Your Questions

Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell, I have been a huge fan ever since I started the Grail Quest stories a few years ago. I have gotten many a friend and teachers hooked on the Saxon Stores. I would love to know what your future books will be about or what time period they take place in? I was also wondering if you are familiar with Brittan previous the Anglo Saxon invasion during the Roman invasion because it is a subject I would love to hear more about and I think you could do it justice through your wonderful writing. I would love to hear back from you and once again thank you for your wonderful stories. -Heath

A

There are many many time periods that interest me but I don't like to say too much about future projects. Roman? Probably not - Conn Iggulden does such a good job with it, best I leave it to him.


Q

I so enjoy reading your books that it is terrible to reach the ending, knowing that it will be some time before the next is available. Though a U.S. resident, I ordered The Lords of the North through Amazon U.K. and it will REALLY be some time before I see the next in that series. Will there be other books in the Grail Quest series? Thank you for the many hours of pleasure I have derived from your writings. Sincerely, Dr. Bud Gill

A

I'm afraid the Grail Quest series is finished.


Q

Dear Bernard in regards to future Sharpe books with the previous books Sharpe has always been at a victory but have you thought of getting Sharpe to any of the very few defeats in Spain like Murray's fiasco at Tarragona or Wellington's defeat at Burgos and subsequent retreat (Sharpe does re-call this in Enemy) and the first few battle's of the Pyrennes with the French victories (albiet dearly bought) at Maya and Roncvallies and Hill's defeat at Lizaso while Wellington was winning Souraen.

btw Soult at both Souraen at St Pierre Had the oppertunity of winning great victories if he had thrown in all his men straight away but did not and ended up losing. Do you think it was the ghost of Albuera where he did everything right but still lost that stopped him?? Finally Ian Robertson's book on Wellington's invasion of France I can reccommend if you have not read it regards Geraint

P.S Can you give a clue on what battle the next Sharpe book will be set around????

A

All things are possible - but again - I really don't know!

I think it was lack of confidence.

If I knew, I'd tell you - honest - but I won't know till I get much closer to writing it. And thanks for recommending the Robertson!


Q

Mr. Cornwell, I love everything you have written, started with the warlord trilogy and have not looked back. I just have one question for you. Do you ever go back and read your own books leisurely, or is that just too self indulgent? Joe

A

It's the last thing I feel like doing after having written it (and re-written and re-written) and reread the page proofs and the galley proofs, and honestly, you don't ever want to see or hear those words ever again!


Q

Hello Bernard I have just read your latest book 'Fury' and once again enjoyed it. I have all of the Sharpe series books and started reading them back in 1992. I have read most of them at least twice if not three times. You can say I am a fan. I mostly enjoy the character of Sharpe and his rise from a redcoat to green in the 95th Riles, the hardship of the common soldier, the discipline and the reality of the historical fact. I was wondering how many more books you are intending for Sharpe and when your next book may be released? It would be great to get more on the Indian campaigns? Many thanks for such a wonderful series which has keep me entertained for so long and may you write many more. Kind regards Garry Cowan Melbourne, Australia

A

There will be more Sharpe books, but I think his visits to India are over. How many more? I honestly don't know, and have never really sat down to plan them out. Four more? Five more? Truly can't tell.


Q

Bernard, lovely to visit your website. My boyfriend is addicted to your books and was devastated to miss the latest TV adaption. Any idea if these TV adaptions can be purchased form womewhere? Kylie, Australia

Hi Bernard, I have been a fan of the Sharpe novels ever since I worked in a bookshop after I left school. I was wondering if the DVD's of the series are available in Australia? ABC TV are currently running Sharpe's Challenge. I am also looking forward to reading Sharpe's Fury when it is released down under. I live in Hobart Tasmania and have a great view of the Derwent River from my house. Cheers Barry

Hello Do you know if it is possible to purchase the boxed DVD set of Sharpe's adventures in Australia. I believe that Australia is Region 4 format. Regards David Creasy

A

A two disc set 'Sharpe's Rifles/Sharpe's Eagle' will be available on DVD in Australia in November. For more information click on this link: http://www.ezydvd.com.au/item.zml/789903.

'Sharpe's Challenge' is also available now on DVD in Australia.


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell, I am Atharva from Mumbai, India. I have been reading your books for some time now, and am a big fan. I just read Battle Flag and am in the middle of Copperhead (library didn't have any more Sharpe- the man is addictive!). Was there any particular reason why you put the protagonist on the losing side- or will Nate go North again before Gettysburg? And will Sharpe's son appear again?

I also read Excalibur. Why do you refer to the warriors as 'spearmen'? Was it the primary weapon in dark age Britain? Wouldn't a tougher melee weapon like a sword or an axe make a more sensible choice as chief weapon? By the way, of all the suggested locations for Mount Badon, did you choose the area around Bath because of any particulaly strong evidence in favour of the place?

When was the use of the Baker rifle discontinued? Could you please suggest some sources where I can read about Napoleonic weaponary? Sorry to plague you with so many questions but I was always interested in such matters, and your writings make me want to learn more.

Oh, and do you purposely make your heroes outsiders(Derfel is a Saxon fighting with Britons, Starbuck is a Northerner fighting for the South, and of course Sharpe, the officer who doesn't fit),or is this coincidence? - Atharva Dandekar

A

Why put Starbuck on the losing side? Because it's more interesting - by the end the north is a behemoth, and the south is struggling, and he probably knows he's on the wrong side, but that makes it all the more interesting.

Some carried spears, some swords. Spearmen is fine. They used everything. I tried to be fairly specific in the use of the word, but maybe I failed again. No one has a clue where Mount Badon is, so I used a location I knew , and which has been suggested as the right one.

One of the best sources of weaponry but long out of print so you may have to search a bit for it is BRITISH MILITARY LONGARMS, 1715 TO 1815 by
D. W. Bailey.
It is a short and very good book that is lavishly illustrated and has every weapon that Sharpe and company might have used.

I don't think about it - true - but I suspect it's more than a coincidence. I suppose that 'outsiders' make for more interesting characters than boringly well-integrated people - at least they do for me, and I suppose, too, that my selection of such characters is based on something in my own life. Nothing dramatic, but I was brought up by a strange religious sect that worked extremely hard to keep its children separate from society and its ills, and that made integration later on quite difficult. So I'm sure I have a sympathy for people who are slightly out of the normal ruck - and certainly those are the ones I feel happiest writing about.


Q

I am currently researching an essay on the life and character of Napoleon, and the effect his personality had on the eventual defeat of Napoleon. Could you recommend me any historical texts that could help me? Thanks. Regards, Adam Sargent

A

What I'd recommend are the biographies, because you'll find their bibliographies the best sources for such texts. I'd sepcifically recommend Frank McLynn's recent book, Napoleon, which examines his character very closely. You can get a more jaundiced (but brilliant) account from Paul Johnson, and you should probably look at Andrew Roberts's book that compared Napoleon and Wellington. As a novelist I work more from secondary sources, especially when dealing with the French, so I'm not really in a position to list primary texts, but McLynn ought to be helpful. Good luck.


Q

Dear Sir, First let me say thank you for answering all my questions and the hours reading and enjoyment you gave my famly and me. I have started my 1st attempt at a novel and decided to write it on the battle of Bull Run and was wondering what books you used to write Rebel? 2nd I am a Civil war reenactor in Wyatt's Battery and noticed we did not have a regimental color, was this common? (I only ask because our sister battery in 4th u.s. artillery has one.) And I want to do research on that, where do you think I should start? Thank you once again for your time. I want you to know I respect your option more than anyone elses. Lastly Im Bagging you finish Starbuck and let Sharpe raise his children in peace. Adam Azzalino

A

Regimental colors were very common, and usually they were sewn, embroidered, by ladies from the region where the regiment was raised. In other words it's not an official thing, but a spontaneous popular outburst of southern patriotism (applied to the Union as well). I really can't remember what books I used now. The truth is that there isn't an easy answer. You read everything, or at least as much as you can, but plainly you need some specific books on that early campaign. And, I hope, you haunt the battlefield - well worth a visit, where you'll find plenty of helpful books in the visitors center.


Q

Hi Bernard, I am a history teacher who has never had a semblence of interest in the napoleonic wars but over the last year I have read the entire Sharpe series and I am definitely a convert. I have two related questions I would be obliged if you could answer. 1) The book I was least looking forward to was Sharpe's Trafalgar but it turned out to be my favourite of the Sharpe series. I was hoping you could point me towards more nautical, seafaring novels - preferably set during the Napoleonic era. Do you have any recommendations?

Secondly, I have recently started teaching Napoleon at A level and one of the key questions surrounds Napoleon's reputation as a military genius. I would like to hear your verdict. I get the impression from Sharpe's Waterloo that perhaps you consider him to be a little over-rated as a general (consistent use of the column against the line, refusal to use rifles etc). I would be grateful for your responses. Thankyou, Steve Barry

A

I recommend C. S. Forester's Hornblower series.

I think he was brilliant, especially at strategy - the deception of an enemy as to his proposed movements, the quick assembly of an army, and the strike at the vulnerble point. The Austerlitz campaign - or the desperate defensive campaign in 1814 are truly marvellous. Add to that his ability to inspire his soldiers, and his calm in battle, and you have a great general. On the other hand there's the utter stupidity of the Russian Campaign, the hopelessness of Spain (which he tried to ignore, hoping it would go away), and you're left with a mixed impresssion. When he was good he was brilliant, and when he was bad he was awful. He understood the line versus column debate, and blamed his generals for not softening up the lines with massed cannon fire first (a slightly specious criticism, as Wellington was a master of using the reverse slope to prevent just that), and I doubt his stubborn refusal to use rifles had much outcome on the war. I think he's like a great sporting champion - when he's on form he's unbeatable, but it's desperately hard to stay on top form. He showed his strategic brilliance in the lead-up to Waterloo, then slumped to mediocrity on the day of the battle. Which is not to detract from Wellington, who ws certainly not the strategist that Napoleon was, but was a much better battlefield commander. And Wellington, who knew a thing or two, was very nervous about facing Napoleon. It was, in the end, a very close run thing.