Your Questions

Q

Dear Bernard I want to say that I think the character, Obadiah Hakeswill, is one of the most realistic, believable & enjoyable characters I have read about. I think it's the whole face-twitching thing. I am a bit hesitant to watch the Shapre TV series because I'm afraid he won't live up to my image. I'm currently reading Sharpes Gold & I am desperately hoping that Hakeswill will make a re-appearance in the latter Sharpe novels. Can you confirm this? (please say yes!) What was your inspiration for Hakeswill? Did you base him loosely on somebody you know? And that face twitch, were did you get that from? Thank you for taking the time to respond, it is appreciated more than you ever could imagine. Kindest regards Michael, Australia

A

He's based on no-one I know (thank God), and yes, you will meet him again in a couple of books. Don't be put off the series - he's played brilliantly by Pete Postlethwaite and is, if anything, better than the character in the book.


Q

A series on TV, many years ago that I enjoyed very much, was ' By The Sword Divided', fictional, but based on divided families during the English Civil War. A period of English history that I very much enjoy reading about. Have you ever had any thoughts of writing for TV, or books, a series to cover such an interesting period of English history? Dennis Lane

A

I've thought about it, but haven't done anything about it! It's another possible project, but not soon, and probably never, but who knows?


Q

I was wondering at the end of Excalibur if Derfel was killed the night that Sansum made him guard the monastery against the sais? Kier

A

Or soon after, I suspect.


Q

Dear Sir. Greetings from New Zealand I stumbled on the Sharpe series less then six months ago and have since purchased most of the Sharpe books and half a dozen of your others. The plan was to save some for winter but I doubt they will last that long. I'd like to thank you for exposing me to a fascinating historical period. Severn years ago I started collecting Martini Henry rifles. This has since led to an interest in the Anglo Zulu war. Another very interesting if short British military conflict. Have you ever considered basing one of you books in this war? Regards Barry Iacoppi

A

I am curiously repelled by all Britain's mid to late 19th century wars so I'll probably never write about them. Sorry!


Q

Did Sir Simon Jekyll actualy die? If so I think the Earl of Northampton should have killed him not Sir Guillaume. Alex Verrall

A

He died. Sorry the wrong bloke got him, but that's death.


Q

Dear Bernard For your forthcoming Escape book tour will you be in Colchester and please could you say the date it will be released ?? While you have said you will not get Sharpe to the war of 1812. What about Fredrickson he is over there and Lundys Lane and Cooks Mill would surely beckon for him just as a stand alone to find out his fate after his break up with Sharpe. P.S There is a bit of a gap between Fredricksburg and Chancerlsville in between could Starbuck get to the battle of the Stones River ?? Look foward to Sharpes escape.

A

I believe Sharpe's Escape will be released on 1 April 2004. Don't think the book tour will take me to Colchester, but we should be receiving the full itinerary to post on the Diary page soon. As to your other questions - I'll think on it! But it won't happen very soon - too much else to be written.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell - You may not remember but you kindly signed 'Heretic' for me and 'Gallows Thief' for my daughter, Emma (at Durham uni) when you were in Norwich in October last year. Both were avidly read almost immediately, and we're very grateful. If I may, I have two questions: (1) Do you intend to write any more novels in the first person? Among my favourites are the Warlord Trilogy and the sailing thrillers, made all the more interesting by the singular perspective; (2) Do you intend to write any more modern thrillers? I have rarely read anything as breathtakingly exciting as 'Stormchild', particularly the cat-and-mouse suspense once the Genesis Community had been found and the stunning denouement. Looking forward to 'Sharpe's Escape'. Thanks once again. Fred Marsh.

A

I'm writing one now - it's tentatively called The Last Kingdom and is the first in a series that tells of the repulse of the Danish (Viking) army from England during the early 9th century. I won't say much more except that I haven't enjoyed writing a book so much since the Warlord Chronicles. Sailing thrillers? I'm not planning any more, but that doesn't mean much - it could happen, but probably not in the next year or two.


Q

Mr. Cornwell, your books, I feel, are terribly short, no offence for I lost hours of sleep cause of them, but most of them don't swell beyond 400 pages. My friends judges books by their thickness, over 550 pages are normal for them, and jeers at me for reading such short novels. So Mr.Cornwell, are you planning on writing a longer book? Alfonso

A

How many lines on a page? Most of my books are between 120,000 and 155,000 words, which is probably average. And never judge a book by pages, some publishers put 30 plus lines on a page, even 40 +, others as few as 26 or 27. It also depends on paper thickness! My British editions look much longer than the US ones because the Brits use slightly thicker paper, but I promise you I don't write short books - just average length.


Q

Dear Bernard Cornwell, I read your book "Stonehenge", I loved your book but have one question; in the book Derrewyn says " The stones killed them. The gods did come to the temple that night and killed the man who claimed he was a god and crushed the woman who thought she was a goddess." So did that mean that Lahanna and Slaol did unite just for a second, I think you should have had a solar or lunar eclipse going on when Lahanna ( the moon) and Slaol ( the sun) united for a second. If you are too busy to reply that is okay I would just like to know. Your Fan, Kat

A

Oddly enough that particular stone did collapse very shortly after the monument was built, but it's up to the reader to decide how much divine intervention was involved! I thought about the eclipse, but in the end decided against it. I was probably wrong.


Q

Dear Bernard after reading JM Hitsmans excellent Incredible War of 1812 (Graves editing notes at the end are just as interesting to read) and slightly frustrated that you never got Sharpe to that conflict. Do you think you will ever do any future series or one off novels about what is rather a freshly unexplored area of the Napoleonic wars since Spain/India and the naval side have been rather well covered now. P.S you mentioned in Your Questions responses that you were writing about the Vikings, will it be set during King Alfred and will it be a series or stand alone??? Thanks and good luck with the new Sharpe book out. Tony

A

It's possible. I've got a lot of research on various bits of the War of 1812, but I have to confess it's not high on my list of priorities. The Viking book is the start of a series set during the time of King Alfred.


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