Your Questions

Q

Dear Bernard,

Looking forward to picking up my copy of War of the Wolf tomorrow and to watching TLK series 3 next month, hopefully.

Unfortunately, I can't make it to the UK to catch up with you on the tour, but I've heard you have a cameo role in the new TV series and have seen you looking distinguished in a photo from the show.

May I ask you if your cameo role is as a generic warrior etc or are you playing a named character & if so, who is it?

Have a safe trip. I'm still hopefull you'll be able to visit the Isle of Man one day - or maybe Uhtred will.

Thanks.

Boakesey from the IoM

A

Oh, I’m just an unfortunate Dane who wanders into Uhtred’s path at the wrong time. Nothing distinguished!

 


Q

I have spent many enjoyable hours in your assorted worlds.

Considering the times he lived in and the many battles he fought in, did Wellington ever personally kill anyone?

Thank you.

Paul Gurske

A

Probably not, and if he did he never mentioned it.  He did once draw his sword in anger (when his horse was piked at Assaye – the incident is in Sharpe’s Triumph), and he came very close to being captured just before Talavera


Q

Hi Bernard,

Have you ever visited the Minack Theatre in Cornwall? They perform all sorts of plays - including Shakespeare - and prom-style concerts. We couldn't properly visit due to unfortunate circumstances, but did purchase a DVD with some interesting information. It's run by a mix of paid and voluntary staff, some of whom also act parts. Construction of the theatre itself was started by an enigmatic and stoic woman by the name of Rowena Cade in the 1930's. By the time of her death in 1983, local friends and family became involved with the administrative and day-to-day running of the trust, adding to and improving the layout ever since. As dramatics is one of your keen hobbies, thought I'd mention it.

Robert Douglas

A

I’ve never visited the Minack, though I do know of it. The problem is that their season more or less coincides with the season of the theatre where I make an idiot of myself – so visiting Cornwall is difficult.


Q

I discovered de Hautevilles (Tancred, Robert Guiscard, Roger I) in my family tree, and was fascinated by their stories.  William the Conqueror was a bastard who did not want his distant cousins around so they became the Vikings in the Mediterranean and some of their children went on the First Crusades and then were rumored to have brought back items to hide in William the Conqueror's church, the Lincoln Cathedral.  If you had several lifetimes, I bet you would write about them.  I just want to make the suggestion that I would find that to be very interesting if you were to ever write of them.

John Johnson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tancred_of_Hauteville

A

That’s kind of you!  I won’t promise to write about them, but who knows?

 


Q

Hello Mr Cornwell,

I really enjoy your books and am always amazed when you say that you do not outline your novels. How do you keep track of characters' backgrounds and lives? Do you check back in earlier books of the same series or do you keep notes on characters as you write? Is it all in your head? I just wonder how you do it when you need to remember some character traits, especially of less important characters. You have created so many characters over time that this really puzzles me.

Thank you for your time!

Matthias

A

I cheat – at least writing Uhtred’s stories. I have all the books in one monstrous file on the PC and if I’m writing about a character I do a very quick whip through with the ‘find’ button to discover what I’ve said about him or her.

 


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell

As a huge fan of the Sharpe series myself I wonder how you view the way the Duke Of Wellington was played in the Sharpe episodes, firstly by David Troughton and then Hugh Fraser?

I have seen your lecture on the Duke on Youtube and am curious as to whether you feel they portrayed him correctly? Yes they added a prosthetic nose but were you happy with their performances?

Thank you for your time,

Michael.

A

I was very happy with both!  And I have a print of the Duke made in 1814 and he’s the spitting image of Hugh Fraser!

 


Q

Hi Bernard

I am interested in your approach to character development, particularly in Richard Sharpe.  Sharpe started as a ne'er do well, reluctantly in uniform, and over the course of a Classic series of books became a great leader and role model (and I can see the same in Jack Aubrey).  Did you have this in mind from the outset?  What qualities in a leader do you think Sharpe exemplifies, and do you think his leadership is flawed?

James Stuart-Mills

A

I certainly didn’t have it in mind from the outset . . . Sharpe developed as I wrote the books. Is his leadership flawed?  Lord knows – he’s a very flawed man, but an effective one.  Very effective, so I suspect he is a good leader despite his many faults.


Q

Hi Mr Cornwell.

Love your books, esp, Uhtred. Do you have any idea what was going on in Lancashire area during those times? All the Anglo-Saxon  and Viking focus seems to avoid that region, and I’ve been wondering why. In Australia it’s a bit hard to know who to ask.

Thanks for making history interesting,

Paul D

A

Lancashire was really part of Northumbria, but it seems that whoever was king in York really didn’t have much control over what happened west of the Pennines, so much of what is now northern Lancashire and Cumbria fell to Norsemen. A Saxon burh was established at Manchester (it’s in the new novel), but Saxon control of Lancashire wasn’t cemented until the middle of the 10th century

 


Q

Battle with the Danes at Godalming and Farnham

I wanted to ask you please if you had any historical basis for this battle - if you found out anything about this area particularly  or did the the battle in the story emerge from your imagination? I live in Godalming and am interested in researching the Anglo Saxon history ...our local museum does not seem to have anything in particular so was wondering where else I can research this period please?

Jo Prudence

A

The battle at Farnham did take place – I suspect I invented the one at Godalming

 


Q

I just wanted to tell you that while I enjoy your stories immensely, I find with almost every book that the nearer I come to the end the more keenly I anticipate the historical endnote. So much so that I often eye the diminishing pages in my right hand jealously, begrudging every one that the story takes from the endnote. I don't know if you find writing them to be pleasurable or a necessary task; they are central to my delight in your books. Thank you.

Joe

A

Thank you for that!  In some books I take a great deal of care (and pleasure) in writing them – though sometimes there’s not a lot to say.  Still it’s good to hear they’re appreciated! Thank you!

 


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