Your Questions

Q

Since King Alfred chose his daughters’ husband/ knowing Athelreds weak ,arrogant nature /even so for alliance sake/ then why did King Alfred so selfishly hold to “Dignity of Wessex sake” willing to sacrifice “all” of Wessex for his choosing so wrongly/ not loving his country as Older Odda sacrificed his son for the treason of Wessex !! It just didn’t work in the story line and one other thing / Uhtred and Lady Athelfled! / no chemistry on screen / almost painful watching that match-up/ not believable at all and hopefully steered away from in season 5 as it appears it maybe ,ha!  Thank-you

Sincerely.

Marilyn Z

 

A

Not sure I entirely understand your question. Undoubtedly Aethelflaed was married to Aethelred to cement the alliance between Mercia and Wessex, and what’s wrong with that? And we must just disagree about Uhtred and Aethelflaed, they always seem to get on just fine to me!


Q

I have to admit I'm a fan of your books, ever since the first Sharpe adventure.  Those and the Archer ones I've read, re-read and read again.  Like you I fell in love with Historical Fiction when in the second or third grade I found "Beat to Quarters" by Forrester and "The Unvanquished" by Howard Fast. Those two along with my Grandmother's stories of Robin Hood and others set me on the road to much reading and a love of History.  During these days of "plague" or in modern parlance, pandemic, I've been doing loads of reading, just ending the re-read of all the Sharpe novels, with as much pleasure as the very first time;  in fact I had a difficult time putting them down once started.  In the reading of the descriptions of the battles regarding the firing of the muskets I noticed that you gave  in the various books two differing methods of loading,  And as you do so very much research in the development of your work I wondered if you had ever had the opportunity to actually shoot a Brown Bess?  I, back in the "70'and '80's was involved in a recreated British Regiment, The 60th of Foot, The Royal Americans. That Regiment was chosen because they were posted in ST Augustine during the Revolution.  Our Drill guides from the 1770 period had the loading sequence of biting the cartridge, priming, then pouring the powder down the barrel finishing by ramming the cartridge home.  That was what you described in some books but in others you had the priming last, a process that would not have resulted in the rapid fire that British Regiments were able to do.  Thus the question.  In all else you've been great,

 

Cheers and stay safe and well,

 

Terry Robertson

A

Your drill guides are quite right! Bite, prime, pour, ram. Lord knows where or why I got it wrong. I’ve never shot a Brown Bess, but I have fired a Baker Rifle, and can still feel the kick!

 


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell,

This is a question about writing an historical novel series.  Could you please share some advice about the arc of a principal character whose story continues into the second and third volumes?   Specifically, in the first two volumes, where other major characters' stories are resolved, do you recommend including "attack" and "resolution" elements in the principal character's' story, or is leaving these for volume three acceptable?

Thank you.

Jeffrey Zimmerman

A

I’d use them in every book!  You want your readers to read all the books, and leaving it till volume 3 muight make the first two a bit unexciting?

 


Q

Hi Mr Cornwell,

I am currently reading book 11 “War of the Wolf” of the Last Kingdom, in Rome. I take your books on holiday (my reading time) and they have travelled from Ireland to Uganda, Australia and many places in between. What a Journey the Uhtred (Alfred) series has been on. I have also watched the TV series to date and got confused by Uthred’s son. I started reading this series back in 2007 so the earliest books are a bit foggy, but I always thought Uhtred had two sons, one he disowned. Did the TV combine the two sons? I thought I made them up in my mind but then I just read on page 104 a summary of Uhtred‘s children. Are you aware of any sources that accurately list the differences in the TV series?

On a different note, I read My first of your books when I was 18. (The winter King) I am now 41. I was not a reader! I had never bought or read a book in my life (voluntarily) that was not for school. I loved the story of Arthur so I gave it a go. I have now read 17 of your books and love them. (Never read the sharpe ones, but the warlord/shield wall and historic battles I love). It also got me into reading and I have found a few other authors that I have enjoyed across some historical fiction and thriller.. Your still my top one.

Out of interest.  You obviously do a lot of research,  But do you enjoy reading any particular historical fiction?

Just thinking now about going back a reading the Arthur series again (although my books tend to loose pages in the sun heat lol) and maybe starting this series again.

Thanks for inspiring me to read.

Scott

A

I am not aware of any source that lists the differences in the TV series.

I’m a huge fan of George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman books, and my other favourites are the Mathew Shardlake stories by C.J. Sansom.

 


Q

Hello, Mr Cornwell.

I've recently your non-fiction Waterloo book and think it is one of the most readable accounts of the battle I have read. WhiIst was reading the Waterloo book, I started to think about the Great British Generals through history and noticed that many, though not all, started out as officers of Foot regiments.Do you have any thoughts why this might be?

Arron Hook

A

The rumour in Wellington’s army was that the brains of the cavalry belonged to the horses, and the cavalrymen were only there to add glamour to what would otherwise be a sordid affair. I’m sure that’s a calumny! I’ve never thought about your question, but I suspect that there are far more foot regiments than cavalry which might explain the imbalance?

 


Q

Just completed Book 12 - Sword of Kings. I've been an avid of this whole series and look fwd to the concluding Book 13. The character of Uhtred has certainly mellowed and now he is much more of a thinker than he was and also now a confirmed believer in "fair play" I pick up too. Age seems not to have blunted his ability with the sword though! I was sad to see the deaths of so many of his family, all almost listed (a bit matter of factly!) in the penultimate page - but he seemed very accepting of that. Just one other thought there - linking back to Gisela. Gisela foretold about all of his 3 children and how their futures would enfold - however, she did say that Stiorra would be the mother of kings - given the demise of his two grandsons by Stiorra & Sigtrygger, it would seem that didn't come to fruition?

Phil Whitehead

A

It’s not the end . . . the final book does revisit it (in part).


Q

Hi Bernard

I hope you are well and keeping safe. As a lifelong Sharpe fan I'm very excited to learn that he's picking his baker rifle up one last time. I was just wondering if you could tell us anything about it this at this time? Will it be in his later years with Lucille or the early days when he was joining the rifles as there is a gap between prey and rifles or preferably if this is to be the last one with Harper and the chosen men? Possibly on detached service if there isn't a convenient battle around? Sorry for so many questions but I've waited many a long year to read a Sharpe book that I don't already know word for word. One final question and the one I'm most hoping for will Hagman be in it? He has always been my favourite rifleman

Matt Nicholls

A

I fear you’ll be disappointed as Hagman can’t be in the next one. I’m planning a book that takes Sharpe from Waterloo to Paris – a journey that takes just over two weeks and will provide him with some opportunities to do what he does best. Beyond that I can’t really say much as I never know what will happen to him until I start to write him – which will be soon!

 


Q

If you quietly stand just behind the shoulder of any commander in history during a particular battle and see and hear everything that goes on around him who would it be and why?  My guess for you is Wellington at Waterloo.  Mine for sure is Caesar at Alesia.

Ron Filipkowski

 

A

I think your guess is right!


Q

Hi,

Having read and enjoyed many of your books I decided to start reading the Sharpe series in chronological order.  I am currently reading Sharpe's Trafalgar and am surprised to see you have made Sharpe into a murderer.  Why was this necessary?

I'm afraid it is making me think twice about reading the rest of the series.

Kind regards,

James.

A

Oh it isn’t necessary, but Sharpe wouldn’t be surprised by it. He’s not necessarily a nice man. He’s a good man, but a rogue. I can’t remember the episode and I’m just surprised I got that far into the series without letting him murder someone earlier!


Q

I bought your book Sword of Kings in hard bound volume. First time I had bought a hard bound volume book in a long time but I had read most of what you have written and thought it worth buying.

At page 76 the hero and his men are indicated as being in a pasture, hiding- "We had left the road to hide behind blackthorn hedge of the rain-soaked pasture."

At page 81 they were still there "The came from the east, circling below the pasture where we were couched beside the blackthorn hedge." and "The horses turned toward us, their big hooves churning the wet turn to muddy ruin."

However, at page 78 appears "We had been sitting on a bench beside the tavern's hearth. All around us men snored. The wind still rattled the shutters and fretted at the reed thatch and rain still fell through the roof-hole to hiss in the fire..."

I this a matter of concern? Should it be corrected before a new edition or an edition in paperback?

 

Otherwise, good book.

 

Henry W. Bockman

A

You had me worried for a moment, but if you look again you’ll see that the conversation with Finan had taken place the previous night, and at the top of 79 it ends ‘so I had slept, and now . . .’ now being by the hedge. But thank you, anyway!!