Your Questions

Q

Dear Mr Cornwell, I am a huge fan of your books and would just like to say that I can't wait for the new one. The thing I'd like to ask is, recently I was reading a historical fiction book based on the Nepoleonic war again but this time it was about a French cavalry officer in Italy. I was wondering if this was actually written by you as the style is very similar, as is the hero? I thought it might have been published under a different name as not to upset too many Sharpe fans, your sincerely Philip Ashley

A

I didn't write it (can't imagine where I'd find the time...).


Q

Dear sir- Firstly I would like to thank you for the many wonderful hours I have spent reading your novels. Secondly I would be grateful if you could answer several questions for me. 1) Is your latest novel written from the Anglo-Saxon or Viking viewpoint? 2) You state that Richard Sharpe is named after the Rugby player Richard Sharp and Ryder Sanderman is a keen cricketer. Are you a fan of English sports or have you become seduced by American sports? Steven Storey

A

1) I know this sounds perverse, but a bit of both - but in the end the Anglo Saxon will prevail. 2) I am a fan of both! I cross the Atlantic every year to see some rugby, don't get to see much cricket, alas, and adore American Football. Rugby is the first love though, and in three weeks I'm off to see England play France in Paris. No prize for guessing which side I support.


Q

Hello again, Mr. Cornwell. Here's another question for you: In Redcoat, do you ever specify which regiment Sam Gilpin is serving in? I have thumbed through my copy and can find no reference to it. Sincerely, Alan Kempner

A

I don't think I do - I don't remember - but as the inference is that he must have belonged to one of the six battalions that donated their light companies to fight at Paoli's Tavern I probably avoided a specific reference so I wouldn't be trapped by whatever that particular battalion subsequently did.


Q

Hi, do you know if your series on Sharpe's War is available on video/dvd? I don't have cable etc so I didn't get to see it??? cheers! Rob Widdowson

A

Not yet, but they promised to let us know when it is available - so we'll keep you posted.


Q

One of your readers this week mentioned the Kenneth Roberts books - which I'm sure you have read. Can we persudae you to write about Robert Rogers of Rogers Rangers. Ther is some great material in his life which Roberts had only time to explore in small part. He's a fascinating character. Hope so Thank you for splendid stories. R. Nash

Bernard: A few years ago I contacted you via letter regarding your Civil War series of books. I thought I tried hard to not sound critical, but mentioned that during the Civil War regiments were more the common useage than the term 'battlaion'. It seems that ever since then there have been no further additions to the series. Please jump back in! Also, why not write a series on the American green jackets? Either Rogers Rangers of the French & Indian Wars or Berdan's 1st & 2nd US Sharpshooters? A lot of people from the UK and the US vacation in Jamaica and many British troops were sent there back in Sharpe's time. I just recently returned from there myself. I am looking forward to SHARPE'S ESCAPE !!!!! Very Best Regards, Roger Norland

A

You can try and persuade me, but I'm so stacked up with projects that I don't know how persuadable I'll be. Another one for the long finger? But thank you for the suggestions.


Q

Dear Bernard, I am very much looking forward to 'Sharpe's Escape'. Having re-read 'Sharpe's Siege' this week it seemed curious that Sharpe reveals he is incapable of hanging people, it is "his weakness" he says. This, of course, was the death awaiting Hakeswill before he was saved by the actions of his good old mum! Is there an intentional link between Sharpe's self - confessed weakness and the fate escaped by his enemy or am I just making things up!!!!?!!! Hope you are well. Best wishes, Berj. P.S. 'A Crowning Mercy' was great!!!

A

I hadn't realised Sharpe was so squeamish - he doesn't seem to mind disembowelling people, so I can't think why he said that! I don't think there's any link. Was he being ironic?


Q

As someone who is an avid reader of ALL your books, I notice that on the cover of "WATERLOO" it states that this is Sharpe's last battle. I now see that "SHARPE'S ESCAPE" is to be published later this year.

Whilst not complaining about his continued exploits, I am somewhat confused.

Can you please tell me if Sharpe has a lot more problems or will he be retired soon

Thank you for the pleasure that your work has given me, long may it do so

M.G. Morris

A

You may be confused if you do not realise that the Sharpe books published in the last few years are written out of chronological order. Sharpe's Waterloo (published in 1990) takes place in 1815 - Sharpe's Escape (to be published in April of this year) takes place in 1810. I don't believe Sharpe will be retiring this year - or next.


Q

I loved the ending of Excalibur, mostly your interpretation of the entrapment of Merlin and the duel between Arthur and Mordred. Is there evidence that voodoo like rituals which Nimue performed to make Ceinwyn ill took place during the Dark Ages? Thanks. Andreas Azzopardi

A

I can't think of any direct evidence, but I think it can be inferred from anthropological studies and, of course, from the prohibitions uttered by Christians.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell, I am just writing to congratulate you on a truly magnificent account of the British history throughout several key periods. During my youth I had never cared for reading aside from magazines and the occasional newspaper. It was per chance that I was taken by the cover of The Winter King, that I discovered your Arthur series. In the years following, my passion for reading has become insatiable, in particular fiction based on history. I am now hooked on your novels and was completely engrossed in the Thomas of Hookton series and now enjoying the more famous Sharpe books. Although English born and bred, I have been living in Sydney, Australia with my partner for the past seven years and your stories are able to pluck distant memories of growing up in the English countryside. I realise you must be exceptionally busy (and happy for it as it means more reading in the future), but I would love to know how much location research you do before a book? Is your research purely academic or have you actually had a go at shooting a Longbow before writing Harlequin for example? Thankyou once again for the huge amount of enjoyment you've given me and the friends I've introduced your novels too. Regards, Jon.

A

I always visit the locations - it's hugely useful. Did I try a longbow? Yes. Was I any good? No. Most of my archery information came from Kevin Hicks who can often be found shooting a longbow at Warwick Castle, and who will be at the Sharpe Convention this Easter - that's at the Royal Armmouries in Leeds on Easter Saturday, details from the Sharpe Appreciation Society website.


Q

Hi, Have recently started reading your books, namely the Sharpe series. I have never really been into the period or setting that they are in but I have recently been working on a project based on a computer game called Medevil Totalwar (you may have heard of it if you play pc games) anyway we are making a Napoleonic Mod of the game and your Sharpe's series was mentioned a few times, so I went out and bought one of them (Sharpe's Trafalgar), and I was very surprised that it had me hooked pretty much from the first chapter. So since then I have been making my way through the series in order. I just wanted to say I as far as I'm concerned you're up there with my favourites David Gemmell and Steven Erikson. Anyway enough babbling I wanted to ask a question, it's just a little thing that has been bugging me for a few of the books, why sometimes do the likes of General Harris (Sharpe's Tiger) and The Colonol from Sharpe's Havoc ( I forget his name) sometimes talk out of character. ie All throughout the books they talk like the gentlemen they are supposed to be then all of a sudden they're using word like "ain't". Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I can't imagine these characters using such slang as this. Anyway just thought I would ask. Sorry for the long winded question. Keep the books coming. Simon Hand

A

But they did! The word was very common in that period, not just among the great unwashed, but especially among the upper classes. An affectation, probably, but not uncommon all the same.