Bernard, I first became aware of you work after watching Sharpe's Rifles on UTV when it was first screened a good many years ago and subsequently watched all episodes screened which put me on to your books. I have read everything you have written to date. One aspect I particularly liked, being an Irishman myself, is the historical references and the mythological anecdotes (I'm thinking Cuchulainn here) that you have dotted around the many diverse Irish characters in your stories. I have often felt very sad when a character I've liked has died during a book, I can think of no greater compliment I can give to an author, other than buying books, than saying how your wonderful characterisation has endeared a great many characters to me. I'm thinking offhand here but the ones who stand out are Daniel Hagman, Major Hogan, Sagramor, Merlin and obviously Arthur. Without the books in front of me at the minute I can't name some others I wanted to from the Starbuck Chronicles and other friends of Sharpe. I look forward to (hopefully) seeing Starbuck at Fredricksburg where you may shed some light on the myth that we Irish only fought fot the Union. The Winter King Chronicles stand out as the best you have written in my mind, a legend that has always fascinated me. I also want to compliment you on your thrillers. I was shocked to see on the site that Scoundrel was not published in the US. I would describe myself as an Irish republican, though a staunchly constitutional one, and that book in my view gave a great dissemination of the conflict in the north as any I have read. There is just one reservation I have for the new Sharpe books that you are currently writing. I only read Sharpe's Prey recently and was unfortunately less happy with it than others. I felt Sharpe was being turned into some sort of a secret agent/superhero character used by the then secret service of Lord Pumphrey. To go this route in my view would devalue Sharpe as a character. I admire Sharpe for his leadership (Waterloo, Enemy), his courage (Siege, Eagle), his humanity (Revenge, Honour, Sword) and for the way you have documented his progression up the ranks against the odds and the close knit nature of the army unit. I think I like Sharpe to be in the army, not contracted out to the secret service. I hope you do not feel that comment over critical but I think it just echoes the fact I am a traditionalist by nature. I was glad to have the opportunity to access this site and thank you again for providing me with so many characters that I have enjoyed and still do. Conor Keelan
Thanks for your message Conor and your many thoughtful comments. I appreciate hearing from you.