Your Questions

Q

read all your non-Sharpe books - now on #9 in Sharpe series - reading in chronological order which raised this question: the first books published dealt with the penisular campaign but in those books there were references to Sharpe's adventures in India and Denmark - had you planned to go back in time with now published stories and planted those details or was this just background material that later developed into those earlier stories? Rob Rose

A

It was the latter - it was background material that was later reworked (and sometimes changed when it didn't work, alas).


Q

Mr. Cornwell, I purchased Sharpe's Eagle when it was first published in 1981. I have since collected, and loved, every one of your historical novels as soon as they were available. However, whenever I look at my "Cornwell" shelves I am annoyed by the paperpack edition of Sharpe's Tigers. I think it is one of the best of the Sharpe's novels, but it apparently was never released in a hardbound edition in the US. So it sits among my First Editions looking like a poor relative. Why did this happen? Or am I wrong and a hardbound edition escaped my notice? Gregg Singer

A

You're annoyed? So am I, but HarperCollins US never issued a hardback edition - why? you would have to ask them. Your best bet, I fear, is to get a UK hardback edition in the second hand market - they're not expensive and it will look a lot better than a paperback.


Q

Just got back off my holidays, where I read Vagabond and The Gallows Thief back to back. They are both up to your usual high standards. Only you and David Gemmel seem to be able to acually make my heart race when I read one of your action scenes. I think the Gallows Thief would make a great Sunday night TV period crime drama which could give Poirot, Cadfeal and even Sherlock a run for thier money. Have you plans to write further adventures for the Gallows Thief? Wayne Jones

A

It's possible, but no promises as to when!


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell, I've just started reading your "Sharpe" series and am finding them most enjoyable and informative. Since I never studied any history at school, I've found it extremely enjoyable ever since and the Napoleonic Wars occupied me as a reader and occasional wargamer in my twenties. I enjoy your mixture of education and entertainment. After so many books, details may escape you, but is rifleman Matthew Dodds (Sharpe's Havoc) the same who did so well when separated from his company in C.S.Forester's novel? I hope so, it would be a pretty compliment to Hornblower's creator. Thanks again for your work. John Clark, Dunedin, New Zealand.

A

Yes - well-spotted!


Q

Since I was 6, I've admired the Arthur´s stories - maybe because of a cartoon I used to see, my first touch with this era...:) I´m almost 30 and a friend of mine gave me this year the most wonderful gift I ever had: Warlord Trilogy. No words, it´s just FANTASTIC! I live in Brazil and I´m looking for your books as a crazy...:P The way you write is precise. However, for my surprise - and destroyed all my childhood dreams..:D - you describe Lancelot as a "bad guy". Just another way to describe him or did you find any historical thing that shows him like this? Another character that how you described surprised me was Guinevere. Almost all books and films I saw about King Arthur she is an "angel, sweet and fragile", but as she appears in your book she is almost shown as a "warrior", with her 4 dogs, powerful soul, with red hair not blonde as gold. Not saying that these "new" Guinevere and Lancelot are not good, but just curious about your "decision" to write them like this. Congrats for your books, the way you write is really really wonderful! Sorry to take your time. Thx. Ahnis Fraga

A

I don't think it's possible to write books keeping characters the same as they are in every other book - in other words, if I'd just written the Arthur legend the way it is usually written, why bother? And I suppose if you have Guinevere being unfaithful to Arthur with Lancelot, then that tells us something about their characters, does it not? And it hardly suggest a sweet, fragile angel!


Q

"Says So in the Scriptures"!!! I love this line, it make Hawkswill so real. What was your inspiration & more importantly, what are these scriptures he keeps talking about? They seem to contain a whole lot of useful information. Regards Michael

A

I suspect it's the Bible. Doubt he ever read it, but he appeals to its authority a lot.


Q

Sir, The Scholars Bookshelf, a mail order bookstore, advertises "Sharpes Charge" "In the fall of 1810 Richard Sharpe finds himself in the thick of the battle of Bussaco, the sack of Coimbra, and on the lines of Torres Vedras in a climactic battle. 2003:320 pages. (HarperCollins)" Now, Sharpe has charged aplenty in your books, but not (so far) in your titles. I can find no trace of this title at Amazon or on your web site. What gives? In regards to your titles, while they are eye catching and as harsh as that machete on steroids you have Sharpe lub around on his sword belt, I often think they could be improved. As a history teacher and retired Marine (Master Sergeant, 1973-95) I occasionally fantasize about some titles for Sharpe books which would truly reflect the grim realities of war: "Sharpe Hurrys Up and Waits" "Sharpe Stands in Line" and one which I think has real possibilities, "Sharpes Murphy - Sharpe in the Campaign Where Nothing Went Right" Feel free to use them, I promise not to sue. Sincerely, Shawn Scanlon

A

The title ' Sharpe's Charge' was scrapped in favour of Sharpe's Escape, which is due to be published in April 2004 (click on 'What's Coming' for more details). I like your ideas, but the problem is that after 20 books the titles are sort of traditional now, and I guess I'll keep them that way - though I'm incredibly tempted by 'Sharpe in the Campaign Where Nothing Went Right'. Might use that one.


Q

Thank you for your books, your stories and your style that combines a romantic sense of history with the harsh reality of war in whatever period you are in. I am just learning about using the net for writing research. Specifically right now I'm trying to find the lyrics to the songs that were of an Irish rebel nature on the way to Waterloo. I'm sure I read that somewhere in Holmes's work. So, the question is: do you know of any websites that you may use for period details of 1815 Ireland... or of the British army. many thanks. mark

A

Alas no. I fear all my research is done from books or documents.


Q

Dear Bernard let me first start by saying I hope you had a nice christmas and I wish you a very happy new year. Second in Sharpes Escape will the interesting Colonel Trant be making an apperance? And at Bussaco which French column will Sharpe be fighting or will it be both? As for Starbuck when you get back to him will he be with Barksdale in the street fightinng in Fredricksburg itself? And will he be with Longstreet and Lee at Maryheights or with Jackson and Meade's almost breakthrough? P.S This is just a request from me nothing more and you probably get thousands of these every day but please please do not kill Starbuck at Gettsyburg. He should be there until the end at Appomatox besides him missing the 40 days between Grant and Lee would be like keeping Sharpe from Waterloo it would be a crime in JMO. Geraint

A

Colonel Trant does get a mention in Sharpe's Escape, but nothing more. At Bussaco, the southernmost. Starbuck? I'm afraid I won't know till I get there! But your request is duly noted! And I think you're right, so Appomatox waits for him.


Q

Hello I was hoping you could clear something up for me - in Sharpe's Enemy Sharpe was asked if he ever returned to the place in London where he grew up and was mistreated and Sharpe said he never did, but at the start of Sharpe's Prey I'm pretty sure he goes back to Wapping and takes revenge or I'm I just getting mixed up ? Please keep on writing the Sharpe books. Thanks Chris Horgan

A

You're not getting mixed up, I am. Or, more likely, Sharpe is. He just lied about it in Sharpe's Enemy (can't trust him an inch).