Your Questions

Q

When you wrote the Grail Quest series in your research did you come across any sources for the Holy Roman Empire? I mention HRE because the Crossbow Men who fought for the Frecnh came from one of countries under the rule of HRE. It amazed me that The HRE didn't take more of active role in the Hundred year war then sending those Crossbow men. Vanguard

A

I guess because the HRE didn't have a dog in that quarrel - which was a fight between England and France over territory that was a long way from the Holy Roman Empire - and the Genoese crossbowmen were all mercenaries, so fought for whoever paid them - they weren't sent by the Emperor, but hired by a paymaster. I'm sure the HRE took advantage of the war! Best read Jonathan Sumption's marvellous two volume history to discover more.


Q

Hello Mr Cornwell, I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed Sharpe's Escape - especially as it was delivered to me earlier than the date on the Amazon site and took me by surprise! I admit I was shocked at Lawford's behaviour as regards Sharpe and Slingsby at first but then it does fit in with his later behaviour in Regiment though I had still thought he appreciated Sharpe more since this was just after Gold where he comes across much nicer! I did like Leroy's comment about waiting forever for an apology for Sharpe! I have a few questions though. How come the Ensigns serving under like Illife are always unlucky? Obviously it's not just being a junior officer because Price survives and all the other officers were Ensigns once too! But the same thing happened to Illife as to Denny, Matthews and MacDonald - I suspect being Sharpe's subordinate is something of a curse! I've been left wondering what happened to various people at the end of the book - Slingsby, Sarah, Vicente, Ferreira and Bullen. Will any of them appear in later books or are they just going to "disappear?" Lastly, I was wondering how old Price is when he first appears in Sharpe's Battle? He's definitely one of my favourite characters so I hope he appears in later books. I love the conversation he has with D'Alembord at Waterloo - especially where he's buttered the Colonel's sash! Looking forward to your new book when it comes out, as always. Marie.

A

It's a sort of bad joke - when I killed my first Ensign (Sharpe's Gold) a woman in the publishers expressed shock and horror, so she now gets a dead one in virtually every book. Such is fate. What happens to other characters? Some will inevitably fade away, others might return in later books - as Price will, I'm sure. The series isn't finished!


Q

I am re-reading the Sharpe novels again after watching the dvd's. I know the TV series took some poetic license with the books but, will you ever write about how Sharpe & Harper meet? Obviously that first meeting would not be warm & friendly based on how they are in Rifles. Also, when does Sharpe give Harper the volley rifle & where has Sharpe been hiding it since Trafalgar? I just received my Sharpe's Skirmish & Sharpe's Christmas in the mail last week. I was so excited to finally get them & was even more suprised when I opened the envelope & the covers. Thank you!!! I called my father immediately ( he is an avid fan as well). And thank you for this website & your dedication to your many fans, and of course the books. I, too, am requesting you to visit the SF Bay Area, Just know that summer here is not in June but starts in August and ends in October. Thanks again, Christine

A

I think their meeting is as fully described in Sharpe's Rifles as it ever will be, and, if my memory serves me right, Sharpe gives Harper the volley gun during the interval between Sharpe's Eagle and Sharpe's Gold - so it isn't the same weapon that he uses at Trafalgar (there were several hundred made!).


Q

Bernard, Once again you have come through with another excellent book in "Sharpe's Escape." Heck, I was even enjoying myself with Sarah when they were escaping from that warehouse. By the way, is there any way you can make our child of the gutter, Dick Sharpe, a Knight of the Garter? Maybe he can end up in Mexico fighting as a General with General Zachary Taylor. Just a thought. Thanks again for the wonderful writing. Phil

A

I think Sharpe ought to end up as Sir Richard Sharpe (though I doubt he'll be a member of the Order of the Garter), but does it happen? Don't know. Not yet, anyway. But he'd enjoy the joke.


Q

Many thanks for Sharpe's Havoc which I've just read in a day (everything else I was supposed to do somehow didn't happen!). One tiny quibble - why have you gone back to describing him with black hair? I'm sure I read somewhere that you said you'd stopped. I can't be the only person who reads them with Sean Bean firmly pictured in my mind so it confused me somewhat!! But thanks for a wonderful story and am now waiting for Escape to come out in paperback ...... (hardbacks are much harder to read in bed or the bath!). Val

A

I've always pictured Sharpe the way I originally described him, but I do now hear Sean Bean's voice as Sharpe when I write the books.


Q

Sir, Greetings once again, I just picked up The Archers Tale. Amazing! I had to order Vagabond, Books-A-Million apparently does not have a million books. Your writing simply takes me away on a journey and adventure that is quite hard to put down. Stonehenge is next on my list after the Grail Quest. Have you seen the previews for the new King Arthur movie? If so what are your impressions? The first movie from the 80's is ok but its not the Arthur I read about and love in your books. Another quick question and I will get out of your hair, why do some of the names of your books get changed for the US? Thanks for your great work! -Mike Wigington

A

I haven't seen any of the previews, but I'm looking forward to the movie. Why do the publishers change the names? I wish I knew. They refused to keep Harlequin because they thought women would think it was a romance - so what? But the ways of publishers, like God's, are strange and wonderful to behold.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell, thank you for your reply. Where did you think of the name Richard Sharpe and was there a South Essex regiment. Also why did you want to have the 95th rifles in your stories? Joe Barber

A

Richard Sharpe was named for one of the greatest of England's rugby players, Richard Sharp, a Cornishman and a god. There was no South Essex regiment - I needed a fictional regiment so I wouldn't be constrained by the real history of a genuine regiment. And the 95th have always appealed to me - they carried a unique weapon which opens up all sorts of narrative possibilities.


Q

Has writing the Warlord series changed your views on the Welsh (celtic) - English relationships?
Robin Trenbath

A

Not really - I mean it's all there in the books, and I hope you detect a great sympathy for the Welsh who had the misfortune to lose their land to a much larger aggressor - and it's odd how those tensions still exist over 1500 years later, but a tension best worked out on the rugby pitch.


Q

Dear Sir, Being born in '86 I was a little too late for televised sharpe (England), I never really understood the stories at that early age and just told my dad to tell me when the shootin' started! But my secret passion for 19th century warfare caught up with me, and I recently managed to scrape enough money together to buy the DVD box-set. I got Havoc last Christmas, and I've been reading them chronologically ever since, and just finished Eagle today (just in time for the next for escape), quite an impressive CV sharpe would have. I'm curious to know, apart from the obvious, the extent of your influence of the television shows, as there seems to be big differences in the stories. Were you ever invited on set for help? Thank you for your time James Trethowan

A

They didn't need my help, but they did invite me to be a cheerleader, which I was. I knew (know) nothing about TV drama so I didn't want influence - I was happy to let the experts get on with it.


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell, I am a huge fan of your Sharpe books and have read many of them. I am amazed that the books were not created sequentially. My question: How much of his story did you know or had you fashioned before you began writing the first book? And how important is it to know the whole story if you're writing about merely one year or one period in a character's life? Incidentally I really enjoyed your discourse on that perilous voyage of writing a first novel. I too am interested in writing historical novels. If you could get back to me I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks, Bob

A

It was extremely irritating that the books were not written in sequence - but that's because I wrote the first series, thought it was finished, then along came Sean Bean and the TV programmes, so along came a second series. Sorry about that. I've never had his whole careeer in my head - not till it's written. I don't know what's going to happen in the next chapter, let alone the rest of a book, or the next book. I think you do have to possess an idea of a character's past as you write, but his/her future is what you discover as you go along. At least it is for me.