Bulletin Board

Q

Just a note to say that I am thoroughly enjoying the Sharpe books. I friend got me started and now I can't stop! I just watched my first video, Sharpe's Company. It was good but I don't think the actor who protrayed Harper was true to the books. Keep up the good work and thanks for some great reading! Gary Woodburn


Q

I bought several of your books as Christmas presents for my (adult) son, and he recommended that I read "Gallows Thief." I took his advice and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the book. The characters were wonderful, especially Sandman, Berrigan, and Eleanor (I like intelligent female characters, but can't abide the ones who are "fiesty" just to be annoying, so felt that Eleanor was just perfect). I wish to add my voice to the cry that you write another Rider Sandman novel. When I visited Colonial Williamsburg last week, I purchased a copy of "Redcoat," and am looking forward to reading it soon. Now that I have discovered your books, I can see that I have many happy hours of reading ahead! Annette Jackson


Q

I really enjoy your books. I really enjoyed the War Lord Cronicles. The Sharpe books were good too although I have not read all of the them. Stonehenge was a very good story. I have been reading your books for a long time now and have got my father interested in your books also. He likes listening to the tapes of your books while driving. I live in Canada and unfortunately cannot attend your Toronto stop. Many thanks for hours/years of reading enjoyment. Craig


Q

Just reading the bulletin board posting for April 22, like to say that I went backpacking in Portugal twice last year. The second time, in September I went up north to Coimbra and Guarda. I went to Guarda to get to Almeida after reading about it in Sharpe's Gold. Had to hang around half a day for the bus from Guarda and when I got off at Almeida the locals on the bus were looking at me like I had two heads. We're talking back of beyond here. Where I got off , just outside the first barrell like tunnell, it was like arriving in a wild west ghost town, especially as it was late afternoon and very hot, despite being mid September. I was thinking what have I let myself in for but it turned out to be a great experience. There was a lovely pensao just down the road and the walled town itself was amazing. I think I came at the perfect time. Didn't bother with the museum but walked around the town on the walls. It was the atmosphere of the place really, so isolated and eerie in the late afternoon indian summer haze. Then I put my feet up and had a few beers in one of those outdoor cafes inside the town. It was so tranquil that it was hard to picture what happened here in 1810. The people were very friendly depite my pidgin Portuguesse. Thanks for bringing the place to my attention in your book. Tony (from Ireland)


Q

Dear Bernard, Firstly, let me say what a pleasure it was to meet you at Leadenhall Market recently and thank you for the time (all too brief!) that you gave to my son(on his 21st!) and myself. Secondly, I wanted to say how much I enjoyed hearing you on Desert Island Discs. It was the first time I'd listened to that programme since the Roy Plomley days! I loved your choice of music especially the Willie Nelson track you signed off with - have you heard that performed by Willie with Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson from their "Highwaymen" tour? It's even better than Willie's version. You almost had me in tears relating your childhood. I'm the same age as your goodself (60 this year) and had a wonderfully happy childhood which unfortunately hasn't quite continued into adulthood but that's how the cookie crumbles. Strangely I've gone through similar religious circles as yourself and now have no belief at all - I even had difficulty celebrating Christmas last year, it all seemed so meaningless. Anyway, enough of the heavy stuff, what really amazed me was the fact that you had been brought up by Wiggins the builder. I spent 35 years in water distribution in Essex and became involved with most builders and developers during the building surge in the 60's and 70's (and later, but it was in that period when so much of the lovely Essex countryside that I'd enjoyed so much in my childhood became covered in bricks, mortar and concrete). Those builders included C.S.Wiggins of Thundersley! Little did I know then that the patriarch of that company was the adoptive father of a young man who was to become one of my favourite authors! If I remember rightly, Wiggins were one of the last firms to use all their own labourers and tradesmen, transporting them around the county in a double decker bus well into the age of the sub-contractor. Many thanks once again, Bernard, for all the pleasure you have given to so many. Sharpe's Battle was on the box again the other evening - in my book that's the best of the TV films. If only Peter Jackson could be persuaded to make a film of, say, Sharpe's Waterloo - that would be an epic! Stonehenge would make a great movie too, don't you think? Anyway, if you're reading this I've taken up enough of your time. Enjoy yourself on your boat when you get to the island! Kindest regards Richard Hobart

A

Thank you! It was a pity they played the wrong Willie Nelson track, but it was still a good one. I fear my adoptive father did manage to concrete most of south-east Essex - a great pity. I was back there last year and couldn't believe how little of the countryside was left . . . ah well.


Q

Bernard, just typing to say a couple of things - firstly, I love your books. I started with the Sharpe novels, then Starbuck, then Thomas of Hookton. I've now just completed the Warlord Chronicles - these 3 books are great literature, nothing less. Secondly, I noticed a post about Lord of the Rings and breaking squares. You (and the chap who posted) are right that cavalry didn't break squares unless they were incredibly lucky - I just thought I'd say that, in the Two Towers, the uruk-hai are broken by the cavalry because they're blinded by the sun and lift their pikes - as for Return of the King: I haven't a clue how the orcs were broken there! Tolkien hints that they were surprised, but that isn't so with the film (not that I'm a complete Lord of the Rings geek!) Looking forward to what's to come! Best wishes, Adam


Q

UNABASHED FAN MAIL! Just finished Sharpe's Escape--wonderfully enjoyable! And the best line from the book? p.357, "Sharpe and Harper will march again." Keep it up! How about an early Sharpe, leading up to his "enlistment" and his first months or years as a redcoat? And can you suggest "they" publish a second "Music of Sharpe" for us to buy? Best Wishes, Jesse C. Giles, MD

A

Glad to hear you enjoyed Sharpe's Escape. I have no plans for an early Sharpe book and no say at all regarding the 'Music of Sharpe' - but perhaps if they do make another film, we'll get more music too.


Q

Enjoyed you on Dsrt Islnd Discs--interested to see you once lived in N.Ireland--do you ever get back this way? --you would notice a change--I have Cornwalls ( I presume same name ) in my own family tree--in C18th Co Tyrone--Dr. Gabriel Cornwall and his sister Margaret married to McReynolds.--Good luck to you--Alister McReynolds.

A

I get back too seldom (long way from Cape Cod), but do manage it every four or five years, and how splendid to think I might have Ulster blood!


Q

Dear Bernard, My name is Samuel Rocca. My appreciation came from Jerusalem, in Israel, quite far! I'm a passionate of both Napoleonic wars and of the British Army. The latter interests me for personal reasons. My cousin, who served during WWII in the Royal Engineers in North Africa and in Italy always showed me the photographs he took during the war. Reading on the Napoleonic Wars, mainly the India and Peninsular Campaigns is my main hobby! My first book was of course Hornblower, but that was many years ago. From then I spend my free time reading memories from the period, both British and French, no matter if it's Cavalie Mercer or Marbot! Well your Sharpe read so real, like to open "memoires" from one of the Napoleonic Wars veterans! My love history with Sharpe began many years ago. I began to read my first Sharpe in 1992, when I began my military service. Well, it was the ideal books! Never a dull moment (reading Sharpe of course, not in my military service!). From then till now I always strived with success to get the last Sharpe novel. No matter how. The end justifies the means...Now I'm reading with much pleasure Sharpe's Escape. I visited more than once the battlefield of Waterloo, as my wife is of Belgian origin. Well, with the exception of good beer there are not much others things to do over there, than to visit battlefields. I must say that I do not just like Sharpe, I adore it! As a person that spent three years in the army, and every year has to do a month of reserve, you painted Sharpe not just realistically, but as the quintessence of the perfect field officer. Well, also Harper is the perfect Sergent! I would not mind to see Sharpe fighting also in Southern Italy with Stuart, at Maida (I visited the battleside), or at Buenos Aires with Beredsford. I'm happy that in 1814, your much decorated veteran of the Peninsula, was not sent to North America... Thank you very much for the good time Mr. Sharpe gives me. Your Obedient Servant Samuel Rocca, Esq.

A

Thank you very much for your kind message. I think it's too late to post Sharpe to Maida (fascinating though it is), and I confess I've never really taken a lot of interest in the Buenos Aires expedition. I think I shall probably keep Sharpe in the peninsula.


Q

I have just been thinking about the various fates of the women in Sharpe's life, like a couple dying, others stealing his fortune and others simply leaving him. I think just about the only thing you haven't done is for a woman to leave Sharpe for another man, Sharpe killing that man, leaving the woman crying over the body. Sharpe was always a moody bastard. Adrian.

A

Jane left him for Lord Rossendale - doesn't that count? But you're right, he is moody!