Your Questions

Q

In the first book, there is a paragraph that briefly describes the Cathars and how the Vexilles were that. Do you think Guy Vexille would consider himself "Perfect"? The Perfects were Cathars who abstained from wine, meat, intercourse, and a few other things. This question might even be stupid but it was something I wondered. Guy seems to take his religion seriously.

Brianna

A

I doubt Guy was a ‘perfect’, but that doesn’t stop him taking his religion seriously – and your question is far from stupid!  I’ll confess I’ve forgotten the book, but I do remember that most Cathars delayed the ceremony inducting them into perfect status until the end of their lives (understandably), and I suspect that applied to Guy Vexille.

 

 


Q

Bernard -

there is a passage in Sharpe's rifles in which Sharpe describes his career up to that point in time - he mentions he fought in several battles in Portugal - though he had worked mainly as a quartermaster. Do you have any plans to fill this period of time in? I'm a huge fan of the series and your other works, having spent my youth reading the books almost constantly I have now started listening to them via audio book which I think has given me another perspective on the character and the series. It must be something about hearing the characters speaking outside my own head. I've heard some authors listen to their own work on audio book for a similar reason, do you ever revisit your own works this way? Speaking of other media has there been any interest from a television, VOD or movie studio in a Sharpe TV/movie series reboot? Given the success of the last kingdom series and television programs like Game of Thrones a new outing for Sharpe starting in India would be incredible, and with modern day techniques might do the series real justice (not to say that Sean Bean wasn't iconic in the role). Lastly, the Arthurian trilogy is one of my favourite pieces of literature of all time. I used to regularly read it once a year, and I wanted to say thank you for it. I certainly think it was a huge influence and source of inspiration for me.

Will Hoffman

A

I have never listened to any of my books!  It's the last thing I feel like doing after having written it (and re-written and re-written) and reread the page proofs and the galley proofs!

I don't plan to take Sharpe back in time again.  And I'm not aware of plans for a reboot of the Sharpe films.


Q

I loved reading the warlord  (Arthur) books, really enthralled by them.  Please is there any chance that you could tell me what happened to Derfel?

Many thanks

George Barnes

A

I honestly don't know what happens to my characters once a story is done....and I do not plan to add to the Warlord Chronicles. I guess the rest is up to you to decide!


Q

I've recently re-visited your excellent Waterloo history - this time on audiobook. Can I say how much I enjoyed your narration of the start and end of the book. In recent years I have begun to listen to more audiobooks and good narration can make or break the story. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the pacing and intonation of authors reading their own books is usually excellent. Have you ever been approached to narrate any of your other books?

Jeremy Ramsey

A

I’ve never been asked to record an audio version, except for those brief passages in Waterloo. Nor am I sure I really want to do it! It takes an immense amount of time, and most of that would be spent worrying that I had written such garbled grammar, or even trying to correct it as I went along. It sounds nightmarish!


Q

I am over the moon at the news that's there's going to be another Sharpe and i'm 100% confident it's going to be yet another masterpiece.

 

Knowing already, the time frame you're covering it's already got me speculating and (forgive this next comment) worrying about the fate of some of your fictional characters.  I know that sounds weird.  But a fantastic series does make you feel like its main characters and even the recurring characters are your friends.  Sorry, I know that must sound weird to you.

 

But you find yourself hoping for the best for obviously Sharpe and Harper, but then you just hope that other characters like Price and now even Charlie Weller, who has just linked up with Sally Clayton at the end of the battle, survive and that's something I am going to be anxious about until i get to the last page of what will be a hardback book to begin with:-)  Price and Weller, that is:-)

 

Only sad thing I know in advance is there's going to be no scope to heal a rift that was opened in Sharpe's revenge, as one half of it is on the other side of the world. That's a shame but completely understandable.  It just means I will always wonder.  But that's also the sign of great writing and a great series.  You leave your audience wanting more.  And some questions, no matter how much we want them not to be, have to remain unanswered.

 

I hope there's some possibility of "The estranged one" crossing paths with Sharpe in this book?  Although I suppose hearing of her reaction to the news of Rossendale's fate was the closure to that particular chapter?

Lee

A

I haven’t started to write the book yet, but I suspect the estranged one will stay that way. But who knows? I’m always surprised by developments in a book that I don’t expect. Maybe there will be news of her? But probably not.

 


Q

Since King Alfred chose his daughters’ husband/ knowing Athelreds weak ,arrogant nature /even so for alliance sake/ then why did King Alfred so selfishly hold to “Dignity of Wessex sake” willing to sacrifice “all” of Wessex for his choosing so wrongly/ not loving his country as Older Odda sacrificed his son for the treason of Wessex !! It just didn’t work in the story line and one other thing / Uhtred and Lady Athelfled! / no chemistry on screen / almost painful watching that match-up/ not believable at all and hopefully steered away from in season 5 as it appears it maybe ,ha!  Thank-you

Sincerely.

Marilyn Z

 

A

Not sure I entirely understand your question. Undoubtedly Aethelflaed was married to Aethelred to cement the alliance between Mercia and Wessex, and what’s wrong with that? And we must just disagree about Uhtred and Aethelflaed, they always seem to get on just fine to me!


Q

I have to admit I'm a fan of your books, ever since the first Sharpe adventure.  Those and the Archer ones I've read, re-read and read again.  Like you I fell in love with Historical Fiction when in the second or third grade I found "Beat to Quarters" by Forrester and "The Unvanquished" by Howard Fast. Those two along with my Grandmother's stories of Robin Hood and others set me on the road to much reading and a love of History.  During these days of "plague" or in modern parlance, pandemic, I've been doing loads of reading, just ending the re-read of all the Sharpe novels, with as much pleasure as the very first time;  in fact I had a difficult time putting them down once started.  In the reading of the descriptions of the battles regarding the firing of the muskets I noticed that you gave  in the various books two differing methods of loading,  And as you do so very much research in the development of your work I wondered if you had ever had the opportunity to actually shoot a Brown Bess?  I, back in the "70'and '80's was involved in a recreated British Regiment, The 60th of Foot, The Royal Americans. That Regiment was chosen because they were posted in ST Augustine during the Revolution.  Our Drill guides from the 1770 period had the loading sequence of biting the cartridge, priming, then pouring the powder down the barrel finishing by ramming the cartridge home.  That was what you described in some books but in others you had the priming last, a process that would not have resulted in the rapid fire that British Regiments were able to do.  Thus the question.  In all else you've been great,

 

Cheers and stay safe and well,

 

Terry Robertson

A

Your drill guides are quite right! Bite, prime, pour, ram. Lord knows where or why I got it wrong. I’ve never shot a Brown Bess, but I have fired a Baker Rifle, and can still feel the kick!

 


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell,

This is a question about writing an historical novel series.  Could you please share some advice about the arc of a principal character whose story continues into the second and third volumes?   Specifically, in the first two volumes, where other major characters' stories are resolved, do you recommend including "attack" and "resolution" elements in the principal character's' story, or is leaving these for volume three acceptable?

Thank you.

Jeffrey Zimmerman

A

I’d use them in every book!  You want your readers to read all the books, and leaving it till volume 3 muight make the first two a bit unexciting?

 


Q

Hi Mr Cornwell,

I am currently reading book 11 “War of the Wolf” of the Last Kingdom, in Rome. I take your books on holiday (my reading time) and they have travelled from Ireland to Uganda, Australia and many places in between. What a Journey the Uhtred (Alfred) series has been on. I have also watched the TV series to date and got confused by Uthred’s son. I started reading this series back in 2007 so the earliest books are a bit foggy, but I always thought Uhtred had two sons, one he disowned. Did the TV combine the two sons? I thought I made them up in my mind but then I just read on page 104 a summary of Uhtred‘s children. Are you aware of any sources that accurately list the differences in the TV series?

On a different note, I read My first of your books when I was 18. (The winter King) I am now 41. I was not a reader! I had never bought or read a book in my life (voluntarily) that was not for school. I loved the story of Arthur so I gave it a go. I have now read 17 of your books and love them. (Never read the sharpe ones, but the warlord/shield wall and historic battles I love). It also got me into reading and I have found a few other authors that I have enjoyed across some historical fiction and thriller.. Your still my top one.

Out of interest.  You obviously do a lot of research,  But do you enjoy reading any particular historical fiction?

Just thinking now about going back a reading the Arthur series again (although my books tend to loose pages in the sun heat lol) and maybe starting this series again.

Thanks for inspiring me to read.

Scott

A

I am not aware of any source that lists the differences in the TV series.

I’m a huge fan of George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman books, and my other favourites are the Mathew Shardlake stories by C.J. Sansom.

 


Q

Hello, Mr Cornwell.

I've recently your non-fiction Waterloo book and think it is one of the most readable accounts of the battle I have read. WhiIst was reading the Waterloo book, I started to think about the Great British Generals through history and noticed that many, though not all, started out as officers of Foot regiments.Do you have any thoughts why this might be?

Arron Hook

A

The rumour in Wellington’s army was that the brains of the cavalry belonged to the horses, and the cavalrymen were only there to add glamour to what would otherwise be a sordid affair. I’m sure that’s a calumny! I’ve never thought about your question, but I suspect that there are far more foot regiments than cavalry which might explain the imbalance?