I write this message as I listen to the audio book recording of Sharpe's Tiger. This is my first foray into the Sharpe's series, and like all of your works that I have read prior, it is outstanding. Having been a fan of your writings since I discovered them while in college some 13 years ago, I just wanted to drop you a note of thanks. I realize that an author of your stature probably receives these types of letters on a daily basis, so I can understand if this solitary note from an unimportant stranger never crosses your desk. Regardless, this is my piece.
As I mentioned, I originally discovered your writings while attending university, lazily browsing the campus book store for something to distract myself from my studies. The large soft cover edition of Excalibur caught my eye. "Arthurian Legend" I remember thinking. "Could be good, probably crap." Little did I know that this book and the ones that were to follow would affect my life forever. Picking up a story from the third act is never advisable, yet still, I found this tale of Derfel (terrible name, I thought) and his struggles to rid Britain of the encroaching barbarian hordes so enthralling that I couldn't tear myself away to start the series proper. Naturally that would come in time, and since then I have made it a point to read the Warlord Chronicles once a year. I usually wait until the leaves start to turn their colors and the weather turns chill. It's a tradition that I often envision myself passing down to my 19 month old son. This year was different though and instead of
starting The Winter King for a 12th or 13th time I decided to give this Sharpe character a go. If the first half of Sharpe's Tiger is any indication, I am in for a hell of a ride.
Your tales of Uhtred and his quest to rid Britain of yet another barbarian invasion are equally as riveting. I must admit that I smile whenever I find myself rooting for the Saxons in your Saxon Stories series. After all, history has shown us that these are the same enemies that Derfel and Arthur ultimately failed to turn back, and yet here I am rooting for their eventual victory against the Nord. Before starting Sharpe's Tiger I had just finished Death of Kings. I thought that the touch you added during the final battle where one of the Jarls called Uhtred an old man which in turn caused Uhtred to take pause and reflect was brilliant (sorry if that's a poor description, but I'm sure you reckon the scenario). I wonder how many more battles are in this man's future (or is it past?).
I'm rambling now and I'm sure whoever reads these messages for you has probably deleted it by now. I just wanted to compliment you on your ability to be so prolific and how you're able to create characters that feel so very unique from one another. Never would I confuse Derfel for Uhtred for Sharpe. Also your ability to be so prolific is absolutely awe inspiring to me. As someone who has toyed with writing since elementary school, the rate at which you are able to produce quality work after quality work is nothing less than astonishing. If only I could finish a single story in the time you write five. I don't know what your true thoughts on a higher power may be, but it seems to me as though it's a god given gift. Perhaps it's just good old fashioned hard work.
Much admiration and respect,