Your Questions

Q

Hello Mr. Cromwell!

I thoroughly enjoy your books an am currently re-reading Gallows Thief. Captain Sandman is such an engaging character and I was wondering if you had thought of writing another story about him? Thank you!

Matt Welander

 

I finally got hold of Gallows Thief and loved it. I had been hoping it was another Richard Sharpe, but was delighted to meet Rider Sandman and his crew. Like a number of earlier commenters, I'm hoping to see other Sandman/Berrigan, etc. adventures. I particularly liked some earlier commenter's suggestion of an encounter between Sandman and Sharpe as the basis of another novel. I see that you are consistent in saying it's unlikely there'll be a Sandman series, but I urge you to change your mind.

Nina Cornett

A

I do have a tale in mind . . . . but ars longa, vita brevis.


Q

As an author whom has entertained millions by writing about history, be it fiction or factual and on occasion combined the 2……… Do you ever ponder the “what ifs?”  I mean ripple effects…….

 

A friend and colleague and fellow Sharpe fan and I speculated today, that if Moore had not even got so much as wounded at Corunna, would things have gone completely different?  Would Wellington have risen the way he did?  I’m guessing a clever and I’m sure practical man like you would never have pondered this?!

 

 

Also now it’s pretty safe to say there’s going to be no more Sharpe, could you tell us which books you were going to set the “Last Sharpe” between?  I am pretty gutted.  I always buy myself 3 copies.  1 for me, 1 for my mum and 1 to take on holiday to keep the other copy safe from any potential damages.

 

Then if there’s an unabridged CD on Amazon, I hunt it down and spend hours merging the chapters to look neat on my player.  My Missus actually used to take the funnies with me every time a Sharpe CD was sent to me, because before the kids came along, she knew all my spare time would be devoted to making it ‘iPod friendly’.  Alas I fear I won’t get to do that again

Lee

A

It’s a very good question – if it was a question. Would Moore have commanded the Peninsular army? I suspect he would, but of course we’ll never know. As it is Wellington was extraordinarily lucky to survive the fall-out of the Convention of Cintra. So many what-ifs!

And it isn’t pretty safe to say there will be no more Sharpe books. I visited Stamford’s on my last visit to London and bought a slew of large-scale maps. But of what? That you’ll have to wait and find out.


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell -

I've really enjoyed reading "Fools and Mortals", and hope that you will serialize this fascinating setting / melieu.

I'm interested in learning, In your research of Elizabethian theatre, whether you have developed an opinion on the Shakespeare authorship issue.

Gifford Eastham

A

Did I spend time on the ‘who-was-Shakespeare’ debate?  No, it’s all a nonsense, utter rubbish, a wild goose chase started by a woman called Delia Bacon who died under the illusion that she was the Holy Ghost.  That is far more likely than any attempt to find an alternate author to William Shakespeare.


Q

Greetings.  I was hooked on the Sharpe TV series from the very beginning, and eventually ended up owning all the books  as well. After a long interval, I have decided to go back and re-read the Sharpe saga from start to finish.  I'm just about finished with Tiger, but then I was thinking about his earlier life, and couldn't remember if there was one book in particular that went into this at any great length.  I'm not saying I will interrupt my progress to read the backstory, but in case I wish to refer to it, where should I look?

I also plan to re-read my other Rifles books: Riflemen Harris & Dodd, The Other Side of the Hill, and Kincaid's Adventures in the Rifle Brigade.  I'd be interested to learn if you had a favorite among them.

I participate in living history events as a Native American re-enactor, and find it heartwarming that the occasional greenjacket who might pop up at the 1812 event I attend annually has no problem pausing in their duties to chew the fat about Richard Sharpe, even with a Sauvage who fights for President Madison.

I look forward to further tales of Sharpe and his confederates.

Gabe Ginex

A

I certainly hope to write one more book about Sharpe – but when? I have no idea. There is not a book about his early life, and having taken Sharpe backwards in time once I'm not inclined to do it again, but who knows? Maybe as a short story?

I like Rifleman Harris’s memoirs a lot, but Kincaid’s dry humour makes him the more enjoyable.

 


Q

Just finished reading Foolss and Mortals and enjoyed it very much. The deeper I got into it, the more I appreciated what you were doing with it and the story you were telling. Loved all the details about the theaters and the plays.

 

My question is this: why did Shakespeare treat Richard so badly? At one point, Richard is thinking something like, "A couple years ago, before my brother stopped being civil to me...", which seems to indicate that something happened between them, a particular event.  Was that shown or explained or hinted at, and I missed it?

 

It seemed to me that Shakespeare hadn't much use for Richard from the start, and I've wondered just how much he knew about Sir Godfrey's habits when he turned Richard over to him at the tender age of 13 or so. But even so, I get the feeling that it was something more specific that caused a rift. Would appreciate any light you care to shed on this.

 

Thanks for (yet again) a wonderful read.

Beth

A

I don’t think there was any one cause, in my mind it was simply that William didn’t want the distraction of dealing with a family member of whom he was not particularly fond. I suppose it’s because I ‘enjoyed’ a peculiarly unhappy childhood and experienced very little love between siblings that I assume all families are the same!


Q

As I have lived in Farnham Surrey for 65 years I was delighted to find Farnham mentioned. Can you tell what sources you found for the battle as we know the story as, the Danes attacked out side Farnham and drew away the men folk from the town. The Danes attacked and the women of the town barricaded them selves in the church and held off the Danes until the men returned. The men routed them and sent them packing.

Barry Eade

A

Really my only source was the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle which, as you doubtless know, really tells us nothing. I was aware of the local lore, but chose to do things differently!

 

 


Q

I love The Saxon Chronicles/The Last Kingdom series. I’ve read each of the ten books at least four times, and have watched the television series on Netflix multiple times as well. I’m looking forward to seeing Uhtred’s story continued in your next book this fall, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that a third season of The Last Kingdom is coming soon. Thank you so much for sharing your extraordinary gifts with the world!

 

In Uhtred’s narration, he speaks of his advanced age, ailments, etc., before recalling the story he wishes to tell. He also mentions his “newest” wife at his advanced age, describing her as overly pious, overly fond of priests, and idiotic. Why would Uhtred marry such a woman?! I hope you will explain it soon because it seems so out of character. Thank you.

Alice Greene

A

I’ll explain it when the books reach that point – not till then, sorry!

 


Q

Sir, good day! I'd like to say that I greatly admire, among other characters, Cnut Ranulfson. He is Uhtred's most dangerous, competent and sort of noble opponent, who is basically sort of Uhtred on the other side. I'd like to know, whether you based him on any particular historical figure and whether there is a chance that we will get to meet his son.

 

Thanks for your time.

Artem

A

I think he sprang from my imagination . . .


Q

How did you learn to write combat in such an accurate, gut-wrenching, yet thrilling way?  You manage to capture so much of the adrenaline which I felt while in Afghanistan. I've never known how to write what I felt, but you managed to do just that.

 

Have you ever considered a series on the War for Scottish Independence, the French and Indian War, or the War of the Roses?

 

Do you intentionally write within separate time periods for each series or do you follow the winds of your imagination as far as historical setting is concerned?

 

. Have you ever read any of Andrezj Sapkowski's Witcher Series? I dove into them recently and I find many similarities in the worldview of your work and his. For example, nearly every book deals with questions of morality and the difficulty of perceiving right and wrong within difficult choices. In his books, the plot is driven by the fact that the main character (a mutant who should have no scruples) is a scrupulous, moral, and courageous man. Sharpe especially presents the same ambiguous moral fiber: simultaneously womanizing and showing extreme courage. If you do have any interest in the world of fantasy, I would highly recommend Sapkowski's works

 

What was your favorite battlefield to visit? I always read the epilogues of your books and very much enjoy your descriptions of the terrain, how it has changed over the years, or how it effected the battle.

 

Which screen adaptation of your books do you enjoy the most?

 

Thank you!

J

A

It’s called imagination!

 

It's rather unlikely as I believe it is probably better to let Scottish people write stories about Scottish history.  I have considered the French and Indian War and the War of the Roses, but it's a matter of time as I am not getting any younger!

 

It’s all capricious!  I write about the periods that interest me the most. I’m back with Uhtred at the moment, but I don’t regret taking a year off to explore Shakespeare’s world

 

I’m afraid I haven’t read them – but I will!  Thank you

 

There are so many! Salamanca is wonderful, Waterloo is so haunted by what happened there, Badajoz is grim, but of all the many sites I have to say Assaye  in India was my favourite. The terrain and the village itself had changed remarkably little, the villagers themselves could not have been more hospitable and were proud of the battle which took place on their doorstep. I could kick the furrows to find musket balls and the remnants of the enemy’s cannon (blown up by Wellington’s engineers) were still there – half buried in the soil.  I also saw an eagle-owl at Assaye and that was an omg moment!

 

The next one! But they’re all good!

 

 


Q

Hi Bernard,

Like so many people, I adore reading Saxon series. It has been a sadly neglected part of history, but despite the lack of records, you have brought the era to life.

I am desperately trying not to read the next in the series straight away, but that's very hard as compulsion is strong. I have recommended your work to many relatives and friends who mostly get taken up by their power.

The amount of research you do is exemplary but here is my question! Throughout the series, rain frequently  dominates the story (for example in The Empty Throne).  Have you researched climate records as well to determine how wet the climate of Northumbria, Wessex, East Anglia and Mercia was in the Ninth century. I'm intrigued.

Best wishes and hope for the appearance of  future books.

Mary

A

I can’t claim to have done any real climate research, except, very broadly, to note that global warming has brought spring noticeably forward in the year. Other than that I play it by ear.

 


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