Hello Mr. Cornwell,
I read you find all our guesses very amusing to read, and I can feel it in your answers. Thank you for taking the time to reply to us! We may never find but it is a lot of fun to look for it! You said Sharpe's father is in your head.. I'll give a try with a very simple guess: His Sharpe's father name Poilain?
Was Sharpe's father Charles Darnay from the Tale of Two Cities? French emigre, Smuggled out of Paris and replaced by Sydney Carton (you out me in).
I can think of a few words Richard would employ if he was to be given the mission to find out his father's identity with all these clues.... they all begin with B !!! :-) I have come to the conclusion that we have all been looking for a someone....when in fact the father is a no-one.....so we do not know who he was....but you know what he was..........so by simplifying......I think he was ....disappointingly.....a PETTY SMUGGLER.....now phonetically that sounds pretty french:-)
Another crack at the old riddle. I've an idea that his father is French. Also, that this enigmatic and morally-sound military statesman visited London in 1777. While it was February and he stayed for three weeks whilst consulting with the French ambassador to Britain (and his uncle), Sharpe might well be mistaken that his birthday is in the June of that year, due to the good old 9 month conceiving it might be nearer November/December time (if my guess is correct). The candidate in question is...Gilbert Du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette. The title sounds a bit like a 'happy person' although I'm not sure if there was ever a horse called 'Lafayette'. The irony is that Lafayette was a French aristocrat while Sharpe was 'low-born' British, but both were veteran soldiers who worked their way through the ranks.
Thomas Preckett Prest wrote The Smuggler King; or, The Foundling of the Wreck. (1844). Have not read it .....it looks dull...so no French Connection....but in light of the Prince of Smugglers comment and the Ironic foundling link....I thought I might submit: The Smuggler King as Sharpe's father
Last guess for now, If Edward's daughter can be close with Cutthroat from Pugwash I feel vindicated in suggesting Jean LaFoot of Captain Crunch fame 😄
I'd like to propose that John Minet Fector 1754-1821 is Sharpe's father. The Baccy for the clerk reference led me to Seasalter Parsonage farm the headquarters for a smuggling ring in Kent. While there were various characters associated with running the Parsonage there's a theory that the benefactor and godfather for this operation and most of the smuggling in Kent and Sussex as well, was John Minet Fector, a reputable banker. From Hugenot stock I guess the irony here would be that while Sharpe was busy cracking French heads this guy was responsible for aiding Napoleon's war effort considerably, by smuggling gold and French prisoners back into France. You could still say he is fictional as it's only a theory and was never proven. Even if this is wrong it led to me to find out about quite a cool story, that I assume you must already be aware of? Thanks
If Sharpe's father is a character in your head is there any way of us working out who he is? Or have you not written him yet?
I am now convinced that Sharpe's father was a character you invented in the early days, perhaps you were looking for a swashing character before you discovered Richard...who took off....I think you based your character on Louis Mandrin who was a Robin Hood type character ....a rough and tumble smuggler with a heart to boot...maybe he developed into Sharpe or the latter came along, having similar qualities.....perhaps you felt your smuggler character deserved a slot in Richard's life.
His name was: Louis (or Louis Mandrin) Prince of Smugglers. The Prince of Smugglers was nickname the real Louis Mandrin coined ...so it fits He was French ..which fits...a smuggler ..which fits because he exists in your head timing is immaterial....he can have existed whenever you wanted him to....but his real namesake...existed roughly at the time Richard was born which is appropriate. Irony...well he was French..which fits. He was predominantly (but not exclusively) a tobacco smuggler...which fits. Mandrin has been mentioned a couple of times in questions....with very positive answers! The original Louis was a leader of men, with 300 men he led like a regiment...not unlike his son Richard and like Sharpe he was handy with a sabre and pistol If this is wrong....it cannot be far wrong...can it????
as ever, best wishes
Is Sharpe's father Claude Mandrin French smuggler and brother of Louis Mandrin? As always much research has gone into this and I will happily explain how this ticks all the boxes if necessary.
Thank you as always for your time.
I'm glad I was so close with my last guess of the prince of smugglers. I was obviously thinking of Louis Mandrin but he died too early, I was hoping maybe he managed to escape somehow in a fictional story that I hadn't discovered. I also couldn't seem to find if he had any descendants but seeing as we're so close I'll try 'The son of the prince of smugglers' to add the crucial detail that's missing or perhaps 'The legendary Prince of smugglers' ie. someone claiming to be him with a dodgy french accent! Thanks for your time responding to all the questions and the many, many great novels. I'm curently reading stonehenge but eagerly anticipating the war of the wolf.
All the best,
We have established that neither Lois Mandrin nor his friend Benoît Brissaud is Sharpe's father, but would DNA testing reveal a familia match with either one?
Stephen A Rose
Is Sharpe's father a French spy (a smuggler of information)? The irony would be that Sharpe fought the French for most of his career and one of his main enemies was Ducos, a renowned French spy.