Your Questions

Q

Hello Mr CORWELL

I live in France. I discovered your books recently, I read the first 5 volumes of the adventures of Sharp whose last translation dates back to 1985.

I also enjoyed reading The last kingdom series.

I realize with spite that the continuation of Sharp’s adventures has not been translated in France.

Can you inform me if the next volumes will be translated and distributed in France soon.

Thanking you in advance and congratulating you on the quality of your books.

Greetings.

Fabrice LAVIL

A

I don't know if the French publisher has plans to release any more Sharpe books, but I understand they will be releasing a French translation of Sword Song - the fourth book in The Last Kingdom series - sometime this month.


Q

Hello Bernard.

I am a massive fan having worked my way through all of Sharpe, Gail Quest and halfway through the Saxon epics (with a detour into Stormchild). But my favourite remains Azincourt.

There were rumours of a movie with young Nick Hook a few years ago... the silence. Any idea if this is still a possibility?

 

Terry

A

I have no idea?  I haven't heard anything about it lately.....


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell,

For some strange reason it is impossible to buy books from the beginning of Sharpe series in electronic format in Canada. I mean "Sharpe's Tiger", "Sharpe's Triumph", etc. Actually I believe that the whole Sharpe series has missing books on Amazon.ca.

Though I have almost all of the books in the series on paper, it is much more convenient to read e-books nowadays.

Are there plans to allow sales of Sharpe e-books in Canada in near future?

Thank you,

- mike

A

There was a problem, but I have been told it's been fixed!

 


Q

Hello Mr. Cornwell,

I really enjoyed your entire book series of Uhtred. I just finished Sword of kings and I was somehow puzzled in the last chapter when King AethelStan refers to Eadgifu’s sons as his nephews while in reality they are his half brothers.

Is there a reason behind that statement?

Thank you and looking forward to Uhtred new adventures.

Roland Younes

A

They’re his half-brothers, yes, stupid me.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell

I have been an avid follower of your books since Sharpe’s Eagle first came out in paperback nearly 40 years ago. Throughout that time I have been serving in the British Army although despite coming from good greenjacket stock I only spent 3 months as a rifleman myself.

Your Uhtred books continue to entertain and I have recently traced my own ancestry back to Prince (later King) Edmund, his parents Edward and Eadgifu, and his grandfather Alfred the Great, who is my 36th great grandfather. This has added another dimension of interest!  There is also via another branch an Uhtred in there, but being born in 1120 this is clearly not our hero.

I do wonder though whether in Sword of Kings (which I have just finished for the second time) you might have got your London gates a little bit mixed up? Cripplegate was the gate in the fort - I got married for the first time in St Giles-without-Cripplegate church, as did Oliver Cromwell, but that’s another story - which Uhtred and Finan can see in the distant west. From your description I think the gate where the battle to place is actually Bishopsgate, although I don’t believe it was known by that name in 10th century London.

Could I be right?

Yours sincerely

Rick Keeson

A

I’m fairly sure I am right, but it would immensely rude to suggest you’re wrong. It was a fierce battle, anyway!

 


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell,

since I was a small boy I was interested in the (I thought at the time) glamour of 18th and 19th century soldiers - I remember wishing I could have been a marine serving with Captain Cook - perhaps saving him during his final voyage.  Your Sharpe series, read and re-read over the past 10 years have fleshed out for me so much the actual life of a British soldier at the time, stripped of the glamour.  Thank you.  My father and grandfather told me of my own family's connection with the peninsular war, that my great great great grandfather served in Portugal, fell in love with a Portugese woman and married her, and that this embarrassed his family in England to the extent that he was "banished" to Halifax, NS where he took up farming.    I know that one of his sons was a mate on the Cutty Sark, and that his son was a businessman in Shanghai.  Unfortunately, my grandfather and father were both in Shanghai when the Japanese invaded and much of the family's history was lost when they were interred (my father was 10 at the time).  With my grandfather dead and my father now having memory issues, is there any way I might find out what regiment my ancestor served in?  I have only his last name and what I've told you.  Just about to start your Starbuck series...and looking forward to meeting Sharpe's son!  Thank you again for a decade of wonderful reading!

Jim Atkinson

A

It’s going to be difficult!  However a starting point would be this website: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/british-army-muster-rolls-pay-lists-1730-1898/  which lists soldiers who served in the British army in the 18th and 19th century. You can shorten the search by restricting it to regiments that served in the Peninsular War – and there’s a list of those here: https://www.napoleon-series.org/military/organization/Britain/Strength/c_RegimentsinPeninsula.html  If your ancestor had an unusual surname then you might strike lucky, but if he was called Smith? Good luck!

 


Q

Hi Mr Cornwell,

I have recently finished the book series Last Kingdom and I hugely enjoyed the series especially as it was a completely different kind of series to the usual that I read. I have previously thoroughly enjoyed the Harry Bosch and Inspector Rebus series but anyway that’s beside the point.

The books have had a big effect on me and i’m keen on tattoos and would like to get one of Uhtred in all his glory with a Welsh dragon behind him. I just wanted to know whether he looks like you imagined him to look on the series the vikings (yet to watch this). And if not is there an image somewhere that you can think of that really resembles Uhtred in the way you see him?  I know there’s the description in the books but I wondered whether you have seen an image that really does the character you created justice.

Thank you for your time,

Dewi Williams.

A

I suppose we’re all influenced by Alexander Dreymon’s superb portrayal in the TV series, but (and this is no criticism) I see Uhtred as older – mainly because the TV is still covering the early books and I’m writing the later ones!


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

Mere words cannot express the appreciation I have for you and your collection of published works. Thank you. Your works have lit up my life for years.

I am sure you have been asked this before, but I am unable to find the answer, so if you will bear with me, I will ask again.

Did you ever consider turning the Grail Quest series into a longer series of books? The setting of Hookton and his band of Hellequin seems like a perfect backdrop for a longer series of books, like what you have done so well with Sharpe and Uhtred.

This is not a criticism, as the four books in the series are all phenomenal anyway. Just a curiosity.

Jared

A

I’ve certainly considered it – and still am . Will it happen? I wish I knew, but I’m tempted.

 


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

Congratulations on another excellent un put downable addition to your Last Kingdom series.

I noted in the book you make a number of references to iron rimmed shields. My understanding is that the majority of shields of the time would most likely be edged with leather? Forging an iron rim for a circular shield would involve a skilled blacksmith for some considerable time, thus making the shield expensive. However shields were semi-disposable items. The Icelandic Sagas record participants in pre-arranged single combat bringing a number of shields with them, no doubt in the knowledge they wouldn’t last long against a battle axe or heavy spear in the hands of a skilled user? I appreciate remains of iron shield rims have been recovered through archaeology however I would suggest these would be from ceremonial or “dress” shields owned by chieftains and the like who could afford them?

With Uhtred being born in 866 and Athelstan becoming king in 924, this makes Uhtred 58 for the period of the Sword of Kings. Being a six foot tall, reasonably fit 50 something myself, the thoughts of donning a coat of mail and slugging it out with sword and shield (even if leather edged) against someone of a similar build or bigger seems rather daunting? As you mentioned Uhtred lives to see Englaland united then I take it he will be present at the battle of Brunanburgh 937? This will make him a venerable 71 so presumably he will be limited to giving Athelstan sage like counsel rather than wading in to the battle with his new friend Egil who I note you have also introduced, being someone we also know from his own saga, was present at the battle. Not that you will give anything away of course!

Your reference to heraldic type badges for leaders banners and shields seems a bit anachronistic however I appreciate this gives needed clarity to the reader. The Bayeaux tapestry shows the Saxons carrying dragons on poles as standards at the battle of Hastings. This has been literally interpreted as being a carved dragon or more likely a continuance of the late Roman draco standard, being an iron forged dragon head with a brightly dyed “wind sock” arrangement attached behind it. The dragon head being forged in such a way as to give our an eerie noise when the wind blows through it. As Uhtred’s standard is a wolf’s head, it would be really cool for him to carry forth a wolf head version of this type of standard? I am not after any credit for this idea. It would just be great to read about in the next book!

Kind Regards,

Peter Clayton

 

A

That’s interesting and I’ve no doubt leather was used, but there are references to iron-rims. I’m guessing both were used? Probably the majority were leather-rimmed – and for pointing that out, thank you.

He’s extraordinary – of course! He’s a hero. And yes, he is getting old – like Blucher at Waterloo. But there’s a simple question. Do you want the Battle of Brunanburh with Uhtred or without him? I vote ‘with’!

You’ve lodged the idea in his head – let’s see!  And I disagree with anachronistic – they’re not heraldic as such – they’re pre-heraldic symbols and did exist.

 


Q

What has been your most important research resource for the Uhtred saga? How good is your Anglo-Saxon?

Dick Godfrey

A

I hate to say it – probably imagination? I’ve read all the histories (or a lot, anyway!) and the various chronicles, but there a lot of gaps and contradictions in the evidence. The best I can hope for is to offer an authentic background to what is, in the end, fiction! My Anglo-Saxon is dire, but I have grammars and dictionaries and I can struggle through!