Your Questions

Q

Hello Bernard

I recently had a slight disagreement with someone over your Starbuck Chronicles. He said that he felt that reading the Starbuck Chronicles (without prior knowledge of the US civil war) duped him into believing the lost cause myth that the war was really about state writes and not about slavery.

My counterpoint to this was that Nathaniel knows he is on the wrong side but only continues with it due to he determination to do the ultimate act of rebellion against his father. And that's what made the series interesting Nathaniel a good man fighting for a bad cause, contrasted with his Father Elias Starbuck a horrible man fighting for a good cause.

Sorry to drag you into this but I wonder was that assumption the reason you choose to write from the Confederate perspective.

Thank you

Patrick Ashby

A

I’ve always liked my protagonists to have a conflict of interest – and you’re absolutely right in saying that Starbuck knows he’s on the ‘wrong’ side, but friendship, loyalty to his comrades and a fair bit of pure cussedness (his father, yes) will keep him there. He certainly isn’t convinced by the states rights argument (a lot on the Confederate side weren’t either). It’s the same divide that keeps Uhtred a pagan, and Sharpe forever uncomfortable in the officers’ mess!


Q

Hello Mr Cornwell, may I wish you a merry Christmas!

I noticed a lot of questions asking if you regret killing a character but I wondered if you’ve ever really enjoyed killing a nasty character? I seem to remember Sir Geoffrey Carr in vagabond getting a very gruesome death after he murdered poor old will skeet, was that because you really disliked the basted and are there anymore that you really enjoyed?

Thomas Brush

A

I thoroughly enjoyed killing Obadiah Hakeswill and then realized (too late) that it was a stupid thing to have done. He was far too valuable as a villain! But yes, I do get unseemly pleasure from slaughtering them


Q

What is the meaning of the stone in Uhtred’s sword pommel?  In the series, it is shown quite often.

Chip Redden

A

Does it have a meaning? I apologise that this is a totally unhelpful answer, but I don’t remember attaching any significance to a stone in the hilt. Maybe I did? But I’ve forgotten! Sorry!!

 


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell,

we have a maritime-themed book club at the San Diego Yacht Club, and we have been reading Stormchild (I am almost finished - very exciting!!).  For the book club, I am wondering if there were events or stories that led you to this book.  Your descriptions of sailing and the Patagonia coast lead me to think that you have had much direct experience with sailing, perhaps there?  Also, the story line involving eco-terrorists (which I think you did a great job with since I'm such a tree hugger and "sea-taceon" lover) was very interesting, and I wondered if there was an actual event that led you to this story.

Thank you so much for your insights,

and I look forward to more of your books!

Diana

A

I must confess that I’ve never sailed the Patagonian coast. The Atlantic and the Med, yes, but nothing farther west. The inspiration for that setting came from the most remarkable sailing book I’ve ever read, and which I strongly recommend to your book-club. I suspect it’s out-of-print, which is a travesty, but if you read it you’ll never forget it. It’s called ‘The Totorore Voyage’ by  Gerry Clarke and was published by Century Hutchinson (New Zealand) in 1988. It describes his circumnavigation of the Southern Ocean and is amazing! There’s a picture of his boat (10 metres, wooden, sloop) heeling at about 45 degrees, thick with ice and in mountainous seas captioned ‘Conditions became hectic and frighteningly unpleasant’. Which gives you the flavor! Enjoy!

 


Q

Dear Bernard

me and some other fans of your books were discussing this and you'd have the answer. After Sharpe's Prey would Captain Chase have fought in the War of 1812 against the USA ?

Him going up against Killick would've been an interesting match up ?

Also in the TV Series Hagman is shown as the better shot between him Taylor from the 60th but it wasn't in the books. Did you agree with that ?

Regards

Geraint

A

I’m not sure of the precise figures, but the largest part of the Royal Navy was still deployed against the French so I imagine Chase would have stayed on station, but who knows? As for the TV series . . . I have no quarrels, and in my mind they were always equal. That’s a cop out, but there it is.

 


Q

I am sure you have seen this news about the King Alfred hoard:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/11/21/two-metal-detectorists-convicted-stealing-3-million-viking-hoard/

Is there any way you could work in Uhtred dancing on the heads of the ancestors of these w....rs in your next book?

Lars Kristiansen

A

I’d surely like to dance on their heads and on other parts of their anatomy! It is horrific to me, and evidently to you, because we’re denied another scrap of historical knowledge, but greed is nothing new. Uhtred probably helped himself to a few Bronze Age grave goods, but at least he had the excuse of ignorance. Whatever, I’ll curse them for you and hope it hurts.

 


Q

Hello Bernard

Just a quickie from me!

Just finished rereading Sharpe's Enemy. Its VERY  exciting!  And its always terrific to see "Sweet William"! He's probably my favourite semi-regular character in Sharpe! i urge you once again to do a novel where HE is the Hero! Just one Fredericksson novel. Just one!

The only thing i don't like in Enemy is that Sharpe betrays Josephina, revealing her secrets so he can get rid of Lord Farthingdale. You were a bit of a shit to do that, Sharpie!

i was wondering about Obadiah though...

How much to you know of Hakewill's backstory, other that his failed hanging? O you know his movements between then, and when he recruits Sharpe in 1793?

i know the 33rd were in America, so presumably Odadiah was too, as a drummer boy?

I also know the 33rd were in India for years, and in the Sharpe Companion, Mark Adkin wrote that Hakeswill is sent home at some point. So what i was wondering is, what is the ominous  Obadiah up to in those years between returning from  India and when he joins the South Essex? i can't imagine him NOT in uniform, but maybe he wasn't in the Army? Maybe he was a crook or maybe some bigger crooks Enforcer? A Debt Collecter?

Your thoughts?

I'm no longer Matt in Wiltshire

I am Matt in Cumbria!!!

 

Many thanks

A

I have no thoughts!! Sorry! I seem to remember he was a recruiting sergeant at one point, so he must have been in the 33rd home depot – beyond that? I have no idea!

 


Q

I love Uhtred's skepticism of Christianity.  But I've always wondered whether there were doubters of both that religion and the pagan religions during the ninth century.  My assumption is that there must have been some (who very likely kept quiet about it) and their doubts didn't make it into recorded history.  What do you think?

Richard Brown

A

It would be a rare and brave man or woman who held such views. Of course what we call atheism was not unknown to the Greeks and Romans – Lucretius’s great poem De Rerum Naturae is evidence of that – but I suspect Lucretius and his followers were more sophisticated than most folk in Anglo Saxon Britain – not that the Saxons were stupid, they were not, but they didn’t have the advantage of living in a polytheistic society where questioning any one religion could easily lead to skepticism about the rest. If you’re raised in an environment where just about everyone believes the same thing then you have to be a very extraordinary thinker to challenge it. It was rediscovery of De Rerum Naturae in the early 16th Century that injected a healthy dose of skepticism into Christianity, but Uhtred and company didn’t have that advantage.

 


Q

I have read the 4 volume series of Starbuck twice and really enjoyed it both times. When will you be releasing Volume Five? You say on the last page of V4 ..."Starbuck will march again.".

Thanks for all your great books, especially the Sharpe's Series, my Grandson is now enjoying them.

Gary Brown

 

Hi Bernard,

I recently finished the bloody ground and I am wondering if we will ever see more of Nate and Truslow? I understand you are busy with the excellent tales of Uhtred (and hopefully bringing Sharpe out of retirement!). Given this I wondered if you had ever considered allowing another author to finish the tale, or is a novel too personal to hand to someone else?

Thanks for the many hours of entertainment so far,

Sean

 

A

I hope to return to Starbuck someday....but really can't say when that might be.   And if I can't finish a book (or series) then I expect it will stay unfinished!  I really don't want to have someone else write them for me . . . .it isn't that I think that's a dreadful idea, just wouldn't work for me!


Q

Really enjoyed the Last Kingdom series, which I have read and purchased (doubtless you are happy to hear) over the years. How much longer do you plan on keeping it going?

Paul Alan Thompson

 

Hello Bernard,

Will the Uhtred book you are writing now be the last of the series?

Separately, the correspondent asking for a series about Wales would enjoy Sharon Penman's series, Here Be Dragons, Falls The Shadow and The Reckoning.

Cheers

Chris

 

A

Well, I am writing the next book of the series now....and we'll see what comes after that!