Your Questions

Q

Many people probably don't realize that the last invasion of Britain by a hostile foreign force was at Fishguard in 1797, by French Revolutionary troops of the Second Legion (also referred to as the Black Legion) under an Irish-American William Tate. It was supposed to be part of a larger three-pronged operation involving 15,000 men that had been scuppered due to bad weather. There were supposed to be two diversionary forces: the one headed for Newcastle couldn't land owing to storms, the one for Wales went ahead and actually landed successfully. However, after two days of ill discipline by the convict soldiers, they surrendered to a combined British force of Pembrokeshire Yeomanry, militia, and sailors under Lord Cawdor. It makes for an interesting 'what if': what if the seas had been much calmer and the entire invasion force landed as planned? After Fishguard, it's no wonder fear of an invasion was rife during the early part of Napoleonic Wars. It's for this reason that the Battle of Fishguard was doubtless more of an invaluable lesson than a victory. But I wonder if Napoleon also remembered what occurred there? Did the French also learn some harsh lesson at Fishguard? However, by the time they had prepared a fearsome invasion force during the early 1800's, as we know the Royal Navy was now on full alert for any such plans.

Robert Douglas

A

I’m always suspicious of ‘what if’ stories – and I doubt William Tate’s men (or what was left of them) could have achieved much more than loot a wider swathe of Welsh countryside before their inevitable defeat. As I understand it Tate’s landing near Fishguard was only intended as a feint to prevent the British reinforcing their troops in Ireland who would be attempting to contain the French landing in Bantry Bay. My suspicion is that the French forces were too small to achieve their objectives, even given good weather, and that the quality of their troops was poor – though the regular soldiers under Tate’s command performed well. The legend I like is that Tate’s men mistook the Welsh spectators – many of them women dressed in traditional costume (tall black hats and red capes) for British troops and thought themselves outnumbered. I’d hate for that legend to be disproved.


Q

Mr. Cornwell,

You have went on record many times that you do not have plans to continue the Grail Quest series. However, do you plan to return to the Hundred Years War in any capacity? You have, as you know, already covered the great English victories during the war, but perhaps a novel from a French point of view during the Caroline War? Also, do you have an interest in tackling the War of the Roses? Thank you, and as always, wonderful work.

Christopher Jarvina

A

I’ve thought of the War of the Roses, and thought about another novel with Thomas of Hookton – will they ever be written? I don’t know!  Age creeps up on me . . . . . it’s another maybe.

 


Q

How do you feel about a certain author apologizing continuously about how certain characters behaved that fans didn't like, or situations that did come out how fans wanted? Reading previous responses of yours about characters and situations, the characters often make decisions regardless of what the author wants and they should just go with it, Apologizing all the time seems to me that the author does not trust themselves as a writer or is bowing to the will of the fans whenever the fans disapprove of something and agreeing with them. Would you ever apologize for a characters choice?

Jonathan Mullins

A

I suspect I should apologize for some of Sharpe or Uhtred’s choices!  They appall me sometimes – but on the other hand I enjoy recounting their stories so it’s probably best to leave moral judgments to the reader. No, I don’t apologize for their behavior, only for my inaccuracies. If a reader doesn’t like what my characters do then they’re blessedly free to find another author.

 


Q

Dear Bernard

You've done 2 books on the American Revolution and I wondered if you've ever considered doing another 1 off book on the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. It was horrific battle with honour on both sides. While reading Mark Urbans book, he makes the point that that the charge that Cornwalis fired into his own men was false.

Also I'd love to have your view of this little clip from a certain movie and how accurate you think it was on a scale of 1 to 10 :)  https://youtu.be/qYl58yK4znE

 

Regards,

Geraint Thatch

A

I really can’t promise another book on the Revolution, though you’re right that the battle at Guilford Courthouse would make a fascinating story. I’m getting old and have to finish other projects first!  So it’s a ‘maybe’

I don’t think accuracy was the aim of the film-makers!  So I’d mark it low for accuracy and high for inspiration.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell...

We absolutely love love your Saxon Chronicles and the tale of Uhtred of Bebbanburg- Thank you so much for this wonderful gift. We love to turn off the TV and awful news of the day and lose ourselves in this story.  We also were enthralled with your re-telling of Arthur through the eyes of Derfel. (I should note here that we have the audiobook versions so that we can 'read' as we drive). I don't know if you have any say in who reads your books for Audible, but the reader for many of the books has been Jonathan Keeble- and he is wonderful.  He has a wonderful sense of your words and your vision, and makes the stories and characters  come alive as the reader. We would love to have him as a reader for all of your books! Thank you again for the joy you bring in your story telling!

Eric Erwin and Beth Brookes

A

I do not have any input into choosing narrators of the audio books - but I am happy to pass along your message!


Q

Hi Mr Cornwell,

I love all of your books but somewhat disappointed we'll see no more of Thomas of Hookton. Nevertheless, I can't wait until 2 Oct to find out what mischief Uhtred will be getting into.

My question; can you list out your best selling series in order of sales? I think it maybe the Sharpe series although with the program, I can see the Last Kingdom doing quite well.

Reg McAuley

A

I can't!  I don't keep track.  Maybe my publisher could?


Q

Any news on 5th Starbuck book? Please get him on the march again.

John Hughes

A

Sorry, no news.....


Q

I don't know what input you have on the television, but can you tell me if they are continuing with last kingdom. haven't seen anything after s2.

many thanks,

Dave.

A

I have no input!  But I do know Season 3 of The Last Kingdom was filmed earlier this year (I have a cameo!).  It will most likely air towards the end of the year.  We will post the date once we learn it!


Q

Mr. Cornwell,

I have completed my reading of “Fools and Mortals” today and so am only now catching my breath. You put me back into Elizabethan England as surely as if you had borrowed H.G. Wells’ time machine. It’s a bit of a departure for you, seeing as how there are no grand battle scenes, but this is a marvelous work of fiction even lacking muskets and Baker rifles. I think this might be my favorite of all your novels.

From what I’ve read (Wikipedia), there is no historical mention of Shakespeare having a brother, however, (from the same source) I’ve learned of a Richard Sharpe, who was a player with the King’s Company, starting with women’s roles before advancing into acting men’s characters. The similarity ends there because the real Richard Sharpe would have been thirty years younger than the fictitious Richard Shakespeare, and although I harbor no doubt that you already knew this, it nonetheless provides a smooth transition into my actual question.

I think I have read everything you’ve published about Richard Sharpe - soldier, rogue, hero – except that in your Historical Notes to “Sharpe’s Regiment” you mention that Sharpe’s first action in battle occurred in Flanders in 1794, when he was sixteen. My question is, “Have I missed something?” Is there a novel which has Sharpe fighting in Flanders? I hope you say yes.

Best wishes and a glorious theater season.

Keith Biesiada

A

William Shakespeare did have a brother named Richard (and two other brothers), but curiously, there is very little information about them.   The parish records in Stratford record Richard's christening and his burial. In between there’s precisely one record – he was fined for not attending church. That’s it!

There is not a Flanders novel, and I have no plans for Flanders at the moment - having taken Sharpe backwards in time once I'm not inclined to do it again, but who knows? Maybe as a short story?  One day?


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell

I have just finished reading the whole Sharpe and Starbuck chronicles series, for the I don’t know how many times, (I’m on a long road trip holiday) and I was wondering firstly is Starbucks cavalryman friend Patrick Lassan the son of Sharpe or is the just pure coincidence? And also if in the next Starbuck chronicle Sharpe could visit his son if that is correct? And so meet Starbuck. I know he would be into his 80’s by now, but he was always a strong fellow. Finally I would just like to say thank you for so many great reads, it make the hundreds of kilometres drive much more enjoyable.

Regards,

Archie

A

Patrick Lassan is Sharpe's son.   Will they meet?  That remains to be seen.....


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