Your Questions

Q

In the book Vagabond the monk has the surname Cullimore.

I wondered where you got the name from because I don't hear it much and it was my surname.

Yours sincerely

Mrs A Smart

A

I wish I could tell you! I don’t know anyone called Cullimore. Sometimes I find names in an index of a book? I suspect that’s the rather disappointing answer.

 


Q

The Forsters owned Bamburgh Castle for 400 years. Are we related? If not, I challenge you to a fight...... ( If the history books are correct...)

Martyn Forster

A

I’m sure the history books are correct! I believe the Forster family gained the castle (by royal gift) in the late 12th Century. That was long after Uhtred’s descendants were ejected by treachery! So yes, you have a claim, but I should warn you that when I demanded the castle from the present owner (a most charming man) he riposted by offering to show me the heating bills. I surrendered my claim.


Q

Dear Bernard

I have to ask, will Sharpe ever meet Sidney Smith ?  The guy managed to be both at Toloun and Waterloo both the start and finish of Napoleons career. And according to Wikipedia "went to meet the Duke of Wellington. Smith found him late in the day when he had just won the Battle of Waterloo. Smith started making arrangements for the collecting and treatment of the many wounded soldiers on both sides. He was then asked to take the surrender of the French garrisons at Arras and Amiens and to ensure that the Allied armies could enter Paris without a fight and that it would be safe for King Louis XVIII to return to his capital. For these and other services, he was finally awarded a British knighthood, the KCB, so he was not just "the Swedish Knight" any more."

Also you've mentioned writing about the Pyrenees Campaign. Will Sharpe be at Maya the only time Wellington Army lost Artillery to the French in the Peninsula ? . Daddy Hill also lost a battle to D'Erlon at Lizazo though the British tend to ignore that defeat.

As an add on to my last question but have you ever thought of getting Sharpe to the British Legions that fought under Simon Bolivar in South America. He called the Legions vital to his victory.

I admit I'd like to think what Sharpe would make of  Simon Bolivar ?

Regards

Geraint

A

He might!! It’s a pity he couldn’t have been with Smith in Acre – that’s a good story. Who knows? It might get written

It’s on the list, but fairly well down the list. I do want to write one more Sharpe book, but it won’t be set in the Pyrenees . . . .

South America is unlikely.

 


Q

Having read the Sharpe novels many years ago, my husband and I are now enjoying listening to the audio books whilst driving through Spain and Portugal.

I just wanted to ask if the French army was as brutal and vicious as you describe.

Di Wilde

A

The short answer is yes. And the longer answer is that they were driven to it by the success of the Spanish resistance – the guerilla war. I’m not blaming the guerillas, though they were famously vicious, but their resistance surprised the French and their response was to meet cruelty with cruelty, much as the Germans did when they lost men to the Resistance in France


Q

Hi Bernard.

I have read and loved your books for many years now, not least The Last Kingdom series. Thank you for years of enjoyment, entertainment and historical education. My question surrounds the first couple of books in the series, written in first person by a seemingly aged Uhtred, in what seems like secret solitude. As the series moves on, there is no reference to this any more. Why is this?

I also really enjoyed the Waterloo book. Any plans for any more non fiction books?

Dave Pugh

A

Do they give that impression? It wasn’t intentional and I confess I’m slightly surprised. I’ll go back and look. They’re all written in his (extreme) old age, but solitude? Maybe! Or maybe he’s cheered up since he wrote the first two volumes.


Q

Hello Mr. Cornwell,

I am new to your work and just recently picked up the first book of Uhtred's saga. I've been tearing through it but came to a spot that left me a little confused. When Uhtred meets up with Ragnar the Younger on the beach to set the record straight regarded Ragnar's death, why doesn't Ragnar the Younger (I suppose he's just Ragnar by then) ask Uhtred why he switched sides? Uhtred was nearly a man grown by the time he abandoned the Danes and was so immersed in their world that it must seem like a very real betrayal. Wouldn't Ragnar at least have reprimanded him about that? Or not trusted him since he became a turncoat? Instead he simply asks Uhtred to help him get revenge.

Looking forward to finishing the first book and all the future volumes waiting for me!

All the best,

Ryne Davis

A

I don’t remember that episode . . . and I’m sorry if you feel it leaves out some vital explanations. Much of Uhtred’s career is spent wondering whose side he should be on, and probably there are too many words describing that dilemma. Maybe I should have added more on the beach? Apologies

 


Q

For many years now I have had a quotation floating round my head. I can't remember where it came from. It is "An Empire is only as great as its weakest citizen".

In "The Winter King" you have the line "A King is only as great as his poorest subject."

Did you use the same quotation as source? If so can you tell me who and where it's from ?

Fiona Lloyd

A

I did not, sorry! And I don’t remember writing that . . . . I suspect I made it up? Usually I remember sources that I’ve plagiarised, and that one rings no bells

 


Q

Hello.

How about when you write the next Sharpe novel, which you say you will do sometimes soon, that Sharpe encounters a tough sergeant-major who serves in a north-east regiment by the name of Oughtred; who's descended from a very long line of English fighting men..........?  A gruff man with a beard and a fierce fighting style.

That would be a memorable meeting!

Many thanks,

Andrew S.

A

It would! It would also be very self-indulgent. Still, you’ve lodged the idea in my mind so it will all be your fault. Thank you!

 


Q

Hello sir,

Thank you for many hours of entertainment; you are a true master. I've read your work (some books twice or more) and have enjoyed them all.

I am an aspiring writer ('bout 3/4 though my first attempt at a book) and was wondering if you could give advice to a noob; how willing are you to tinker with historic dates to improve a story's pace? For example, a story opens on a known, historic event (event A), but then the next major historic event (B) in the story happens five or so years later. Would you fudge the dates a bit and push event A and B closer together (for improved flow), or write event A, say something like "Character hung out for four years and did some things," then move on the event B in its proper year?

Just curious what the master would do.

Thanks and regards,

Danny.

 

A

You can fudge the story, but unless the dates are really obscure (in which case only a handful of ‘helpful’ readers will notice), you really can’t fudge the dates. I find those transitions of time very difficult, so I do sympathise – and in the end you’re almost forced to write ‘years passed . . . . ‘ and take the hit!

 


Q

Hello Bernard,

Unsure if you've seen your latest interview with Sharon Penman in her recent blog (2nd interview down) http://sharonkaypenman.com/blog/. She's previously done an amazing job on the Plantagenets and on Wales - what do you think of her novels?

Chris

A

I think her novels are terrific! They’re among my favourites!