Your Questions

Q

My interest is in the development of the consciousness and "progressive revelation" [which I believe to be by no means over]. Thus my rich interest in the journey from the most earliest known "pagan" to those spiritual traditions existing today.

Your note referenced above ( "The Grail Quest Legends...bear a striking resemblance to....heathen tales.....onto which Christians....their own pious gloss, thus burying a...tradition which now exists only in some very ancient and obscure lives of Celtic saints.") prompts my question: Might some of these last-mentioned sources be accessible [outside the Bodleian Library] to one who stands somewhere between layperson and academician? And/or could you point me in the right direction?

Sadly, you are a recent discovery in my life, but that discovery is via a collection of the Sharpe CD's owned and loved by a 97-year old friend from the Scot Highlands.  I picked up your historical fiction just a few weeks ago as I recovered from breast cancer in sore need of being smartly entertained/distracted...to get my head out of my own arse. My equal interest is in the history of monasticism.

Thank you, and I'm glad to have found you.

Cheryl Hendrick (March 9th, 1944)

 

A

Look for a copy of John Darrah’s book Paganism in Arthurian Romance, published by the Boydell Press (UK) in 1994.  That should provide everything you need!

 


Q

Hello

 

This may sound like a mad question, since its still years to come within the series of your Uthred books, but do you think that Aethelflaed's expedition into Wales will be in any of the future Uthred books ?

 

PS - I recently named my new kitten Uthred. Though he has nothing of Uthred of Bebbanburg's violent nature.

 

Damien Silson.

A

No idea!  Maybe?  I’ll know when I come to write it. That isn’t an evasion. I never know what’s going to happen in a book till I’m writing it!


Q

Hello:

It has been a Cornwell summer---just finished reading 'Excalibur', 'Sharpe's Trafalgar' and 'Stormchild'. Right now I'm reading 'Sharpe's Prety', 'Stonehenge' and 'Fallen Angels'. My question is about the uniforms of the 95th Rifle Regt. Do you think the color of the uniforms influenced Berdan in the design of the uniforms for the lst U.S. Sharpshooters? I'm interested in your thoughts.

Betty Pannick

Gettysburg, PA

A

I really don’t know!  Green does seem a slightly obvious choice for sharpshooters, so it’s perfectly possible that the choice was independent.

 


Q

Hi Mr. Cornwell.

A few years ago, I suggested you write a novel about Sweet William Frederickson during the siege of San Sebastian, which as you know Sharpe missed because he was in England at the time (Sharpe's Regiment).  Do you think there's any realistic chance that you might write it some day?

Alan Kempner

 

A

I’d rather Sharpe was there . . . can he be in two places at once?

 


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell

 

First of all let me thank you and congratulate you on an excellent career and the most interesting books I've read later.

 

Now, for my question: a few days ago I came up with an idea on how to solve your riddle on sharpe's father's identity:

 

"Take you out, put me in and a horse appears in this happy person"

 

This riddle, with your reference to "A Smuggler's Song" lead me to this theory:

 

"Take you out, put me in", reffers to some kind of smuggling, this would make sense when connected with the poem. "this happy person", in latin can be translated to "Fortunatus". This would be a reference to Fortunatus Wright, the english pirate from the XVIII century.

 

"and a horse appears", could be a reference to a technique used by smugglers in Cornwall where in case no patrols were around and goods could be brought ashore a horse would be walked by the sea.

 

This means, therefore, that Sharpe's father could have been a smuggler related to Fortunatus Wright, or maybe Wright's son.

 

Is it right, or at least close?

 

Thank you

Joao Aguiar

 

This is of course a bit far stretched, but still, is it right, or at least close?

A

So ingenious!  So clever!  Not right, not entirely wrong, either.

 


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

 

I thoroughly enjoy your books. As a matter of fact I read 1356 and then read the earlier Grail Quest in less than two weeks.

However, the one thing I couldn't come to terms with, especially after having read the Grail Quest, and realizing he was an influential character. Was the way in which Robbie Douglas was killed off. Why was a character featured in 3 of your books, so unceremoniously gotten rid of?

Also, (and this is by no means a critiscism I simply wanted to indulge in more of your writing,) I would have been intrigued into knowing how Thomas was knighted etc

 

All the best,

 

Gus Watson

A

I’m sorry you couldn’t come to terms with it . . . . poor Robbie!  As for how Thomas was knighted, it wasn’t uncommon for a successful leader of archers to receive a knighthood, so it’s appropriate, but how it happened? I have no idea because I didn’t need to know because that scene isn’t in any book.

 


Q

Mr Cornwell

 

I've recently finished you Warlord Chronicles, and after initially being a little apprehensive, because my only knowledge of the Arthur legend was the Disney and 12th century stories, I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy them. However, not only did I enjoy them, but they're now my favourite books!

 

I live in Cwmbran, a small town in Gwent, so immediately felt a connection to the story. After reading The Winter King I done a little research and discovered that Saint Derfel (Gadarn), the 6th century warrior monk, is the Patron Saint of Cwmbran and he founded a church there. A local society recently raised a statue in his honour at Thornhill, near Llandderfel, where the church was said to have been.

 

I was quite surprised by the amount of information I could find out about Derfel Gadarn from multiple sources, and wondered if you thought this was more evidence to support your theory that the Christians tried to write Arthur out of history (because Derfel was or became Christian, and he seems to have lots of scholars, probably Christian, writing about him) or if you think that it is evidence that Arthur didn't exist, because there simply isn't much historical evidence?

 

P.s I recently read "The Fall of Arthur by JRR Tolkien", written in the 1930's, before he published The Hobbit. It wasn't 100% finished at the time, but it has been very well edited together by his son, and I would highly recommend it.

 

Best regards

 

Clayton

South Wales

A

I’m sure Arthur existed, though I doubt he spelled or pronounced his name that way . . . I think he was the British leader at the battle of Mount Badon, but there’s little hard evidence to support that – but there is plenty of evidence that the church disliked him!  The early saints’ lives all attest to that. The truth is they couldn’t eradicate his legend and so they turned him into a Christian . . . .

 


Q

Dear Mr.Cornwell

 

I started reading your books about two years ago and ever since I have read the Grail quest series, the Warlord trilogy and I am currently reading the Burning Land. But I write to ask one thing; are there any books that you personally would recommend that are about slavery? I became a huge fan of your books due to the amount of detail, the development of characters throughout the story, the gritty realism and the historical accuracy. As such I was wondering if you have any book you would recommend or a book you yourself have writen that goes deep into slavery namely the slave trade, modern slavery and gladiators. I thought that maybe one of the Sharpe books would have some detail towards this and so I have ordered the Sharpe series of books. Can't wait to read a series of 22 books.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this e-mail

 

Alexandre

 

P.S. Have you though one day to write a series of books during the Roman/Hellenistic Era as I am a fan of the Dark Ages but I like ancient history as you can tell from my e-mail

 

A

What kind of slavery?  If you’re thinking of the New World then I’d recommend Robin Blackburn’s books – I can’t recall the titles, but I know he’s written two or three excellent books on slavery.

No plans for the Romans.

 


Q

wyrd bio ful araed

What language is this..how do you pronounce it...thanks

David Munford

 

I know you have been asked about this phrase many times, but I'm not sure if this question has ever come up. I am familiar with the poem "The Wanderer" and have read it in several translations. The phrase is often translated as fate is relentless. A decent thesaurus would probably accept those as synonyms. But I perceive a very slight (but important, to me anyway) difference in meaning of the two words. How did you choose the word inexorable, as opposed to relentless? Was it from a particular translation or as a personal choice?

Mara Hardy

A

It is English!  Old English and I'm no expert on old English pronunciation, but my guess is that it's pronounced Weird bith full arraid.  (That's my guess, corrections welcomed!)

A personal choice . . . .


Q

We are not climbing Jacob's ladder to some heavenly perfection, but stumbling downhill toward Ragnarok.

 

Where you thinking about modern society when writing this, or is this parallelism just me looking too deep into things?

 

Thanks

Andreas Azzopardi

A

I certainly wasn’t trying to be relevant to modern life!  But if it fits?

 


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