Your Questions

Q

Dear Mr Cornwell

I recently finished Sword Of Kings. Another very good addition to the series.However upon finishing the book i'm left with some questions that I hope you can help clarify.

Firstly the whereabouts of Sihtric, I'm not certain if this is answered in a previous book that i'm simply forgetting but is he still alive and a warrior of Uhtred's, and if so can we expect to hear from him again?

And Secondly on the final page of Sword Of Kings Benedetta states to Uhtred that "You did not want her dead" and he responds "But I did". Who exactly is he talking about here because my initial though was Eadith but that seems rather cruel even for Uhtred.

Regards

Callum

A

Last I heard of him he was In Durham – so yes, he might show up again.

It’s honest of him!  Cruel?  Maybe – but he’s confessing to something shameful.

 


Q

Hello.

How much control do you have over the titles of your books or over their cover designs?  I believe that the title of 1356 was at first going to be Slaughteryard, which in my opinion would have been a much more exciting title and would have stood out better on the bookstore shelves.  Also, the cover of the edition of The Empty Throne that I read I thought was quite poor compared to the design that features the crowned helmet on the throne.

I assume that you were overruled at some stage over the title?

Many thanks.

Andrew S. Leeds

A

Really I don’t have control!  I do have some influence – maybe a lot? But publishers are very picky about titles and covers. I can’t claim any expertise on cover art, and that’s more or less in the hands of the extremely clever people who devise covers, though they’re kind enough to seek my approval before its finalised. But titles – OMG – we fight like cat and dog, but they’re the dog and they’re bigger



Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

Thank you for another excellent adventure for Uhtred. I'm sure the final book's action will largely take place in Northumbria, but should he ever return to Cent, is there a chance Uhtred could stop by my home town of Dartford (Tarentefort)? He keeps coming so close!

Regards

B Tidman

A

I somehow think Uhtred has missed the joys of Tarentefort – his loss!  Sorry!

 


Q

I am interested in history early middle ages. Note from TV series Sharpe an implied relationship between Horse Guards and Prince of Wales for lobbying and touting for funds for regimental activities. Reminds me of ICI directorate when based at Millbank Westminster for closeness to MPs at Houses of Parliament. Do you have a source to support connection between Horse Guards and Royal household? I am researching Special Relationship tendency throughout history in particular Rome and Saxon Pilgrims - Resulting British Institute for History of Rome.

John Saliba

A

There was a very strong connection between the Horse Guards and the Royal Family – Prince Frederick, Duke of York – was the second son of George III and was Commander in Chief of the British army from the mid 1790’s to, I think, 1809. His office, of course, was in the Horse Guards. He was a notoriously useless general (the song – The Grand Old Duke of York – mocks him) but a fairly able administrator, except when he began to offer commissions on the advice of his mistress which caused a scandal.


Q

Hi. I am trying to write my first novel, fact and fiction.As I hold you highly in historical facts, I have a two part Question.

1 If an officer killed in the battle of Abu Klea 1885, what would be the approx date his family would be informed?

2 How long  approx would it take for the journey back the the uk?

I hope you don't mind me asking, I just want to get my story as close to true facts as possible.

Yours sincerely

Barry Davis

A

If I remember rightly that battle was fought near Khartoum? So the despatch, written by the commanding general, would have to reach Alexandria, probably. If the surrounding country was rife with Mahdists then that despatch will have to be carried by a sizeable cavalry force. Maybe 30 miles a day? Or can they use the Nile? That would obviously be faster. Once at Alexandria it’s a ship home. Steamship? Sail? If it’s sail reckon on 120 nautical miles a day, if it’s steam then you’ll need to do some research into average speeds. One final thought – and you’ll need to research it – was there a telegraph between Cairo and London? I half suspect there might have been, but I truly don’t know, and if there was did they use it for casualty lists?  If all that is far too much then make a wild guess – three months?  Good luck!


Q

Hi Bernard,

Big fan of yours, love the novels especially the Saxon Stories. Going to keep this short but basically just curious who was the most difficult character you have ever had to kill off in one of your novels? And have you ever decided against killing a character once you've become fond of them?

Hope to hear back, thanks for being so active with you fans.

Brad Parker

A

There was a very annoying Midshipman in Sharpe’s Trafalgar – I forget his name – who I killed very bloodily, but then resurrected. The story behind that goes back to the second book I wrote, Sharpe’s Gold, in which yet another very young midshipman had his head blown off by a French cannon ball – and my editor at HarperCollins bemoaned his passing – ‘he was such a nice young man! Only a boy! How could you kill him?’ – that thereafter I started putting young promising lads into the books only to slaughter them in various horrible ways. My wife read the manuscript of Sharpe’s Trafalgar and, arriving at the midshipman’s first appearance, said ‘it’s awful, I know you’re going to kill him!’ – so to prove her wrong I changed the last chapter and the little sod lived. But yes, I frequently kill characters I’m fond of . . . alas!


Q

Dear Bernard

I wondered if you'd read William James book on the Naval War of 1812 and if you had what you thought of it. I read that the criticism in the book of Naval Captain George Collier over going after the wrong Ship when chasing the Constitution caused him to kill himself. Which I think highlights that these were real people and not just ciphers.

Changing the subject but I had to ask this question but which Archer battle interests you more Najara or Verneuil ?

Regards

Geraint

A

I fear I haven’t read it – and I must – so I will!  Thank you!

Verneuil – because it’s the one battle in France which featured longbowmen on both sides. But both battles are fascinating!

 


Q

I have done a lot of research, but so far I have not found a satisfying answer to it. I would be very grateful, if you could help me out: When were the first castles built in Central Europe, particularly in Germany ? Most scholars seem to think they only appeared around the 8th century. However, that makes little sense to me, given there have been castles in other parts of the world for much longer. They also feature in your Arthur stories.

This issue really bugs me, so I would greatly appreciate it, if you could answer this question.

Kind regards

Ralf Wegener

A

Do you mean castle? Or fort? Of course there were forts. Is there a distinction? Maybe not, but generally speaking we think of castles as masonry constructions and altogether more formidable than forts which, though they might have some masonry, were predominantly earth and timber. I really don’t want to quibble – there were certainly forts in central Europe – but maybe ‘castles’ came later?


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

My name is Andrew Crane and I have been a fan of your for a number of years. I actually remember meeting you for book signings at Hatchards in London in the early 2000s and you signed all the first editions I had of yours. And you were very nice to my sister who was helping me with all the books I had. I was just writing to ask: as you normally do 1 book a year and it comes out around October, will you be doing a book signing in London in October next year? I have bought a few unsigned first editions in the last few years that I would love to be signed.

Many thanks,

Andrew

A

Maybe???  It's much too early to know for sure....