Bulletin Board

Q

Hello Mr. Cornwell,

I’m so glad you write the Saxon Tales series of books. I learned of them when my boyfriend got me into the television series. I was surprised and delighted to find that it’s quite a long series. More to enjoy as I devour the series.  I’m currently into book four.

I want you to know that immersing myself in Uhtred’s stories has been a wonderful balm for my mental health. Thank you so much for writing these adventures!

Kind regards

Angela Bell


Q

I have just finished reading Sharpe's Eagle, possibly for the first time having seen it many times on the TV. Because The descriptive passages give such a general cover of the Army of the Peninsular and the underlying political problems it act as a very sound basis for the following books.The TV producers are to be congratulated that very little is left out of all the plots and sub-plots (women-although it took a long time for him to find Lucille).

I was sorry to see Hogan disappear and delighted to to see Simmerson swallow a coin. Obadiah was genius. He was evil, self-centered and envious.

I have not completed Uhtred yet but you have proposed a hidden side of English history that was not taught when either of us were at school.

Of all your Heroines the one that I most admire is Athelflaed who carried on with Alfred Ideas for a united England.

I could go on for reams but must stop some where but i would like to know more about Thomas the Archer.

Many thanks for many hours of delight

Regards

Chris Gibson

 


Q

Dear Bernard,

I can't remember when it was that I first read one of your books. I can remember that it was bought for me for a birthday and it was "Death of Kings". As soon as I realised I had come in halfway through a series, I wasn't sure whether to put the book down and start the series from the beginning, or carry on and finish the book first. Your story telling had me hooked though, so I finished and excitedly brought myself the preceding books.

Earlier on this year, after years of stories swirling through my head and keeping them to myself, I decided to attempt to write a manuscript. While I have thoroughly enjoyed the writing process and watching the story unfold as I type, there have been a few things that have caused me to put it on hold from time to time. One of the biggest pitfalls being when I stop and read back over the chapters I've written and declare them to be a load of bollocks.

Last night while on your website, checking for news of pending releases, I came across your writing advice article. I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to write that. I found it encouraging and inspiring. It's given me the kick I need to keep going and see this through. And thank you also for your advise to find an agent. One of the things that fills me with the most dread is the publishing process, but I feel more at ease now (though I'm still a ways off completion).

Thank you again. And thank you for bringing history to life through your fantastic writing. You are number one on my favourite authors list (though you do have to share with Conn Iggulden).

Sincerely,

Gareth Price

A

Best of luck!


Q

Mr. Cornwell,

I was all geared up to send you ideas for a book.  To ask for a signed Sharpe copy!  To ask for your mailing address!  To show you my writing ability!  Then I read your note...Stopped me in my tracks.  Guess I'll have to say what I really wanted to say.  In a word (two words actually).  Thank you.  You are a brilliant writer.  My dad turned me on to you.  He was born in Los Angeles in 1936.  To Geneva Rames - a costumer in Hollywood.  He paid his way through UCLA, went into the Airforce and came back to take care of Grandma.  Got his Masters in History and then wanted to be a History professor.  Course the CIA snapped him up and he worked for them for 30+ years.  Hence my birth in Honduras.  Hope I'm not boring you with this.  After graduating from Texas A&M I dropped out of the navy and found a job in Turkmenistan.  After, went to Kazakhstan for longer than a furlong, learned Russian, married a Tartar and moved to Dubai.  I was promoted.  She left me after Anchorage.  Back in Houston now sleeping on an 8 inch bed.  My german shepherd pound dog takes up the rest of the king size.  FYI an 85 lb shepherd goes from being pushed into vertical back into horizontal faster than an aston martin.  But I digress.

My point in saying all this is what I love most about your writing is your unbelievable ability to develop characters.  To make history come alive.  I immediately think of "Gallow's Thief".  Through your writing I felt like I was there.

My dad, now 83, and I have had great discussions discussing your novels.  Of course we both love Sharpe.  My favorite scene is where the walls have crumbled, the enemy has won and all hope is gone.  Yet underneath the rubble is Sharpe bravely clutching the flag.  Notwithstanding he was running away and wound up in that particular position.  Onwards and upwards! So well written.

So, having said all that let me get to the real point.  You are a good man, a brilliant writer, my dad and I immensely enjoy your wit, intelligence and words.

Just a sincere "Thank You".

I've read and reread everything I wrote above.  Would like to delete it all and just say "I'm glad you are alive!" but then there'd be little context.

Best Regards,

James

A

Wow, you’re having a more interesting life than Sharpe and Uhtred combined! Of course, marrying a Tartar was asking for trouble, but I hope it was fun while it lasted! I promise to do my best to keep on living, and thank you! Best wishes to your dad!!

 


Q

You recently answered a reader's question about how cannon and, in particular, the guns of Royal Navy warships were fired during Sharpe's era. I may be able to shed some more light on this.

The Royal Navy moved to gunlocks (flintlock) in the 1740s, mainly to allow the gun layer to aim the piece from behind, by looking along the barrel, and fire it using a lanyard which kept him sufficiently far back to prevent injury from the recoil. This is supposed to have given greater accuracy, and it may well have done within the context of a gun with rudimentary sights on a heaving gun deck! The risk of igniting loose powder was real, but probably less than we might think. Charges were made up in cartridges by the gunner and his mates in the magazine, and loose powder wasn't normally brought to the guns. The backup, in case a gunlock failed, was slow match which glowed, rather than producing open flame, and was held to the priming powder in the touch hole by a linstock, a type of pole or rod with a forked end. This worked well enough, but meant the gun had to be fired from the side, to avoid the recoil, and being unable to maintain line of sight until the moment of firing. Spare slow match, which was already burning, was usually kept over tubs of water during battle.

I think you're right about the army sticking to portfire 9 which is essentially the same thing as slow match) ignition because of the flintlocks vulnerability to rain. There were a couple of ways to reduce this, by making the pan cover fit very closely to the pan during manufacture, which was expensive, and by running grease or wax around it after priming. These were feasible for sportsmen, but not infallible, and rather impractical for gunners during a battle!

Martyn Kerr

 

A

Thank you – I’m sure you’re right about the aiming – a ship’s gunner had to be far more accurate than a gun captain on land – both his gun and the target were constantly moving, I do remember reading (a long time ago) about Philip Broke’s attempt to have centralized gun control on HMS Shannon, way back in 1812. It worked too!

 


Q

Hello Mr Cornwell,

I just wanted to email to say how much I love your books. I am a huge huge fan, ever since listening to the winter king on a cassette player when I was quite a bit younger, can't quite remember  how old I was though. I never got to finish the tale the set of tapes was missing one of the tapes. i stumbled across a copy of the winter king in a local book shop i was in, I immediately recognized  it and had to buy it and it's to sequels. It is without a doubt one of my favourite book series, I love your take on the arthurian tale and have read and re read the trilogy quite a few times now. Which also bought me to discover the Saxon stories. The other series I would say is also one of my favourites. I just got my copy of war of the wolf and can't wait to read it. So I just really wanted to thank you for writing such amazing books and I can't wait to read more of your works. Your an amazing writer and I love every book I have read of yours.

Kind regards

Dustin


Q

Bernard

I've just finished reading the 21 Sharpe books all in a row and have read most of your books. I just wanted to thank you for the amazing stories. You have brought great joy to so many people.

Best regards from down Under.

Tim


Q

Nate Starbuck.....

My husband and I went to Harper's Ferry, Charles Town, Winchester, Front Royal, and Antietam last summer but I hadn't read the books until now.

Walking the Schoolhouse Ridge at Harper's Ferry, and the battlefields of Antietam was powerful, and reading the final book in the series brought all the details back.

What a fine hero you've created.

My husband's great grandfather and great grand uncle were in the Georgia battalion that was there in the cornfield, having joined up at the beginning of the war.  They were also at Gettysburg, and present at Appomattox Courthouse for the surrender, then walked home to north Georgia.

This is an amazing series of books.  Thanks for writing them!

Chris


Q

Greetings from North Carolina, USA.  I am new to your work but just wanted to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed The Last Kingdom.  I bought a couple of copies for my friends!

Best wishes,

Robert


Q

I have just finished reading The Warlord Chronicles and really enjoyed them.  I have also just recently read all the Last Kingdom books after watching the tv show.  (I have had a lot of time on my hands recently as I had an operation on my leg and have been unable to walk). I am looking forward to season 4 of The Last Kingdom to see where the story goes.

Anyway just wanted to say thanks for writing the books!  Think I will tackle the Sharpe novels next!

Kind regards

Emma.

A

I hope the leg is better and you'll be walking - and dancing - soon!