Bulletin Board

Q

Dear Bernard,

I have long been a fan of your books and have always thoroughly enjoyed them. So I was very disappointed that in your blurb for The empty throne you have totally ignored the existence of Bodicea and Cartimandu. Both queens of English tribes during the Roman Era. Therefore before the time of the lady of Mercia.

 

Regards Linda.

A

Why would I mention them? They have nothing to do with the Saxon settlement of Britain, they never even met a Saxon! They are, in short, irrelevant to the story I’m telling.

 


Q

Let's find Harald Haldrada currently resting below a B road outside Trondheim in Norway.It was thanks to him that William won at Hastings and he was the last Great Viking.I am a retired corporate lawyer and descendant of Somerled the (part) Viking.

Best wishes

Kevan McDonald

A

Poor Harald. He was, indeed, responsible for William’s victory! We’ve just found Richard III under a car park and it seems possible that Alfred the Great’s grave is lost beneath a car-park in Winchester, so why not a B road for Harald?


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

As a keen (if belated) reader of your Sharpe novels (and your A-1 history of Waterloo 1815 also) I was intrigued to read the passing mention in Sharpe's Tiger of the de Meurons who fought under Wellesley at Seringapatam. Some years ago an acquaintance (a client of my law practice) asked me about a screensaver photo on my office computer, an aerial photo of the old Dutch Fort of Galle, Sri Lanka, where I spent a year in the early 1970s as a VSO (UK) school teacher. He mentioned that his Scottish-resident late grandfather had lived in Ceylon as a young man, but apart from that he knew almost nothing of his forbear's personal history. Long story short, after some research into the original family surname (Joseph) we discovered that he was a direct descendant of a de Meuron soldier called Abraham Joseph, therefore possibly Jewish by religion or heritage and originally from Alsace-Lorraine region, who had joined up with the Swiss de Meurons in the later 1780s as a young man and soon became part of the garrison at Galle Fort when the regiment was hired out to the VOC (Dutch East India Company). After the British seized the island early in the war with France, aided by subterfuge involving a secret message hidden in some cheese sent to the de Meuron local commander from the Compte de Meuron himself who supported the British, Abraham elected to remain in Ceylon as a civilian while his erstwhile colleagues still serving with the de Meuron regiment were hastily sent by the British military to India and (ultimately) Canada where some permanently settled in the Red River region in modern Manitoba after the regiment was finally disbanded in the 1820s. Abraham's descendants remain prolific in Sri Lanka and around the world, becoming part of the "Dutch Burgher" diaspora.

As a Canada-resident Northern Irishman, I am also intrigued by your character  Harper, the Ulsterman from Donegal. In the movie The Secret of Roan Inish, filmed in Donegal, the local actors all speak with accents much closer to those found in modern-day Ulster, especially around the countryside of Co. Derry where I spent my early childhood.

Now I am delving into Sharpe's Devil with relish after finishing "Sharpe's Waterloo"!

Sincerely,

Joe Simpson


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell,

I first discovered your stories in mid 2005 while I was in the Marine Corps (US, not British Royals), stationed in Iwakuni Japan.  Like so many others, I read the Richard Sharpe series and loved it.  It took me more than two years to complete the reading as I rationed myself and only allowed a book every 3-4 weeks.   I have re-read several of the books and am particularly fond of the India based books.

In part this may be because I am an American who grew up in post-colonial Kenya with many Indian and colonial British friends.  I'm actually stunned I did not discover your stories sooner in my life as I am an avid reader of historical adventure.  I currently read about 100-150 books a year (across many genres), if that gives you an idea how disciplined my rationing of your stories has been!

Since I completed the Sharpe books, I've moved through your other books at a very slow pace, allowing myself no more than one or two a year.  Generally these are reserved for a holiday with my family when I can stay up as late as I like without repercussions the following morning!

I was retired from the Marine Corps in mid 2013 following an extensive spinal surgery that has resulted in (ahem) limited physical capabilities and some ongoing issues.  Since then I've been struggling within the Veterans Healthcare System within the U.S. to get the treatment I need and find relief.  I share this with you not out of a desire for sympathy, but rather to illustrate what a wonderful distraction and inspiration your stories have been.

Thomas of Hookton is my favorite of your characters because I identify with him so closely.  Reading about his experience with the inquisitor and his ability to overcome a broken body has been something of a rallying cry for me mentally.  Between my real life models and Thomas, I keep my spirits up.  Your books have also provided an incredible mental relief for me.  On particularly bad days, I pull out a book and lose myself in its pages.  They are a wonderful therapy and your books, among a very short list of other authors, always guarantee me a refuge.  Thank you for your stories!

Moreover, you've been an inspiration to me as a story teller.  I've always woven tales and enjoyed sharing an experience with an audience, and through my reading and the encouragement of respected friends, have decided to write stories myself.  Have no fear!  I WILL NOT be sending you an unsolicited manuscript and asking you to read it!  I will find critique partners, an editor and an agent through more traditional means and seek a way to publication there.  I simply wanted to share that your stories play a large part in my desire and decision to publish my own stories.

I am a particular fan of your battle scenes.  You don't shy away from details, and they are the sort of details one notices in a fight.  Without becoming overly gory, your voice pulls readers into the thick of things.  This may be one of the reasons military men and women identify so closely with your literature.  I am also a huge fan of your historical notes as they have provided me with references I could further research.  I've become an avid supporter of the Duke of Wellington thanks to the notes in your Sharpe's books!

Thank you again for the many pleasant hours and for sharing your stories with all of us.  I look forward to the television series featuring Uhtred that will air later this fall!

Warm Regards,

Ryan Beverly

A

Thank you for your kind message.  And best of luck with your stories!


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell,

You received a letter from Mr. Steven Garvey on August 18, 2015.  He asked if you had heard of "retreat by prolouge".  You said No. The correct word is "prolonge".  A prolonge is a rope with a hook on it, used by artillerists to drag things around.  The most often cited example of retreat by prolonge in US history took place July 2, 1863 in the Wheatfield area of the Battle of Gettysburg.  Bigelow's Ninth Massachusetts Battery had been ordered to retire to escape capture by Confederate infantry.  Fearing that his guns would be overrun if he took time to limber up, Bigelow ordered retreat by prolonge.  When a piece was discharged, it was allowed to propel itself backwards by the recoil, assisted by men hauling on prolonges.  It sounds inefficient to me, but there are contemporary sketches showing the scene!

Sincerely,

Edmund Becker

 

I think your earlier questioner misspelled this word as prolouging.  I found "prolonging" was a method whereby the artillery was not limbered for travel but pulled back a few dozen yards by horses and ropes in order to keep the piece in action while retreating.  I think the British Army probably did it well before Gettysburg.

Bill Brockman

 

A

Ah, thank you! I did know about prolonges, but never made the connection.


Q

Hello Mr Cornwell,

I can't help but think that if schools taught history like you write it we'd have a lot of budding historians in our midst!

Compliments from a half-Finn living in Haworth who owns pretty much your entire collection.

I hope the upcoming TV series does your work justice and that you enjoy watching it.

John Stocks

p.s. It's no coincidence that I've worn a hammer amulet around my neck for many years now (I never take it off)!


Q

Dear Bernard

I'm an avid reader (and aspiring author) and I've read most of your work at least twice (Grail, Sharp Arthur). The Saxon series three times. Haven't read Stonehenge yet. Loved Waterloo too. That's not quite as sad as it may sound - Iife tends to be full on in most departments.

Glad to hear that Warriors of the Storm is coming - I've been suffering Uthred withdrawal.

I've become a nifty sales rep for you. One example; some newish Ozzie neighbours mentioned that they were largely ignorant of British history. So, forgive me (it gets better), I thought of Alfred and loaned my copy of Last Kingdom as a fun starting point. Long story short, the next thing I know is that they'd read (as in bought) the series up to Empty Throne. Result! They too will be pleased about Warriors.

All I can ask is that you keep going please.

Thanks

Keith (whose teenage son, albeit suspiciously, answered to earsling muttered in his general direction at times of duress... until he found out....)


Q

I have read several of your books. I have enjoyed reading each of them. Your style makes reading the stories a real joy. I hope that I am not misled but believe that your stories are as true to fact as possible. After reading "The Fort" and "Washington, a life" by Ron Chernow, I am amazed that we are not a part of the UK. Sometimes, I think that we "won" and became American solely because it was God's will. I thoroughly enjoyed your very illuminating story about the Majabigwaduce  expedition.

Thank you,

Fred Moore


Q

Hi Bernard,

I've always been interested in the Arthurian legends and found your Warlord Chronicles to be my favorite re-telling of the story. I loved the historical setting and especially the tension between the old ways (Pagan) vs the new (Christianity). Genius.

Thank you so much for creating an amazing series and I hope one day to see the stories on screen as a high budget TV show at some point in the future (Vikings, Game of Thrones, etc).

Love your work.

Rob.


Q

I have reluctantly finished the third and final book in the Grail Quest trilogy and thoroughly enjoyed them all. I have learned much from these novels and it is clear you researched your subject matter(s) well. Apart from that, all three were simply good reads and I had to ration myself to extend the enjoyment I derived  from your trilogy. You bought characters and places to life and I could only speculate as to how savage and relatively cheap, life was then.

Thank you for the effort you put in to writing and researching for these hugely enjoyable novels.

Regards

Paul Watson


Page 1 of 777123200Last »