Your Questions

Q

Hello Mr. Bernard,

I am a relatively new fan of your work, having read the both excellent Saxon Tales and Arthur Trilogy. Recently in surfing the internet I've come across the Almogavars, who were originally shepherds and herdsmen of the Pyrenees. During the Moorish invasions they became sort of guerilla fighters, and then became permanent raiders and/or mercenaries, with very unique abilities and attributes, famously led by Roger De Flor. But, I'm not going to teach history to you! I'm going to ask, and please forgive me if you've already written of these guys, if you've ever thought about this story? It seems like a heck of a dramatic tale, kind of right up your alley. Thanks!

Clayton Hinkle

 

A

You really do need to teach me because, though I’ve heard of them, I really know nothing at all about them. Would I write about that era? I somehow doubt it . . . but never say never. It is a fascinating idea, though!


Q

I have watched all of the Sharp series and read the books with great pleasure.

There was a reference to the Saxon King Aella, I was curious, because his name is mentioned in the book by Charles Elwell as a possible ancestor of the Elwell clan. Any thoughts would be very much appreciated.

 

Sincerely,

Dave Elwell

A

My apologies . . . I have no idea!  It sounds right, but who knows?

 


Q

Hello Bernard

 

Just a quick question from me.

Im currently rereading Sharpe's Company (which is as good as ever! I think that and Revenge are the best ones of that first series you did. Not that they aren't all brilliant!) Something always bothers me though...

I know that in Rifles, Sharpe has 50 Rifles and they make up the bulk of the Light Compan of the South Essex, , but in Sharpe's Company, you say there's 11  left of the original 50 from 1809.

What I always wonder about is, as the years go by, does Sharpe get in new Riflemen, as the originals fade away, so the Light Company always has them, or do they not get replaced? Because then, it will be basically just Sharpe, Pat and Dan Hagmen left at the end.

Can you clarify?

Thank you

Kind regards

Matt

A

Not sure I can clarify . . . so far as I remember from when I wrote the books the numbers of riflemen shrink. Good job the wars ended.

 


Q

Have you ever thought about writing a book about Harper and Sharpe and how they passed from this world in a blaze of glory, or should I say gory.

 

Loved the way you turn history on its head, especially with the Arthur legends. Have you ever thought about toying with Robin Hood?

Rob Cottrell

A

Never! Let them live on . . . .

Yes, I have considered Robin Hood....


Q

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/04/17/scans-viking-swords-reveal-slice-norse-culture.html

 

Bernard:

I thought you'd be interested in this article and was not sure if you'd seen it.   Although I can certainly believe these swords may have been more ornamental than battle-worthy, I believe there were also fighting swords in use.  Perhaps, the ornamental swords are the ones that were kept over these many years while the rest were turned into plough-shears and such.  Please keep writing well into your 90s -- so much yet to cover!

As always,

Scott

 

A

I did see that article . . and I’m sure there were many badly made swords, but that doesn’t mean they were all shoddy!  We have examples of the blades marked with (we assume) a maker’s name – Vlfberht – which contain steel of an astonishingly high quality. I suspect the quality of any sword depended entirely on the smith who made it, or on whoever manufactured the steel, and a good smith would soon gain a reputation and, presumably, command higher prices.  And, as you suggest, young men would want a sword . . . it was a status symbol, so probably were willing to buy something cheap just for the look of it!  90’s?? I’ll do my best!

 


Q

Mr. Cornwell,

 

I’m wondering if you have any combat veterans (specifically any who’ve served in the last few decades) among your friends, family, or acquaintances with whom you discuss battle, war, or fighting in combat?

 

I’ve read dozens of your books (all of the Sharpes, Starbuck, Hookton, & Saxon series). Over the years I’ve often noticed that your writing on being in the heat of battle - the madness, chaos & unbridled violence - effectively transcends historic and cultural barriers. I think that’s quite normal, as the act of fighting in military combat has become about as global and human as partying, sex, music and religion. However, I’ve found that your writing can actually be used to help people today who’re struggling with the process of transitioning from the soldier (or marine) mentality back into civilian life. More specifically, I find that glancing through history at warriors’ accounts (even if fictional) of the violence of battle could provide a feeling of grim but comforting normality to some who, today, I think feel very separated, distant, and misunderstood by a modern, Western culture that’s become (thankfully) so far removed from war.

 

I think exposure to anecdotes from people who’ve felt the terror of combat (regardless of the time in history) can provide a strange comfort base I can only describe as a "warrior ghost support group.” Since WWII or perhaps Vietnam, in the developed world, the population of combat vets walking and working among us has shrunk significantly (which is perhaps a good thing). Although, that’s a cultural shift that may actually make falling back into post-service life quite difficult for those who’ve been exposed to, or acted with, the savagery of battle.

 

So, I’m just curious whether you talk with combat veterans who’ve served in the last few decades, because your writing suggests that you have, even though you’re writing about Agincourt or Badajoz (instead of Ramadi or Marjah). Additionally, have you considered writing a more contemporary war novel, or even a nonfiction piece (perhaps like your excellent accounting of Waterloo) that connects some war / battle-related themes present in all time periods of your writing?

 

I sincerely appreciate your time & consideration in answering these questions, and also for providing some people with a source of empathy, even if unknowingly or unintentionally.

 

Cheers,

 

Q.

 

Post Script: Sorry for being a bit winded, but I thought a little explanation might help make my questions more clear, I’m not much of a writer!.

A

I have more than a few friends who served in the armed forces and their recollections are always incredibly useful. I’d like to think you’re right and that fiction, or memoirs, can help veterans through a difficult readjustment to civilian life . . . I hope so!  Battle has become distant to most western societies . . so there’s little sense of a shared ordeal. That wasn’t true of Europe in the Second World War, but is now, and even more so in the USA which has happily been spared warfare on its own soil since the mid 19th Century.


Q

Hi, Mr. Cornwell,

Did you ever received any complains from Aethelred's descendants for having turned their ancestor into a motherf****ng bastard?

Did you also received same complains coming from the french or from any one of Lancelot's fans, for having turned him into a motherf****ng bastard too?

How did you respond?

I love to hate your bastards, sir! Hakeswill too!

 

Greetings from Brazil

Eilton Ribeiro

A

Never heard from them!! One or two readers disliked my take on Lancelot, for which I have no regrets. And how can you possibly think that good man Hakeswill is a villain?

 


Q

I really enjoy reading and re-reading all of you books.  I just finished reading the Starbuck Chronicles series again and noticed that the last line noted that "Starbuck would march again".  I was wondering if you had plans in the near future to add another book to the series?

Tim Maclure

 

When are you going to complete the series?

Jen Walsh

 

Dear Mr. Cornwell,

I cannot describe how much fun your books have brought to me these few years that I've been reading them, and I simply cannot thank my friend enough for introducing me to you. Being on Sharpe book no.14 out of 22, I thought I'd try one of your other series, namely the Starbuck Chronicles.

I was really gripped by the story and the characters, which, if I may be absolutely frank, trump Sharpe in every aspect. However I was quite saddened to hear that 'The Bloody Ground' is in fact the last of the Starbuck books.

I know you probably get this question very often, but are there actually any plans to get back to writing Starbuck? And if there are, do you have any date in mind?

With much love from Croatia,

Kristijan

A

I don't know when....but probably not in the 'near' future.


Q

I often wonder if there is a favorite character you like to write. Do you like Uthred better than Richard? Is Derfel your favorite?

 

Is this different from a character you would like to "be". I mean if you were zapped into some sci-Fi craziness in which you would have to choose one of your characters to be, whom would you choose? What appeals to you most about them?

Steve Fontaine

A

Good Lord! I’ve no idea! My favourite character is usually the one I’m currently writing, so for the last six months it’s been someone called Richard Shakespeare (who did exist). More accurately, my favourite character is almost always one of the women. Ceinwyn, Lady Grace, Gisela and, to my surprise, Eadith. Still, for your sci-fi question, and if I had to choose one? Probably Uhtred???


Q

Sir,

In your notes to the Stonehenge book you say that 4000 years from now archaeologists might falsely conclude that Christianity worshipped a sun god because of the alignment of cathedrals. I'd like to respond that such archaeologists might well be right. I refer you to Mircea Eliade's book 'Patterns in Comparative Religion" which, ironically I think, carries the Pope's imprimature. The argument is that religions evolved along with the Indo-European languages that expressed them. Religious ideas were carried from place to place where old ideas were changed to fit circumstances, just as Abraham brought tales if the Flood from Babylonia.

Best Wishes,

Robbie Collins

A

Ah, the roots of Christianity! It’s an interesting topic (just think how much they stole from the Mithraic religion!)  I do remember from my university days, now long past, a suggestion that Yahweh, now promoted to be the god of the Christians, was originally a fire god of the Canaanites. I have no idea if that’s true . . . sounds quite possible though.


Page 1 of 1,128123200Last »