Hope you are well!
Firstly, i hope this isn't patronising of me, but i wanted to help one of your readers out. A few months ago a Loren Cohen asked you how Sharpe and Pat can know each other in Sharpe's Prey, when they are supposed to meet for the first time in Spain 2 years later. Loren said Pat had been a sailor in Prey. You said you had "no idea" what she was asking! i think Loren was confusing Pat Harper for Bosun John HOOPER, who of course Sharpe finds invaluable in Copenhagen!
Just thought i'd answer Loren's question for her!
i wanted to ask you about Oaths and Honour though.
I've just finished reading a novel called "Knights of the Hawk", set in 1071, and concerning the post-Norman Conquest. i could definitely spot your influence on this author, because like you with Uhtred he uses the old names for places, and provides a helpful little map for us! The hero, Tancred the Breton, is rather Sharpesqye, being brilliant and bold, with a knack for taking absurd risk, but ones which certainly pay off, and Victory is due mostly to his efforts! Interestingly the Hero is a Norman ! i suppose all us English grew up with the idea that the Saxons were the "Goodies" and the Normans were The "Baddies", so it threw me a little bit reading a story told back-to-front, as it were. History though, is a bit more complicated, isn't it, and the Normans are just as much a part of Our Island Story as the Saxons, vikings, Romans and Celts before them...
Anyway, in the book there are several references to Harold Godwinson as "the Usurper" and an "oath-breaker" and it got me to wondering about the power of an Oath.
it seems to me that Duke William had NO Claim to the Throne of England, other than an Oath from Harold. I'm a bit sketchy on this, but i heard somewhere that Duke William forced that Oath on Godwinson. It was given under duress, not freely.
Is an Oath given under duress still binding though? Or can it be broken?
ii'm pretty sure you dont believe in Magic, but does an Oath have some kind of "Magic" to it, and when its broken...? So, if Harold Godwinson did indeed break faith with Duke William by taking the crown himself, did he is some mysterious way "cause" the Destruction of Anglo-Saxon England? i don't know if you see what i mean there! i'm not sure i i see what i mean there! Sort of like Fate. Once Harold had declared himself King, Fate was set and he was going to lose his Kingdom. Or was it just that fortune favoured Duke William, and went against King Harold. Pragmatism, not Fate?
Certainly Duke William believed God was on his side, because Harold swore over Holy Relics. That was, apparently, a trick though, and Harold only found out he's done it, after he'd done it!
i'm asking you this, because i saw an interview with you where you revealed that one of the characters in War of the Wolf who makes an Oath, will break it, somewhere down the line. So, i'm wondering if you believe an Oath should not be broken, and that the very breaking of it will create negative consequences, or whether its just a neat Narrative device for you to use!
Returning to 1066 though, i always like the way Simon Schama described Duke William's invasion of England, "Not a righteous Crusade, but just a grand throw of History's dice..."
oh, i'm a bit grumpy that Sharpe has been delayed! Still, it'll be a pleasure deferred, i'm sure...
Thank you for taking the time to read this and answer it!
Kind regards always
Still in Wiltshire