Your Questions

Q

Dear Sir thank you for answering my first e-mail. I only hope you will answer this one! Me and my father who both love the character of "Obadiah bloody Hakeswill" and was hoping that there would be a series of books just about him? Brett

A

A series for Obadiah? Interesting thought - but not in my plans for the immediate future.


Q

Mr. Cornwell, Will Sharpe ever march in America? I realize that it would be near impossible to fit it into his time line, but I only say so since it seems that sooner or later Sharpe may run out of battles in Europe. Or, could it be possible that Sharpe could be in two places at the same time? It would not matter to me, I'd still buy, read, and enjoy. Sharpe's Gold was the first book I really ever read for enjoyment as a kid, and I've been following ever since. In a way, reading Sharpe helped me to find myself growing up. I discovered that soldiering was for me and that Sharpe was a good person to guide me. I couldn't have done it without him. And I Thank you. LT LeClair

A

Sharpe makes a promise never to fight in America (in Sharpe's Siege I believe) so it is unlikely to happen.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell, Thanks as usual for all your books, I especially like Sharpe. As a librarian I have recommended your books to many who like adventure and history. The Sharpe movies circulate pretty briskly too. I would especially like to thank you for this continuing conversation you carry on with your fans. This is uncommon (unique) among authors I am aware of. I can almost always count on some interesting questions and comments from fellow fans and yourself. I have found many interesting books this way. I have a couple of questions myself. I have heard that there are often substantial differences between the British and American editions of books. Is this true of your books? If so what kind of changes are made and do you have control over this? When are you going to make an American tour? I'm sure there are many in the San Francisco Bay area who'd like to meet you and have you sign a book. Thanks again, Lucinda.

A

Not substantial differences, except for changing the title of a book - much to my dismay and no, I don't have control over that. Other changes may include Americanizing the spelling of a word here or there. I don't know when the next American tour will be but check the Diary page on occasion (although I know it won't be happening this year - perhaps next?).


Q

Mr. Cornwell, I'm a long and loyal fan, read everything you've written, but find the Sharpe series to be my favorite. I have but two questions Sir, What in the bleeding world is a "false dawn" ? and where did the term come from? Love your work, Please keep it up! I remain your humble servant, Joel Raymond

A

A 'false dawn' - it comes, I'm astonished you need to ask, from the Arabic 'subh kadib', and is a transient light which precedes the true dawn by about an hour, a phenomenon common in the East. I didn't know that either, so that's a direct quote from the Oxford English Dictionary, Volume V, p. 699.


Q

On page 3 of the Your Questions section Will Hoffman says, "I was wondering if the Lassan, the French General/Colonel Cavalry officer, was Sharpe's son?" In response you said "You are right about Sharpe's son" This left me baffled. I've read the whole series twice and the only Lassan I recall was the commander of the fort in Sharpe's Siege. Is this the Lassan referred to? He seems about the same age as Sharpe? What is this about? Daniel Thomas

A

Colonel Patrick Lassan, a French military observer and Richard Sharpe's son with Lucille, is a character in the Starbuck Chronicles.


Q

hey just a quick query, where would be the best place to look up sources, especially primary on Wellington's campaigns 1808-1814...thanks and have you got a tile for the viking novel yet? John

A

Start with the bibliographies in any decent book about the campaigns - the most recent (much wider than just Wellington's activities) is Charles Esdaile's superb The Peninsular War, but there are also good books by Michael Glover and, of course, Jac Weller. Those bibliographies will give sources and you'll probably find yourself at the archives of the National Army Museum, or you could join the Army Records Society - their website is www.armyrecordssociety.org.uk.

The new book will likely be called The Last Kingdom.


Q

Sir Bernard (you should be knighted hopefully soon)! 20 years ago in Newport Beach California a little old lady librarian guided me to your books at their library. I had inquired about a series of books similar to Hornblower/Aubrey/Bolitho/Dodd etc. and she kindly guided me to yours, at that time less than 5 were on their shelves. Since then I have read all of your trilogies/singles/unfinished serials (Starbuck) and short stories. I am looking forward to Sharpe's Havoc/Escape/Christmas and Heretic, and I agree with you, they should not have changed Harlequin to Archers Tale. I also own the Sharpe DVD box set. Will you ever write more Starbuck's? I loved the connection with Sharpe's son riding with JEB Stuart and the old sword he carried! Will you ever write a Napoleonic Nautical Patrick O'Brien type adventures? All those authors have finished or should have finished those serials or died? Anyways, I just wanted to thank you and am sorry to have taken your time out from writing to read and answer my email. You may use my rare English/Scottish sur name LEEDLE as a character in any of your books but hopefully he will not be a BAD guy, LOL. I wore the Green Beret many years ago 72-75 I noticed that the military color designation labeled inside was (Rifle Green). I have always wondered if that was in reference to Rifleman Green Uniforms, it appears to be the exact same color? Your long time fan, Michael Leedle

A

I suspect it was Rifleman's green. And Leedle's on the list (it's a long list!). I don't plan on Napoleonic nautical adventures but I do hope to get back to Starbuck some day!


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell, Sorry about my constant questions as I know even now you are probably absorbed in the writing of a new book. I suppose you can't let anything slip about the plot? It will be about Alfred the Great am I right? I have read all of your books bar 'A crowning Mercy' and that is on the to do list. Lee Brake

A

Up to a point it's Alfred the Great - but the tale is told by someone else who, frankly, doesn't like Alfred. So Alfred is, if you like, the background story. Give away the plot? I'll quote you the suggested jacket copy;

"I had been given a perfect childhood, perfect, at least, to the ideas of a boy. I was raised among men, I was free, I ran wild, was encumbered by no laws, was troubled by no priests and was encouraged to violence." Uhtred is an English boy, born into the aristocracy of 9th Century Northumbria, but orphaned at ten, adopted by a Dane and taught the Viking ways. Yet Uhtred's fate is indissolubly bound up with Alfred, King of Wessex, who rules over the last English kingdom when the Danes have overrun Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia.

That war, with its massacres, defeats and betrayals, is the background to Uhtred's childhood, a childhood which leaves him uncertain of his loyalties, but a slaughter in a winter dawn propels him to the English side and he will become a man just as the Danes launch their fiercest attack yet on Alfred's kingdom. Marriage ties him further to the West Saxon cause, but when his wife and child vanish in the chaos of a Danish invasion, Uhtred is driven to face the greatest of the Viking chieftains in a battle beside the sea, and there, in the horror of a shield-wall, he discovers his true allegiance.

The title of the book will most likely be The Last Kingdom and it will be published (at least in the UK) in October.


Q

I was wondering why, when you wrote Sharpe's Tiger, you made Sharpe a private while he was imprisoned with Lawford when in the books that were written earler but took place later it often says he was a sergeant during that time. Was it a deliberate change or just a mistake? Daniel Thomas

A

I think I changed his rank in Sharpe's Tiger because the story demanded it, knowing that it clashed with things I'd written in other books - but the story always wins!


Q

I've really enjoyed the Sharpe, the Grail, and the Warlord series. They had robbed me of days of sleep. There's one thing about the Richard Sharpe that fascinates me the most. Is "Dick" Sharpe capable of long term relationships with women? He had plenty of mistresses, "acquaintances", wives etc. They are a sizeable and admirable lot. But they all, well, kind of, left Sharpe. So............ Alfonso

A

'Frailty, thy name is woman,' Shakespeare said that, not me. Some of Sharpe's women were so frail they died. Others were introduced in the second series and, because they aren't mentioned in the first, have to go the way of all flesh. But Sharpe and Lucille last for ever.