you're pants and point you downwind, but even with the Lord's help I can't pee for you. -- Bernard Cornwell
Passion, Baird reckoned, was what would take men across the river and up the breach. Damn scientific soldiering now. The science of siege warfare had opened the city, but only a screaming and insane passion would take men inside. -- Bernard Cornwell
Why do we fight?" he asked.
"Because we were born. -- Bernard Cornwell
Their wings will shadow the sun, their breath will scorch the earth, and their fire will consume the righteous!"
"So we all die ?"
"No, no, no! We fight them!"
"How do you fight a dragon ?" I asked him.
"With prayer, boy, with prayer."
"So we all die. -- Bernard Cornwell
Defend what's left. You can have fifty men."
"Fifty! That's not enough ... "
"Forty," I snarled, "and if you lose the fort I'll cut your kidneys out and eat them."
We were at war. -- Bernard Cornwell
It was madness. And, as Finan had said, sometimes madness works. -- Bernard Cornwell
I'm getting old," I said again, and that was true. I had lived more than fifty years and most men were lucky to see forty. Yet all old age was bringing was the death of dreams. -- Bernard Cornwell
Lord Derfel, you do insult a man so very easily. What was it to be? My head in a pit dunged by slaves? What a paltry imagination you do have. Mine, I fear, sometimes seems excessive, even to me. -- Bernard Cornwell
It takes a weak man to prove his strength by striking a woman. -- Bernard Cornwell
our oaths.' He advanced down the path -- Bernard Cornwell
I was just twenty-one and my name was known wherever men sharpened swords. I was a warrior. A sword warrior, and I was proud of it. -- Bernard Cornwell
So she needs a man!" Hakeswill said. "And a sergeant's widow doesn't get rogered by a stinking bit of dirt like you. It ain't right. Ain't natural. It's beneath her station, Sharpie, and it can't be allowed. Says so in the scriptures. -- Bernard Cornwell
If we do nothing then Wessex will spread like a plague. There'll be priests everywhere. We seek the future. We stare into its fog and hope to see a landmark that will make sense of fate. -- Bernard Cornwell
When rumours fly, when false tales are being told, be the storyteller. -- Bernard Cornwell
The people follow him."
"Because they have no choice. They follow, but do they love him?"
"Some do," Appah Rao answered. "But what does it matter? Why should a ruler want his people's love? Their obedience, yes, but love? Love is for children, McCandless, and for gods and for women. -- Bernard Cornwell
I would hear him screaming, I would watch him bleed, I would tear his flesh piece by piece before I would worry about Aethelflaed. This was family. This was revenge. -- Bernard Cornwell
It was fate, I thought. Just fate. We think we control our own lives, but the gods play with us like children playing with straw dolls. -- Bernard Cornwell
An enemy sees his attackers laughing? It is better than all the insults. A man who laughs as he goes into battle is a man who has confidence, and a man with confidence is terrifying to an enemy. "For the whore!" I shouted. -- Bernard Cornwell
And, in her fury, she slapped the king with a skinned eel. -- Bernard Cornwell
In madness lies change, in change is opportunity, and in opportunity are riches. -- Bernard Cornwell
The church, we're to meet in the church. Do try to wipe that blood off your mail, Uhtred. We're an embassy! -- Bernard Cornwell
For what?" the Lord of Douglas demanded. "For -- Bernard Cornwell
So most priests are weak men, but like all men, given some small authority, they become tyrants. And because so many priests are fools they will not think, but simply repeat the things they learned. Things change, but priests do not change. And now things are changing fast. -- Bernard Cornwell
You're a Christian?"
"You believe in miracles?" I asked, and he nodded. "Then you'd better fetch your five loaves and two fishes," I went on, "and pray that your wretched god provides the rest. -- Bernard Cornwell
He needed to know it, see it, smell it, and survive it. I was training the boy not just to be a warrior, but to be a king. -- Bernard Cornwell
To ask another man's blessing is simply to avoid taking the responsibility. -- Bernard Cornwell
There's a time for caution,' I said, 'and a time to just kill the bastards. -- Bernard Cornwell
ground, then drank some and fancied it -- Bernard Cornwell
The monks had murdered Danes and Ragnar had punished them, though these days the story is always told that the monks were innocently at prayer and died as spotless martyrs. In truth they were malevolent killers of women and children, but what chance does truth have when priests tell tales? -- Bernard Cornwell
It's better to make the wrong choice," my father had continued, "than to make no choice at all. -- Bernard Cornwell
He has a mouth, lord," Gerbruht said.
"I envy him," I said.
"Envy him, lord?"
"Most of us have to lower our trews to shit. -- Bernard Cornwell
So long as we remember names, so long those people live. -- Bernard Cornwell
Always fight the horse, not the rider. -- Bernard Cornwell
the rocketmen ran for cover. The missiles -- Bernard Cornwell
We had to fight, because to decline battle was a defeat. -- Bernard Cornwell
I forget your name," I said.
"Most people spew shit from their arse," he retorted, "you manage it with your mouth."
"Your mother gave birth through her arse," I said, "and you still reek of her shit. -- Bernard Cornwell
You spent it on oil for your hair,' I said, 'and on baubles for your whores, on furs and on horses, on jewels and on silk. A man, Lord Eardwulf, dresses in leather and iron. And he fights. -- Bernard Cornwell
He thinks with his heart, Uhtred,' Alfred said, 'not his head. You can change a man's heart, but not his head. -- Bernard Cornwell
You should always plan your battles form the enemy's point of view. -- Bernard Cornwell
You will tell him that Uhtred of Bebbanburg is in a mood to kill. -- Bernard Cornwell
Giving inspiration to a lawyer, Sharpe thought sourly, was like feeding fine brandy to a rat. -- Bernard Cornwell
had given an oath and honor binds us to paths we might not choose. -- Bernard Cornwell
The rest merely requires common sense; it is like a boxing match, the more you punch the better it is. -- Bernard Cornwell
You can't take a city without shedding blood. -- Bernard Cornwell
We are almost men, not quite warriors, and on some fateful day we meet an enemy for the first time and we hear the chants of battle, the threatening clash of blades on shields, and we begin to learn that the poets are wrong and that the proud songs lie. -- Bernard Cornwell
We fight them where we choose or where we must, not always when we want. -- Bernard Cornwell
I had learned to hide my soul, or perhaps I was confused. Northumbrian or Dane? Which was I? What did I want to be? -- Bernard Cornwell
Words are like breath," she said, "you say them and they're gone. But writing traps them. -- Bernard Cornwell
How can a god disapprove of a good hump? -- Bernard Cornwell
Of jackets that had their sleeves threaded onto two poles cut from an ash tree -- Bernard Cornwell
That dawn is seared on my memory, burnt there by the flames of a hall-burning. There was nothing we could do except watch. -- Bernard Cornwell
He was loose in his enemy's rear, he was angry, and he was ready to give the bastards a taste of hell on earth. -- Bernard Cornwell
He'll fight like a bull,' I said, 'and he's honest. But does he think like a wildcat? -- Bernard Cornwell
The hall's door was framed by a pair of vast curved bones that had come from some sea monster. -- Bernard Cornwell
Were the Romans Christians?" I asked him, remembering my curiosity at the Roman farm. "Not always," Ravn said. "They had their own gods once, but they gave them up to become Christians and after that they knew nothing but defeat. -- Bernard Cornwell
I knew a man who had a dumb wife. He was ever so happy. -- Bernard Cornwell
Step forward again, hold the shield steady. Peer over the top. Fear is screaming somewhere deep. Ignore it. You can smell the shit now. Shit and blood, the stench of glory. The enemy is more frightened. Kill them. Keep the shields steady. Kill. -- Bernard Cornwell
The Gods play games with us, but if we open ourselves then we can become a part of the game instead of its victims. -- Bernard Cornwell
Being alive is bad in a Christian! We say people are saints if they're good, but how few of us become saints? We're all bad! Some of us just try to be good. -- Bernard Cornwell
Men fear wanderers for they have no rules. The Danes came as strangers, rootless and violent, and that, I thought, was why I was always happier in their company. -- Bernard Cornwell
But men inspired by prophecy will attempt any foolishness in the knowledge that the fates have ordained their victory. -- Bernard Cornwell
I have learned that it is one thing to kill in battle, to send a brave man's soul to the corpse hall of the gods, but quite another to take a helpless man's life ... -- Bernard Cornwell
So you settle to be a slave, eh? Yes, lord, no, lord, let me hold your prick while you piss all over me, lord? -- Bernard Cornwell
So we all die?'
"No, no, no! We fight them!'
'How do you fight a dragon?'
'With prayer, boy, with prayer.'
'So we do all die -- Bernard Cornwell
I don't care if he's got a tail and tits, just take me to him." The -- Bernard Cornwell
It's fun. I sit down every day and tell stories. Some folk would kill to get that chance. -- Bernard Cornwell
I shook my head. 'Killing isn't woman's work,' I said. 'Why not?' she asked. 'We give life, can't we take it too? -- Bernard Cornwell